The Task Of Improving Josh Freeman

February 23rd, 2013

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Aside from fixing and replacing what was a horrid cast of cornerbacks that will live in NFL infamy, the next order of business for the Bucs is fixing Josh Freeman.

Now, the stat dudes and the sophists will point to Freeman’s franchise-setting numbers. Fair point, but stats don’t win football games and Freeman’s inaccuracies and inconsistencies all but Pearl Harbored the Bucs chances of playing in January.

Top shelf NFL quarterbacks don’t toss four interceptions against the drek that was the Saints defense last year.

As one can imagine, Bucs coach Greg Schiano’s top task is getting Freeman over the hump and into the NFL’s elite, as he explained Thursday to Joe and a gaggle of reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“Just as we do with every guy on our team, we have a specific plan to help them get better. And we visited with all our players before they left at the end of the season and there are certain things that we thought would be good for Josh to do in this down time,” Schiano said. “And that’s one of the things people say, ‘what’s the biggest difference,’ well one of the big differences between college football and the NFL is, you don’t get to see the players that much. They left after the last game and now we’re in February and other than a few guys that pop through the building, you don’t see them. But before he left, we talked about things and I think he will continue to continue to make improvement in going through the installation of the offense, a better understanding and do all that we can to develop all the players on our roster as well as go out and pursue players I free agency and the draft and so we’re going to surround Josh with better player and he’s going to get better as our whole team is and as I said, I believe he’s going to lead us to where we want to go.”

The offense under coordinator Mike Sullivan is a bit complex. It’s why Mike Williams was so adamant that receivers had to be on the same page as Freeman.

Joe’s going to guess that having a full offseason to work in Sullivan’s offense, and being in that offense for a second season, will work wonders for Freeman’s decision-making if not accuracy.

37 Responses to “The Task Of Improving Josh Freeman”

  1. 4everBucsFan Says:

    Guess we will find out? We can start over next year.

  2. TampaBayTaylor Says:

    Its either he leads us to the playoffs and beyond or Schiano brings in a true QB, not a 6’6 Raheem Morris project. Just give me someone who can throw a simple 5 yard pattern that doesnt go into the stands or into the grass and doesnt blame it on everyone else.

  3. BucsFuture Says:

    In 2011 down the stretch, I made the argument that if Matt Barkley were to come out that the Bucs should draft him, and I was roundly ridiculed. Fast forward, a little over a year later. I still stand by that. However, I posit a different scenario. Geno Smith is going to slide. If he slides by Cleveland(looking to trade weeded already..big shock), Arizona(kevin kolb anybody..anybody), Buffalo(Fitzpatrick questionable contract) and NY Jets(Sanchez, geez need I say more), its very likely the Geno Smith is sitting there at 13. Unless someone trades up. Not likely. So unless one of the follow is there at 13, DaMontre Moore, Bjoern Werner, Eric Fisher, Dee Milliner, Star Lotulelei, Kenny Vaccaro, or Sharrif Floyd, would the Bucs take Geno Smith. While there are some holes to his game, no question, and you always have to be leary of those spread offense quarterbacks, I believe they will take Geno Smith at 13 unless they really love Xavier Rhodes and didnt sign at least 2 free agent corners. Now if this scenario doesnt play out, and it more than likely won’t but it could, I think Matt Barkley is going to slide. He is going to be like Brian Brohm, projected to be a first round pick one year, then 2nd round pick the next and out of the league in three years. Or he will be Aaron Rodgers. I think closer to Rodgers. Myself. What say you?

  4. Mr Lucky Says:

    If Josh needs ANOTHER year to figure out the offense tell me this:

    1. Why did Freeman do BETTER in the first 8 games than in his last 8 games?

    2. Why can ROOKIE QB’s enter the NFL and learn offense’s (RG III, Wilson, etc.,) and a 4th year NFL player can’t?

    3. You might be able to improve decision making but accuracy – with Freeman you’re never going to get over 58% on a good day.

