The Peaks And Valleys Of Josh Freeman

January 1st, 2013

Joe is trying to keep an open mind when it comes to Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman. His detractors believe he is a mobile version of Trent Dilfer. His protectors believe he is the second coming of Ben Roethlisberger.

Even as a rookie, Roethlisberger never remotely approached the inconsistency of Freeman, who will be entering his fifth season as a starter this year. But there are times where Freeman does channel the Steelers two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback.

In Freeman’s touchdown pass to Mike Williams, Joe thought he was watching Roethlisberger, who can avoid traffic in the pocket and buy time like few other quarterbacks can.

Freeman danced around a would-be tackler, all while keeping his eyes glued to the end zone, just like Roethlisberger. Then, seeing a narrow window, Freeman rifled a Nolan Ryan fastball to Williams in the back of the end zone for six.

It was an absolutely beautiful play. Joe leaped from his couch, jabbed a finger in the air aimed at his HDTV screen and hollered, “That’s what you need to do all the time, Josh!”

But those plays, even on days when the “good Josh” shows up, were few and far between this year, a pattern, so writes Gordon McGuinness of

The Ups and Downs of Josh Freeman

Watching Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman, I’m left with the same feeling of frustration I get when watching Baltimore’s Joe Flacco. At his best, Freeman can make every throw you need him to make and can take over a game. However far too often he makes the sort of mistakes that keep you from trusting him and, especially recently, we’ve seen more downs than ups.

His interception on 3rd-and-7 with 4:35 left in the third quarter was particularly bad, with a lazy throw allowing Atlanta corner back Asante Samuel to step in front of receiver Tiquan Underwood and secure the turnover. The decision to make the throw was dubious but the execution by quarterback and receiver was extremely poor and turned a short pass into a turnover. As they head into the offseason now, the powers that be in Tampa have to find a way to get Freeman playing with more consistency, so that they can start winning games because of him as opposed to in spite of him.

For many reasons, including his future contract, next season will be big for Freeman. A second year in Mike Sullivan’s offense should do wonders for him.

That’s why Joe is disturbed that Sullivan, the Bucs offensive coordinator, is interviewing for the Bears head coaching gig. It’s not surprising that Sullivan is interviewing; Joe predicted as much many times this past year.

But with Freeman in a freefall, to briefly bounce out of it Sunday, Freeman desperately needs another year with Sullivan. Otherwise, Freeman will be on his fourth coordinator in five seasons. Joe fears that will really screw with Freeman’s head, setting him back in his development yet again, and he may never realize his potential with the Bucs.

60 Responses to “The Peaks And Valleys Of Josh Freeman”

  1. raphael Says:

    lol big ben has like a 5th ranked defense and was 8 and 8 this year…

    He had like the # 1 ranked defense when they won SB’s ….

    lol At the Freeman hate joe.

  2. raphael Says:

    Perhaps if he stays in the same system for more than a year it will help his consistency ………… Novel concept huh ?

  3. Macabee Says:


    Why won’t my comment post? I took out the link.

  4. Marknlutz Says:

    It is time for Josh ( and Joe) to put their big boy pants on as it seems the norm that coordinators come and go., There is a time when Josh must lead himself and the team. The coordinator makes the plays…the quarterback executes them or not.

  5. SeanyMac in SC Says:

    I heard an quote that made me think about Josh yesterday…”He is just good enough to break your heart.” They were talking about Tony Oh-no Romo, but it holds true for Freeman as well. Just when you get excited by a great play he makes, then he has another errant pass or worse, another one of his 27 turn overs (10 fumbles, 17 INT). I hope Josh’s issues can be fixed with “coaching” or a “system” or a “shrink”.

  6. Nate Says:

    Freeman has to go.. Next year we will be in the playoffs i know this for sure.. Everyone will praise freeman for leading us there until he pulls a romo and throws a pick 6 to lose the game.. He will… you all know he will..

  7. Miguel El Magnifico Says:

    On Sunday, they couldn’t trust Gosh to complete a 4 yard pass to Mike Williams at the end. Pathetic.

