“The Weapons Are Making Him Look Good”

December 10th, 2012

The slide of Josh Freeman, who’s a combined 32-of-74 in his past two games, is worse than it appears, says former Bucs guard Ian Beckles (1990-1996). 

Co-host of the Ron and Ian Show on WDAE-AM 620, Beckles made the point this morning that Freeman is benefitting from elite talent at the skill positions but is still struggling.

“The weapons are making him look good,” Beckles said. “There are guys going up and beasting for the ball. There wasn’t a whole lot in our passing game yesterday.”

It’s hard to argue the point. Freeman has the luxury of a strong running game and a dangerous back out of the backfield. He’s also got a surehanded tight end and a definite Pro Bowl wide receiver in Vincent Jackson, as well as another go-get-it receiver in Mike Williams, and both are extremely versatile. And Freeman has an offensive line that pass blocks effectively.

Very few quarterbacks have so much to work with. In addition, it’s worth noting that the bulk of the Bucs’ payroll is on the offensive side of the ball. Relatively speaking, there’s not a lot of improvement the Bucs need to make on offense, outside of Freeman finding discovering consistency.

32 Responses to ““The Weapons Are Making Him Look Good””

  1. Brad Says:

    For once I can’t argue with Ian’s negativity other than he has it whether we win or lose. I guess we can say Ian is consistently negative. But agree that Freeman needs to look in the mirror.

  2. Traew Says:

    He is far too inaccurate and inconsistent to be a franchise QB.

    I’m told by someone with firsthand knowledge that Freeman might have an issue that involves pain meds – and that he might abuse them. That is completely unsubstantiated but the person claims he has firsthand knowledge and witnessed it. When you search for reasons why a player can be so wildly inconsistent – something like that certainly does make sense. Can throw your timing and decision making off.

    Regardless, the Bucs are in a tough spot. All the investments they have made on offense hinge on a competent QB who can okay consistently and deliver the ball downfield. Right now – in year 4 – Freeman continues to show no improvement whatsoever in being able to consistently do that at a high level.

    We ate doomed to 7-9 type seasons until we can get consistent play at QB.

  3. Justin Says:

    The inaccuracy has become alarming. It certainly cost us the Atlanta game and it was a major problem in the 1H yesterday. We are relying too much on the deep throws. Freeman hits a couple every game but those are not high percentage passes. Freeman’s accuracy on the short to intermediate routes is below average. Case in point the picture posted in this article by Joe. That was a quick hitch pass to a wide open Mike Williams that required a sensational effort to make a reception. Should have been an easy catch and run.

  4. Macabee Says:

    I’m concerned about Josh’s mental state when he starts big games. He seems rattled and his game is noticeably off. He reacts badly to a miscue as if it’s never his fault – a WR has run the wrong route or the O-Line has missed a block. Between the 1st half and the 2nd half his play can be wildly inconsistent.

    Regardless of what kind of season Freeman has, at the end of the season he should seriously consider a sports psychologist. Dr. Tom House is the psychologist that treats Drew Brees and Tom Brady. Brees swears by it and the last time I checked both Brees and Brady were pretty good QBs. There is no stigma attached to this. He helps with the mind, body, mechanics connection. He teaches what we know as a QB “getting in the zone” and playing on automatic. I’m no expert but I think Josh would be helped by this.


  5. Justin Says:

    Hey Traew—–

    Is your source Boomer Esiason???

  6. Big Rob Says:

    After watching Freeman live yesterday I too believe that he is not franchise QB material. He’s been give a lot of rope, and I feel he’s at the end of it.

  7. Killian Says:

    How can a QB be so bad at throwing short to intermediate passes? If Alex Smith were on this team, we would be at least 9-4 right now…staring the playoffs and the league in the face. Even with a terrible pass defense we have been in every game. A true franchise QB would take this amazing offense on his back and go win games with it. There is far too much talent in this offense for an inaccurate QB to be the downfall of it. I was a big Free believer, even bought his jersey, but it’s becoming apparent that he is not making the adjustments needed to put the ball in the receivers hands. The only consistent thing about Josh Freeman is his inconsistency…

  8. travis Says:

    All of this was said about Eli too as they wanted to run him out of town. Keep showing confidence in him. Be deserves more years to develop. Don’t write off long term potential. He is still a young player.