    Can anyone say RYAN FITZPATRICK?

  5. Mr Lucky Says:

    Just remember:

    Ignorance and decision making IS curable

    Stupidity and accuracy are a life time affliction

  6. Illuminati Says:

    A lot of people get on Freeman for those back-to-back four-pick games last year. But that crap happens to the great ones, too.

    In 2010, Peyton Manning (are we going to dispute his ability?) had only thrown four picks through the first nine games. Then, he threw three against New England’s 30th-ranked passing D. The next week, he threw four against San Diego’s number one pass D. The next week, he threw another four against Dallas’ 26th-ranked pass defense. That’s 11 picks in three games for the mother of all modern-era QBs.

    Manning finished with 17 picks that year, the same as Josh last year. Of course, when an established pro like Manning has a bad streak like that, we shrug it off because we know it’s not characteristic. But when a young player like Freeman has a couple of games like that, we point to it as evidence that he’ll never be good.

  7. Bucfan Says:

    Listen mr lucky I’m Freeman’s biggest critic. And I’ll say this: you’ll see te accuracy. Some of the throws he makes makes you say wow his problem? He’s not consistently accurate. And that is a huge problem. A lot f that had to to do with his footwork and mechanics.

    My problem with freeman is I don’t think he’s processing things in live game speed. I think he struggles reading coverages especially zone and defenses know that. He fails to look off defenders which is key and will stare down his primary pre snap first read. If you watch the game breakdown of Dallas game , you’ll get a prime example of missed opportunies of josh simply stating down one side of the field while guys are open on the other side. His confidence and poise come into question as he gets rattled too easily whether its a simple early mistake or consistent blitz.

    I hate to say it but I’m not sure he can improve all on that in one offseason. He also performs his worst in big games something that isn’t good either. Well have to find out this year.

  8. BucsFuture Says:

    Good point Illuminati…I would say Josh Freeman is a servicable quarterback, and I think his accuracy could improve slightly with better footwork high 50’s to low 60’s but I don’t think he has that clutch gene against premier talent. I don’t think he ever will. He could be this generations Vinny Testaverde.

  9. Red86 Says:

    Mr. Lucky

    Game flim and game plan from the opposing team.
    Cam did great rookie year. The game flim study helped team figured how to stop him this past year. I expect the same to happen to these past year rookies. This is a big reason why players have sophmore slump.

    Not all playbooks are the same. In fact to call a play is at least 2 to 3 sentences long with random words. If a coach have a different way of saying the same play, then it takes time to adjust to the verbal side of knowing what the play are. Also it take time to get rid of the old stuff that was memorize. Some catch on fast other take time. Now imagine all 11 players have to know the verbage and what their responsiblities are.

    Free threw a 70%. The worst he thrown was 35.7 and 46.2 against 2 top notch defense in dallas and denver that get the pressure on the qb. Even in those 2 four picks game, he threw a 55%. Keep in mind that it take two to make a completion. IF the ball hit the wr in the hand near his chest and drop it, then it going to affect the completion percentage whether it the qb fault or not.

    Honestly looking at the stats of each game, I would say Freeman had 4 very bad games out of 16. There are mulitlple games we won and lost that the defense just let the opponent go wild in the second half. Even the Oakland game almost ended with a lost despite Doug and Josh big game. To me the Oakland game is this offense potential game. The Vikings and the last Falcons game is the best measuring stick of how good this team is if both the offense and defense shows up and play for four quarters or make the play when it matter most. The team won 4 of 5 when the score was 17 or less. Even the team was beating Brees and both the Manning brothers before the callapse in the second half. It’s a bad idea to get rid of Free with and offense that went like it did this past season. This offense has never been this good.

    Replacing Freeman may make our offense like the Cardinals or Vikings. A lot of weapon and no average to above avgerage qb to run the offense. 2010 the defense was 16th overall and that was Free 1st full year at week 6. Technically he just put a rookie year in and the team got robbed of a playoff berth.