    The only great thing about Gosh is his trade value. Imagine if every #1 draft pick they had could be kept or traded for another fresh #1 pick at the end of their rookie contract?

    I would trade GMC after next year for the 1st pick in the 2014 draft and get a real pass rusher, Jadeveon Clowney. JC will break every sack record in NFL history. The opposing QB’s will have only one thing on their mind, where’s Clowney?

  8. OptimisTroll Says:

    Detractors say mobile version of Trent Dilfer
    Protectors believe he is the second coming of Ben Roethlisberger

    That entire range is Super Bowl winning quarterbacks. It may have taken some help for both of them, but what quarterback wins the Super Bowl without help? None, of course. Sounds like we just have to be patient and let Freeman grow and let Dominik do his job.

    Go Bucs! Since sticking with Freeman it is only a matter of time before we are celebrating another Super Bowl victory.

  9. Rob Says:

    To Raphael and other Freeman apologists. Freeman has had 4 years to mature and improve his consistency. I don’t hate Freeman. I am just beyond tired of watching his errant throws to wide open receivers. Can you imagine hiw good the Bucs would be with even a 60% passer ? All our offensive weapons would enable a smart , low turnover creating qb to not just pile up yards, but pile up wins. Freeman won’t improve his accuracy. Do you think rewarding him with a multi-million franchise type contract will make him hit receivers consistently in stride? How many balls have to sail wildly over and behind and at the open receivers feet? I’ll always cheer for the Bucs, even with Freeman at the helm. I just can’t picture the playoffs and winning a SB with him, can you? That us the goal right? Go Bucs!

  10. tim Says:

    I liked the offensive game plan they had Sunday. I dont really get into the Xs and Os of the game very often. But it just seemed like they tried some different stuff than the previous few weeks. I like when they let Freeman move a bit. Seems like thats when hes at his best. Liked some of the quicker passes this week. Yes he still had some bad throws. But i think any QB will have that after having 2 awful games in a row. Think you almost get gun shy. But next year Id like to see more of that. Let him move a bit more. Hell maybe even throw in some hurry up offense sometimes. Thats when he really seems to shine. Would be nice to have a quick slot receiver to go over the middle a bit more. I think the offense could be even better next year.

  11. GiveBlountABLUNT Says:

    Miguel are you crazy? you think we’d be able to trade GMC for the first overall pick in 2014? are you on bath salts buddy? That will never happen, GMC was selected with the 4th over pick when we chose him if I am correct, and his career has not been even worthy of that pick ( He did have a very solid season this year, so he is on his way to doing some great things ) but its just that simple we wont be able to do that. We could probaly trade him for a first round pick somewhere from 15th – 25th overall.

  12. mcBuc Says:

    Nate. Are you part of the psychic network?

    All the rookies this year have to do it again. RG3 looked dreadful Sunday.

  13. mcBuc Says:

    Nate. Are you part of the psychic network?

    All the rookies this year have to do it again. RG3 looked dreadful Sunday.

  14. mcBuc Says:

    Sorry for the duplicate. Not sure how that happened.

  15. GiveBlountABLUNT Says:

    Everyone check out Dion Jordan, this kid is a freak athlete and could improve our pash rush..

  16. Andrew 1 Says:

    I still have full confidence that he WILL be a damn good QB in this league. whether its with us or not remains to be seen.

  17. Miguel El Magnifico Says:

    Clowney is playing in the Outback Bowl right now.

  18. OB Says:

    Joe, I believe that Josh’s problem is instinct. His first year, he had no schooling and his instinct was great. Now it is not.

    If he is a leader and smart, he will see this and do what he thinks he should in the circumstances.

    I am a retired Air Traffic Controller and one thing you learn as one is you don’t have time to think about what to do, you just do it and it must be correct all the time. You can’t teach this and this is why most people can’t do it, it isn’t the smarts, it is the time it takes to act or react. This is why I am not an Indy 500 winner, I can’t do that or a lot of other things.

    If Josh is an elite QB, the coming year, regardless of the OC, will tell. If he can act and react instantly, he will be, if not he will never be.

    By the way, Happy New Year and keep up the great work.