  9. NJBucsFan Says:

    You know the worst part about this???? I have to listen to the Eagle fans up here say Foles is the next Brady, Manning, or Montana. They are calling him Joe Cool. They fail to realize the CB situation we have. Practice squaders starting. They also forget that Foles threw a pick but our team couldn’t make the play….

    Eagle fans are the worst.

  10. AtlBucsFan Says:

    @ travis – I’ve thought of the Eli comparison myself. He was terrible early in his career. I agree with many on this site though that Josh needs to improve and take ownership of his weaknesses. There’s something to be said for standing in front of everyone and saying, ‘I need to improve’; not ‘We need to improve’. That’s the type of leader we need. But saying it is not the end. He must go off and work harder than ever before to improve accuracy and consistency. Otherwise, it’s more of the same.

  11. Gus Says:

    Next year we need to bring in someone to compete with Free. Say Alex Smith. Let him EARN his job next year and his contract for future years. He is way to inconsistent to not explore other options. He is still young yes and he does need more time but this team is a secondary away from being a playoff caliber team and if Freeman is the one hold us back we need to look else where. Also I think Blitzing Bill needs to be gone. Bring in Monte. Lastly, Schiano needs to understand that to win in this league it’s not all about being more physical than you opponent it’s more about outsmarting them. Hopefully one more year in this system and Freeman working those mechanics out will help. This year he spent much of his time learning the offense. Now that he has done that its time to start really hammering down his mechanics. Details as Schiano says that’s what is killing Freeman and the bucs offense.

  12. SilenceTheCritics Says:

    As a team, all 3 phases need to dramatically improve. Offensively, Free’s inaccuracy and inconsistancy kills us. Game planning and Horrendous clock management problems aren’t helping anything either. And of course the weakest part of the team, pass defense needs major help. Special teams aren’t even so special either. I’m not prepared to write off Free just yet but If he can’t fix his problems by the end of next year theres no way he gets a lengthy extension. Beckles is right though, his weapons do make him look much better than he really is this year.

  13. Reality Check Says:

    @ Travis – Talk to RG3, Andrew Luck, and Russell Wilson about development. How many more years do we have to give Josh to “develop”? What is he even developing? I’m pretty sure that every offensive coordinator has slant routes built into the routine and requires you to read a defense. The only thing Josh has done consistently is failing to perform under a variety of systems.

    No doubt that playing the QB position is insanely difficult. HOWEVER, there is no excuse for how poor some of Josh’s passes are and this article is spot on in that Jax and Mike have to make circus catches just to give the Bucs a chance at a play when Josh throws one of his many dying ducks off his back foot.

  14. Buc Fan #238 Says:

    As much as I would like to jump on the “hate Freeman” bandwagon, I consider this a slump. He needs to re-focus and finish stronger.

    The #1 group to blame is the defense as a whole. We are just giving up way too much on defense, period. Yet, we are close in every game. The games we lost, are primarily because the defense just can’t hold up.

    I also think the type of offese we are running requires high risk/reward pass attempts base on timing and players ability to go up and get the ball on the move. Very similar to the Giants offense. Freeman needs to throw it better though.

  15. JonBuc Says:


    The enigma wrapped in a riddle. I thought the Carolina comeback would give him momentum. Instead, he’s pretty much stunk up the joint since.I’d hate to see the Bucs start over at qb…yet I have fewer answers than the Bucs cbs at this point. Yesterday was a LOW point…the culmination of nearly a decade of frustrating,mostly lousy football.

  16. SilenceTheCritics Says:

    I hate to disagree but this isnt a slump, if it is then its the longest slump I’ve ever seen. Freeman has been badly inconsistant from the beginning of his career. Think back to his first full year starting under Rah when we went 10-6… We were behind in every game because he (as well as the team) started the first half of every game horrible. Last year speaks for itself and this year its the same. He is badly badly inconsistant. I just hope he figures out how to correct this.

  17. OB Says:

    Joe, the solution is quite simple, bench Josh and see what happens. If the replacement completes the passes Josh is missing, we win, if not, we need a new replacement.