  10. Bucfan Says:

    ^^^^. Quit looking up stats dude. I can tell you right now they mean crap. Watch te film. His Wrs bailed him out a lot as well. Or you seem to miss the fact he put up garbage time stats against Denver at the end. Sucked against Philly and New Orleans the 2nd time( worst defense in the league). Didn’t play well against Atlanta Washington. Played horrid against Dallas and St. Louis as well as Denver.

  11. Krk Says:

    What do you mean “a bit complex?” Freeman is paid millions of dollars to do his job. Complexity has nothing to do with it. He is either able to pick this stuff up and make it work or he needs to be replaced. Good Lord, this guy has been playing football most of his life. He has had to see whatever is being put in front of him one time or another. “A bit complex.” my ass.

  12. grif4foozball Says:

    freeman sucks,nuff said!!!!

  13. Mike J Says:

    My mind is still open on Freeman.What worries me, however, is not the mistakes, but his tendency to panic in the pocket when facing a pass-rush (& his pass-pro last season was not all that bad). He did not show this his 1st two years, but in 2011 & 2012, when pressured, he would not step up into the pocket even if there was one there.Josh tried to rely on athleticism, throwing passes off his back foot while backing up. You can’t coach speed or accuracy; you also can’t coach guts.
    PFF stats reflect this tendency solidly.

  14. BucNasty!! Says:

    The problem is everybody wants freeman to be something he’s not. he’s not rg3 or Wilson or luck he’s an above average qb who’s the bet we’ve ever had an does everyone forget he’s only 24 ?? His best years are ahead of him yet he broke numerous buccaneer franchise records this year…. Patience is truly a virtue!! We don’t need a qb like a manning who we need to ride to victory we need a better defensive consistent effort our defense lost us atleast 5 games last year josh has his faults but he has his ups as well we averaged 28 points a game.. More then enough to win if u can stop somebody. He’s inaccurate at times face it stop whining about it an help solve it say let’s get a big range te or a slot receiver who can get some separation so he doesn’t need Brady accuracy to hit a 5 yrd out. FREEMAN IS THE FUTURE. So all that get rid of free talk can take a hike!!!

  15. BucNasty!! Says:

    An he couldn’t step up n the pocket because our guards that actually form a pocket where rehabbing injuries. Frot facing pressure is a wb’s worse enemy an a major accuracy killer

  16. SeanyMac in SC Says:

    I hope we can fix Josh, or its another losing season again. There is no back up right now that can do any better.

    Believe me, I want Freeman to succeed, or its no playoffs again.

  17. BucNasty!! Says:

    If josh turns n the exact same season this year with a better defense we’re n the playoffs ,now how deep into the playoffs might rest on his shoulderes but josh has proven to me on more then enough occasions that’s he’s your guy n the clutch

  18. Red86 Says:

    Agree bucnasty. There are some many factors that are over looked.

  19. Capt. Tim Says:

    Buc nasty- yup, if we had a pass defense of any kind last year- we are in the playoff

    Freeman just turned in an all time best season, for any QB in Buc history.
    He did that in his first season in a new offense. That

  20. PRBucFan Says:

    Listen point blank

    BAD FREE is unacceptable. Plain and simple.

    If he rears his ugly head next season he won’t be around for another as a Buc.

  21. BucNasty!! Says:

    Prbucfan just a question but r u off the same camp that was screaming for mCcoys head as well because he was injured an “unproductive”???? Patience is a virtue I don’t think you get rid off ya young 24 yr old franchise leader n a few cattagories for a hope n prayer of a dream that he’s better then free n praying he’s rg3 or Wilson or luck… The grass aint always greener on the other side if starting qb’s were that easy to pluck outa the draft then clevland, Kansas city, Arizona wouldn’t b permanently n the bottom third of the league

  22. PRBucFan Says:

    No actually, I’ve always been on McCoy’s side.
    Considering he was always productive on the field and the only thing that ever held him back was his health, these situations are silly to compare lol.