  19. Ramdog Says:

    I agree Freeman’s inconsistency is an issue and he definitely needs to improve but the bottom line is he is in the top 15 of QB’s in the league so until something better comes along we are stuck with him. I like Josh and think he has potential and could be a good QB but I also think competition is good and you will either figure out if Josh can handle to pressure or we will know it is time to move on.

    The smart thing to do is to get a quarterback later in the draft, someone who could be developed and has displays the traits in College that we think will carry over to the NFL. Here is how Schiano describes an elite QB “A lot of guys have big arms and there are a lot of guys that are mobile and all that, but it’s the way they lead, the commandership they have over their offense makes them elite”. What Schiano said at the last news conference about Josh was very telling he seems to want to improve at the QB position too.

    QB in the draft in general is a crap shoot. There are players who were dominant in College but then they get to the pros and they SUCK. For instance here is a list from a while back of QB’s all these were considered by the experts to be good picks at the time mind you.

    Chad Pennington, Marshall
    Giovanni Carmazzi, Hofstra
    Chris Redman, Louisville
    Tee Martin, Tennessee
    Marc Bulger, West Virginia
    Spergon Wynn, SW Texas State

    The next QB was ………….. Tom Brady.

    To trade Josh for a draft pick even the #1 pick this year is Moronic. Geno Smith is not a sure thing people nor is Barkley. They may be great but they could also be Ryan Leaf or Heath Schuler.

  20. Architek Says:

    Josh Freeman is who he is regardless of change of systems. Matt Ryan changed multiple systems and he has been very good this year. Stop with all the excuses. If you can’t look off defenders, read coverages, and accurately place the ball then you’re not a starter. Period.

  21. Nate Says:

    Freeman is a bust plain and simple.. He has thrown way to many interceptions.. Not to mention how many times Mike williams vincent jackson and dallas clark stopped a interception.. The guy is a turnover machine.. But wait he has a big arm.. WHO CARES! Hold this team to a standard.. Freeman is not the standard!

  22. Ladyz Says:

    @JOE. Can we have a thread at least once a week called “ask Joe”?

  23. raphael Says:

    Freeman is a stud franchise QB plain and simple, and our best chance for a super bowl…..of course we could send him down the road and wait another 5 yrs for another QB. I would lmao if that happened

  24. Nate Says:

    Freeman is garbage the only reason we won more games this year is because Doug Martin was busting his butt off.. You all know it.. we would be a 3-13 team if it wasnt for him…I still say trade for Ryan Mallet…

  25. buccanay Says:

    It’s all about DEFENSE!!! Sick and tired of hearing “its all about 5”! No, its about building a top 5 defense. We’re not dumpin Freeman, to start all over, and set us, potentially back a decade. He is what he is, and we’re stuck thru next year anyway. IMO, EVERYYTHING, I do in draft/FA goes towards building a good defense, with exception of depth on o-line. Despite Freemans ups and downs, had our defense not been dead last, by WIDE margin in pass D, we’d be in the playoffs. IMO, Freeman is NEVER gonna be an “elite” QB, but with the weapons he has on offense we can win now with just a few more impact players on defense. With some maturity and repetition, his game can get better, enough to win with a good defense, IMO.

  26. Rob Says:

    Raphael. Bro, put down the crack pipe. Freeman has proved he us NOT a franchise qb. Name a franchise qb with a completion percentage the same or lower than Freeman. C’mon man. Setting passing yardage records is nice but so is holding on to the damn ball. 18 picks, 10 fumbles lost. Those stats got us 7 wins instead of 10 plus. Get real bro! Go Bucs!

  27. Nate Says:

    The only way will win is if we run the ball… plain and simple…Not because of number 5… He would be a great backup to Ryan Mallet though..

  28. Nate Says:

    I’m going to ask all your Freeman lovers out there how many more interceptions will it take for you to admit he is a bust? Then remember that number!

  29. Architek Says:

    Raphael state your supporting info not just Freeman is a stud or franchise because right now your bud Freeman isn’t helping your argument.