    This will also be the kick in the rearend that Josh needs to see if he is going to be the man or not. If his pride is such he doesn’t care if he starts or not, he is not the man for the job. If he cares and PRODUCES, he has his head together.

    We have nothing to lose with the three games remaining.

    It is also my opinion that defensive head coaches play defensively to protect a lead near the end. If you trust your QB and other ball handlers, you keep your game plan and run and pass, if not, you just run or pass depending on the safest ball handler. I think the coaches did not trust Josh in throwing the ball because he should have had a couple of interceptions yesterday except for the receivers playing DB or the DBs just dropping the ball.

    Josh is either slow, on something, or hurt, but their is a problem and I think benching him for the next game is the answer.

  18. Eric Says:

    Not an advocate of benching Free, but that blaming everyone else when he totally missed a throw is irritating.

    Maybe a good back up to push him isnt a bad idea. At times the man looks like greatness is within his grasp. Other times he looks like bust is within his grasp.


  19. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Obviously Freeman is inconsistent and that needs improvement, but I completely disagree that he has superior weapons. Does he have better weapons than Schaub? Stafford? Ryan? I don’t think he does. Aside from our 2 receivers, we have pretty much no one else. Underwood isn’t a slot receiver, period. Dallas Clark isn’t what he used to be. Luke Stocker, please! We don’t have a Jimmy Graham on this team.

    Watch the routes the receivers run. They are almost all long developing routes. Jackson makes about 3 cuts on his deep route he caught yesterday. You won’t always have time to make those throws, and if you do they are going to be rushed. I love Mike, bu he struggles mightily with press coverage. We rarely send Martin out for passes because he has to help pass protect for our beaten and battered OL.

    I’m not saying Freeman is the man and should be given a king’s ransom. But he doesn’t suck like so many of you think. You don’t throw for 4000 yards and 30 TD’s and suck. That’s just stupid if you think that. There are definitely better QB’s, but I challenge any of you to give a reasonable solution. Who should we draft? What QB should we get in free agency?

  20. Miguel El Magnifico Says:

    I’ll take that challenge, draft Geno Smith or Matt Barkley. One of them is sure to drop down to the Bucs pick.

    Trade Josh to KC for their #1 pick or #2 if they’re hesitant.

    Bring in Norv Turner as the new OC.

    If you bench Josh and Orlavsky succeeds, you’ll hurt his trade value and effect the draft position.

    If they extend Freeman and give him that $100 million he wants, the Bucs will be doomed to mediocrity for the next 6-7 years.

    Josh does have superior weapons, take VJ out of the equation and Josh won’t break 100 yards. Williams covered like a blanket, does a LeBron James imitation goes up 12′ to snag a TD. Josh was probably aiming at his shoelaces. Dougie running for over a 100 yards takes a lot of pressure off Freeman.

  21. Buc Fan #238 Says:

    @ Hawaiian: You are 100% right.

    Replacing Freeman isn’t the #1 problem at hand. We need to load up on defense again, add some lineman for depth and another HB.

    Free just needs to focus more.

  22. Buc Fan #238 Says:

    Oh… DON’T resign Free until he makes the playoffs.

  23. bucbucbuc Says:

    Do people forget 2010 that quickly? Where was all the talent then? Sure Blount had a solid season carrying the rock, but doesn’t anyone remember what receivers Free was playing with? Rookie Mike Williams was the number one WR, and we all know by now he is not good enough to be the first option. Kellen Winslow was solid, but he had his own issues and Freeman often forced passes his way. Despite all this, 25 and 6.

  24. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I don’t think you’ve ever seem either of those QB’s play. Talk about superior weapons-Matt Barkley is LOADED with superior talent. He has never impressed me. He can’t handle pressure at all, and he hasn’t even seen pressure until he gets to the NFL. How have Mark Sanchez and Matt Leinart worked out in the NFL? As for Geno, he plays in a league with no defense, and he fell off the map. They run a gimmicky offense that puts up big numbers. I think he has far more potential than Barkley, but he is probably a bigger risk. QB’s who run that type of offense have a miserable record in the NFL. I personally would not be willing to risk it. Besides, I don’t think either will slip to us, because the crappy teams always go after QB. Do you really think we should skip going CB again?