    Again plain and simple, like it or not.

    Bad free rears his ugly head again and it’s Bubye Freeman.

    Btw it’s his experience in the league not his age that matters.
    Going on year 5. Tick tock tick tock tick tock. Times nearly up.

  23. Mr Lucky Says:

    The “Good Josh” looks really good WHEN he plays.

    The “Bad Josh” throws 3-4 picks and makes Trent Dilfer look good.

    I can’t stand the inconsistency.

    Bring in Ryan Fitzpatrick for competition and forget wasting QB picks in the draft; save them for DEFENSE

  24. PRBucFan Says:

    It’s unfortunate for Josh that the “Good Josh” doesn’t outweigh the the “Bad Josh” and that the “Bad Josh” is so awful that it actually cannot be overlooked and does outweigh the “Good Josh”.

    Here’s to hoping that part of his game is history.

  25. PRBucFan Says:

    P.S. Josh is 25

  26. scubog Says:

    As usual, fans expect the QB to be a superhero. A one-man force to help the weak defeat the strong. Forget the rest of the 53 man roster. Out of the 16 games, I saw 12 games in which Freeman’s play was good enough to win, 2 games where his play was less than necessary and 2 games that were horrid. Perhaps if the defense could have stopped the opponent on occasion the “team” would have had more victories. Seems some of you people always have to have a whipping boy.

  27. PRBucFan Says:

    Superhero? One-man force? Whipping boy?

    Negative GhostRider more like “Consistent” at his position

  28. Mr Lucky Says:


    Sure Josh is only 25 but for the past 2 seasons he has looked hideous. In 2011 it was the 10 game losing streak and in 2012 it was a 4 game losing streak.

    What makes the losing streak in 2012 even more unpalatable is that during the losing streak Josh does his MJ cover/story for ESPN. Sorry but that’s unacceptable to do DURING the football season. After the season no problemo.

    I still think it’s time to get Fitzpatrick into town (if he can be had for a reasonable fee) and yes I know its now popular but sign Tim Tebow to come in here as well. If nothing else Freeman will have the opportunity to see how a truely motivated professional conducts himself.

    Say what you want about Tebow but his winning percentage is better than Freeman’s PLUS Tebow knows how to win the big games while Josh knows how to sit on the sofa when it comes to the playoffs

  29. Mr Lucky Says:

    While I’m at it Tebow is not as accurate as Freeman BUT he’d be able to run the “pistol” like the 49ers did with Kapernick. In addition Tim CAN throw the ball down the field pretty well and with V-Jackson and D Clark I’ll wager that Tebow’s passing rate would be much better than it was in Denver.

  30. Quickdraw Says:

    Please take a few min and look at Josh in games. After the snap he starres down his reciever and if the guy can out physical the defender he makes the play. Josh does not look off coverage. This is not a system issue. It says a lot for our recievers that with Josh tipping his hand they can still manage to make plays.

  31. bucfanjeff Says:

    “Freeman’s inaccuracies and inconsistencies all but Pearl Harbored the Bucs chances of playing in January”

    Isn’t the goal to start fast in the NFL? How did the defense hold up this season, particular in the beginning?

    While QB inconsistencies don’t help, the “Pearl Harboring” wasn’t all on him.

  32. 4everBucsFan Says:

    I think after this season Josh and his agents will destroy the top end of our salary cap once we pay him elite type money. Just like Joe Flacco. All the team needs to do is win. If the defense had played better, even with the two stinkers by Josh, he’d be demanding a huge salary bump this year.

    When you look at the way the salary cap works, and know that all teams must spend 89% of the cap, I can see that in the future, the teams who pay elite money to their QBs, will be strapped for money and will have a weaker supporting staff, that will find it harder to win. The teams who are paying less to their QBs but have the money to pay out higher salaries for a better supporting cast, will win more often, even though they will be disadvantaged at QB.