  30. buccanay Says:

    Those calling Freeman a complete “bust” shouldnt even be allowed to watch NFL football. The guy will own ALL of the Bucs passing records before he’s turns 25. A superstar…no…a bust…no! Iv’e been very critical of Freeman at times, but there are only a few Bradys, Rodgers, and Mannings. IMO, we can win with Freeman. Having Raheem Morris talkin all crazy about how great Freeman was, and ‘its all bout 5’ and ‘giant human walkin planet” crap was the worst thing that could’ve happened to him. We shall see, but with some discipline and a tougher, harder approach, instead of the coddling, along with some competition will tell us what we have, and I dont think its nearly as bad some make it out to be.

  31. SilenceTheCritics Says:

    I’m sick of hearing people want to blame the defense. We lost games because of the Pass D AND bad QB play. Yes his numbers on paper look great. I’ve said it many times. But his play on the field is much worse when you watch it with your own eyes. Many games this year we could of won with a QB who played an entire game and not just the last half. You can’t dispute that no matter how much you want to blame the defense. And that sums up his career. He rarely ever plays a complete game. That is a MAJOR flaw that you cant blame on the coach, or the offense or the scheme or anything else. That is all on Freeman and that is NOT a franchise QB. You can not win in this league with a QB that only plays half a game. Then you throw in his horrible accuracy and the little things he still can’t do. It’s just not good and I don’t it all magically coming together anytime soon. Prove me wrong Free, fortunately for him he has another year to do so. Competition would be great. That of course most likely means another miserable year for Buc fans.

  32. Nate Says:

    Joe Can we do a poll voting on how many interceptions freeman will have next year..

  33. PRBucFan Says:

    Amen Silence

    It all comes down to this
    “so that they can start winning games because of him as opposed to in spite of him.”

    He will have his last chance this year show us we can start winning “because of him”.

  34. Patrick Says:

    Raphael, there’s been games this year where our defense has played good ( the Dallas, STL games) and Freeman still played bad on the field in those contests, realize that Freeman is NOTHING great!

  35. SilenceTheCritics Says:

    I can tell you 1 thing. (not saying this is going to happen) When our pick is up come draft time and Geno or one of the top QBs in the draft are still on the board… I can almost guarantee you Schiano would think it over real hard before making the pick. He would be a fool not to. No way you can be all in with Freeman at this point. Unless your name is Raphael.

  36. crazy Says:

    Sullivan’s actions will tell us more about what 5’s future here is than anything else. If Sullivan wants to leave there’s not much hope for 5.

  37. free's a boob Says:

    Let’s see…of the playoff teams there are three rookie QBs (not to mention Cousins as backup) and three second year QBs and we are making excuses for the 4th year Moron? Bottom line is he’s just plain stupid

  38. MTM Says:

    Freeman’s decision making and accuracy are his biggest issues. If I recall correctly in his best year he ran the ball on almost every series. This enabled him to keep drives alive. That went away.

  39. Andrew 1 Says:

    regardless of whether you think he is good or bad, he literally has only 1 more season to prove he can get it done. Schiano has already stated he is going to bring in competition at the QB which can only mean one, he is not satisfied with josh and is running out of patience. so one way or another our answer to if josh will be our QB in the future will be answered shortly.

  40. Miguel El Magnifico Says:

    If they don’t trade him while there is still value, Schiano and the Teflon Dom get fired next year.

    KC’s owner Hunt is taking over all decision making from the GM, Scot Pioli.

    He will decide what to do with the #1 pick. Pioli will advise him and he’s desperate to save his job. KC will trade the pick for hometown hero, Gosh Freeman to help sell tickets.

  41. cspann Says:

    I’m shaky on Freeman, but I can say that at least 3 losses were on the Def and not him. If the bucs sure up the D, we will have a playoff team plain and simple

  42. Robbie_G Says:

    Once again, I want to know why ” A top 15 qb” is ok with the masses? Middle of the road is ok? Look, Why is Freeman the ONLY person on this team who does NOT have to fight for his job? He has not done anything to get a free ride, like he has been given. I said it before, give one of the other ” middle of the road” QB’s Mike Williams, Doug Martin, and V Jax, and see how they do. To me Freeman will always be Chad Henne, heck might as well bring him in to.