    And there is no way in hell KC is giving up that much for Freeman. I don’t think you understand how trades work in the NFL, because that will never happen. It’s not even worth my time to discuss things that are impossible.

  25. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    So by bringing in Norv Turner, are you saying Sullivan isn’t doing a good job? So which is it – Freeman or Sullivan. It’s stupid to make changes across the board like that when, as compared to last season, you are having huge success. You can’t forget how many critical injuries we have had. How many teams can lose their only 2 Pro Bowlers and still make the playoffs?

  26. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    @Buc Fan #238,

    I don’t disagree. I don’t see any reason why we need to sign him to an extension this season if he’s under contract for next season. I’m sure his agent make take offense to that, but too bad. Although I think he will end up being a very good QB, the fact is that he hasn’t proven he can be one on a consistent basis. Until he does that, he doesn’t deserve the big money.

  27. Bucpride Says:

    All great QB’s have weapons. How would Brady or Manning look without their stud receivers? How good would Stafford look without Calvin Johnson?

    I still somewhat think Freeman can be a quality QB in this league. The Bucs secondary and scared coaching moves have cost this team 3 two score leads against Philly, NO and NYG.

    I think and hope Freeman closes the season out with 1-2 wins and over 30 TD’s, whoch would be a Bucs record. Maybe that could catapult him to a even better 2013.

  28. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    One more point. How many QB’s in the NFL win when their defense give us nearly 400 yards passing on a nearly weekly basis? Seriously, let that soak in for a minute. We gave up almost 400 yards to a rookie QB, with no offensive line, and missing his best 2 weapons (McCoy and Jackson) – on the road no less. We gave up 500 yards to Eli!!!! The numbers QB’s are putting up on us are mind boggling. What would our record be if we had even a middle of the pack pass defense? Hell, if we could have held Eli to 350 yards, we would have won by 3 TD’s!!! Our biggest problem is not QB. I’m really struggling understanding how everyone else can’t see that.

  29. Saskbuco Says:

    Miguel El Magnifico……………so to get this straight get rid of Free, Sullivan and draft Smith or Barkley and bring in Norv, another new OC???? Typing those comments ensure 2 things: 1) You have never seen either Smith or Barkley play and 2) You don’t understrand the game of football. The team has improved so much this year, if the bucs followed your “idea” of how to run the team, they might win 2-3 games next year. I respect your passion as a bucs fan and the frustration your feeling, but this comment borders on insanity.

  30. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Thank you Saskbuco. People don’t seem to understand that you don’t go from being 4-12 to a Super Bowl team in one year. You don’t go to the playoffs when 90% of your team isn’t even old enough to rent a car. If you have a plan and it is working, you stick to it. You don’t blow the whole thing up and start all over. Name me one franchise that operates that way and is successful. Do the Steelers do that? Patriots? Giants? Ravens? The franchises that constantly make changes (KC, Jacksonville, Oakland, Cleveland) are the ones that are always drafting early on draft day. This is a proven fact that I would love to have someone argue with me on.

    We aren’t as good (yet) as many fans think. We may seriously have the worst secondary in the history of pro football. That’s not even a joke. I don’t know the stats and haven’t read anything about it, but I can’t imagine any other team giving up this many yards through the air. How is that Freeman’s fault?

  31. Miguel El Magnifico Says:

    My opinion is that you should always strive for excellence.

    When you have a 4th year QB that can’t hit the broad side of a barn and you’re forced to punt 8 times in the 1st half, yes the defense will eventually collapse. Take away William’s circus catches, Jackson’s beastly dominance, Dougie tearing up the turf and #5 gets booed out of CITS Stadium.

  32. King Says:

    If Josh is riding on his weapons so much, then why is Vincent Jackson having his best year ever? When was the last time we had 2 1000 yard receivers? Do you think Trent Dilfer could have had 2 1000 yard receivers…ever? I know we have had a history of craptastic receivers, but there has been times we have had the personnel to achieve that and never did and Josh has achieved that. Josh has had some inconsistencies for sure and definitely needs work, but many top QB’s have had their struggles on the way to success.