    The perfect examples are this years Super Bowl teams. Flacco was cheap, and that allowed more money to be spent on other players. Same goes for the 49ers. Now, that Flacco is demanding 16 to 20 mil, the team is in cap hell for this year. So in order to pay Flacco what he wants the team has to dump a lot of their expensive supporting veterans. The chances of the Ravens making it back to the Super Bowl again this year is a fantasy. Unlike the 49ers who can only get better because their QB isn’t costing the team 1/6 of the salary cap.

  33. BucNasty!! Says:

    An the difference between free an all the other qb’s who or y’all drooling like Joe over rachael Watson is the fact that allllll those teams ether had a good deffense or played good defense we r te only team who had half a defense stop the run but give up 300 yds a game an five up career highs to Blaine GABBERT an Nick Foles but ppl forget about that. As a mater of fact I’m sure that josh’s fault to they racked up so much yds let me guess cuz he didn’t sustain drives long enough hahahahahahaha(sarcasim)

  34. BucNasty!! Says:

    @scubog …. I like ya take man u got some knowledge goin on up there I like to read unbiased based comments on free an I think alot of ppl then sailed his ship already so he never really gets a fair shake on this site. How do I throw for 4k yards an still take the blame when games like the redskins an Atlanta of the defense makes the pick n te fourth quater when it hits there hands (Danny gorrer) not to mention we was leading at the time those would b victories ctfu an don’t tell me that giants game was his fault he had a slow first half but did enough to take the lead by 11 points wot 4 mins left n the game am fans still find a way to take that blame off the secondary(mainly ronde & coach blitzes) an make it free’s hahahahaha BUC4LIFE SAIL WIT US OR WALK THE PLANK!!!

  35. PRBucFan Says:

    Jebus you people don’t realize it’s not about ANY OTHER ASPECT OF THE TEAM.

    This is about Freeman and his issues at his position!!!

    Yes, there are times when he shows flashes BUT that does not offset the things he does wrong which is ALOT and it is very very worrisome. There are things an NFL QB should be able to do and handle that Freeman still struggles with and that is scary. I mean come on now it’s the NFL and you abandon all sense of sustaining a drive the moment you feel or in his case sometimes THINKS he feels pressure? This is the NFL I am sorry to say it but even with the best offensive lines in the world there will always be pressure!!! To have a QB that crumbles under pressure is a bad bad thing. Being unable to make correct reads or to use his eyes to command the field or adapt according to what the defense gives him in the moment, not to mention his SCARY tendency to go from superbly accurate to missing 5 yard dump offs??? Missing wide open receivers by 5 yards at times??? These are all things that can really really ruin an offense and his future as a QB if he cannot fix them. It’s very worrisome.

    Yes, there are other areas that need addressing and that is undeniable but right now we are discussing the issues we have at the most important position on our team. Our QB. I am not proposing the solution to find “the right guy” be an easy one but sense when has it ever been??? Just because you don’t have an obvious solution for a problem doesn’t mean that you ignore till one pops up lol.
    No, the longer we continue with “the wrong guy” the longer it will take for us to find “the right guy” because we aren’t looking for him.

    I believe Freeman should get one more season to prove that he can do it,
    but it’s now or never man. I am not asking him to elite, that would be nice of course but all I want to see is one full season of “Consistency” even if its just consistently average it’s better than a couple game of greatness and a couple games of the worst QB’ing known to the history of man. I sincerely hope somehow that a switch goes off this season and he’s able to leave all these things behind him, I just really don’t believe that will happen.

    Prove me wrong Josh, I would absolutely, honestly, love it if I was wrong in this.

    Let’s hope that’s the case this season.

  36. Mr Lucky Says:

    All the love for Freeman won’t make his accuracy any better

    nor will it improve his inability to check down receivers

    nor will it help Josh to stop staring down receivers

    Alas 2013 looks a lot like 2012; Hopefully the defense will improve and win games because I’m not counting on MJ Freeman to get the job done.

  37. SteveK Says:

    Bring back 2010 Freeman, that my friends’, is an NFL Quarter back.