  43. PRBucFan Says:

    and at least three if not more were on Josh,

    We shore up the QB issues and we make the playoffs…

  44. Architek Says:

    Amen PRBucfan,
    Fixing the QB fixes a lot of issues and it helps the defense because they’re not always on the field following turnovers.

  45. Patrick Says:


    Exactly! You’re absolutely right.

    That’s exactly why we made the playoffs with Jeff Garcia as our QB.

    He didn’t have flashy stats or throw for a lot of touchdowns, but he played smart football and didn’t turn it over.

  46. PRBucFan Says:

    Architek concurs with me

    and Pat concurs with Architek concurring with me

    That made me chuckle lol

  47. cspann Says:

    Realistically, it will be a crap shoot finding a qb at an elite level to replace freeman, I really think if the def is middle pack in pass def. This is a playoff team. I don’t trust freeman, like most of you, I’m not sure what the deal is with the guy, but I honestly don’t know if there is a suitable replacement in FA or a draft.

  48. Nate Says:

    cspann yes his name is ryan mallet!

  49. Architek Says:

    LOL yep because here the hidden substance of that argument that apologists missed during the losses.

    Yes the pass defense was hideous but the bigger problem is when people press to make plays and feel inclined to step outside their assignment. That happens more frequent when you know the turnover is likely and the quarterback is struggling.

    Just like Freeman panicked to make plays so did the young secondary.

    At the surface it looks like they stink they’re unprepared but they’re out of place because they’re trying to make something happen. Yes young players do that but so does untrusting and desperate players.

    Consistent (not great) QB play = improved defensive play (with better CBs)

    Ask Freeman to be better at the little things and watch the team respond to the consistent performance and trust will build. Until then we will struggle.

  50. Architek Says:

    Too many blown assignments to blame these guys preparation. Secondary was pressing. Sure they need to cover and be more effective with the blitz schemes but imagine the trusts a defense has when they can relax in their assignments knowing the QB will get them a lead or not demoralize their efforts when their not pressing to make plays.

    Remember the old defenses, punt if you have to but don’t back us into a short field consistently. Great defense creed.

  51. cspann Says:

    I wouldnt mind mallet at all. I would be happy if we could get him and maybe trade for kirk cousins. Will they be elite, i dont know but I think both are more accurate than freeman

  52. Andrew 1 Says:

    @ Architek

    give me a break. that sounds like one big elaborate excuse saying the defense is pressing because they are worried about the offense. all you people dont want to hear any excuse about freeman, and now your trying to give an excuse for one of the worst defenses we have ever had. If anything its the other way around. the offense was pressing because they knew the defense couldn’t stop anyone. the d was to worried about getting their ass kicked to even have time to think about the other side of the ball. a football team runs like it has 2 teams, team offense and team defense. our offense outplayed our defense throught the whole year. LMFAO. I mean our offense was ranked 9th in the league and our defense was ranked 30th for christ sakes. you gotta be fuking kidding me.

  53. Andrew 1 Says:

    some of you people just talk out of your a$s and then expect us to take your word for it.

  54. PRBucFan Says:


    Bahahahahahaha!!! The choir of the man-child apologists that have come up with literally every excuse in the book as to why Freeman performs poorly and get pissy when they get called on it, dare have the audacity to even squeak when someone tries to come up with other reasons why the D might be performing poorly?

    That is what i believe they call being a hypocrite.

    Don’t sit there and get on someone about excuses when literally the only thing Free Free apologists do is live and breath off of coming up with excuses as to why everyone else but Freeman is at fault for what Freeman does. What a joke…

    P.S. As far as we are all concerned there is no “degree” for posting on a thread so please don’t act as if anyone is more qualified than the other when in fact all we are all doing is giving our unprofessional input.

    Oh and there were PLENTY of times where when the defense was on and was playing well that the offense sucked balls. There were PLENTY of times the offense failed the defense. Seemed as if every time they rewarded the offense with the ball they would fail to get them any points during those last 6 weeks of football. People talk about losses being directly on the defense during those games where teams won on last second drives but truth is, if the offense were able to close out the games on their last possession the defense wouldn’t have ever even been in the position to lose the game in the first place. Food for thought

    In the end Free Free is liable for Free Free’s play and it doesn’t matter who else anyone blames. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

    The terrible CB’s will change if they can’t improve
    The QB will change if he can’t improve

  55. Andrew 1 Says:

    @ PR

    9th ranked offense, 30th ranked defense… I rest my case. but dont let facts get in the way of your so called competence. just keep whining like a little bich about something you have no control of. He is our QB, get with it, or go root for the pats if you want an elite QB so bad.

  56. PRBucFan Says:

    Awww did I hit a nerve 🙁

    What no more excuses??? So now your going on and on with unintelligible babbling…


    That’s our defense if your going to bitch so hard about it go root for the Steelers, the SeaHawks, or the Ravena with some “Elite” defense. 😉

    You see missy I never said anything about an elite QB now did I?
    But it’s ok,
    Would you like a tissue?

    AGAIN You see if you weren’t so incompetent you wouldn’t of blabbed on about crap I never said and you would have been able to understand this the first time I wrote it. I know it makes you oh so frustrated and its the root of your tantrum but… ITS NOT DEBATABLE

    “In the end Free Free is liable for Free Free’s play and it doesn’t matter who else anyone(YOU) blames. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

    The terrible CB’s will change if they can’t improve
    The QB will change if he can’t improve”

    End of Story,

    But you gave me a good laugh, I wont waste more time coming back to this thread again lolol

    Try not to cry too much

  57. PRBucFan Says:

    “9th ranked offense, 30th ranked defense”

    Oh right,
    doesn’t change a fuking thing I said.

    Lol Now I’m out of this thread for good.


  58. Architek Says:

    I am the hardest Freeman critic and personally if you know my pattern, I have lambasted Freeman since week 1 because I saw it. I was literally at the game talking and complaining to my buddy about how terrible Freeman looks, even in a win.

    Don’t try to scold me for saying the defense pressed and vice versa. That’s team sports 101. That’s life period. Hurt your back and your abs will try to compensate and likewise the other way. You have a problem and its not fandom related. Your simply out of your league. I’d suggest you find another forum to cry, I’m sure Dallas Cowboys have openings for failures. Go figure that one out if you get it.

  59. Ramdog Says:

    Freeman may or may not be the solution in Tampa only time will tell. I like Josh and see his potential and talent but other people had potential and talent and never amounted to anything as QB’s. I think Josh can be great but I also think he can downright suck. That inconsistency kills. The important thing is not what we think but what Schiano and Dominik think and bottom line is I think they think Josh can do it in the right situation. However, I would be shocked if they didn’t draft a viable QB as competition for Josh. If he rises to the occasion they have their good QB, if not they replace him and move on.

    Anyhow here are the conditions for Josh to succeed:
    1. Good run game – did you notice that whenever our run game was good we won we they stopped it we lost almost without fail.

    2. Good pass protection. I agree and so do the experts Freeman panics under pressure the easiest way to solve it is make sure he doesn’t get pressure.

    3. Cut down on turnovers. Schiano is big on this and rightfully so. I like that he emphasizes this as this is a crucial to football. I think that is what caused him to question Freeman is the rash of turnovers in last 3 games. If you notice the moment he started turning the ball over consistently he started to question him.

    4. Improvement on defense. Come one folks you have to have a defense that can hold its own unless you have an Elite QB. There are only a few of those out there Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. I think even the Josh supporters will agree he is not Elite but can be good enough to win a Superbowl(s).

    That said I think both Coach and GM were unhappy with his performance down the stretch and will draft a QB in the late 3rd or 4th round since we will have hopefully filled needs at corner and defensive line. Someone who has good decision making and can handle pressure situations. Also someone who can read defenses. Perhaps Tyler Wilson, Ryan Nassib and possibly a few others we don’t even know about.

  60. SteveK Says:

    @ Andrew1,

    Freeman can’t make a 5 yard dump off in the flats consistently. He has next year to earn his keep.

    You hear that Raphael? Freeman needs to step up.