The Freeman Fine Line

May 5th, 2013

Does Josh Freeman need a “nudge,” as is suggested in this NFL Network roundtable analysis of the Freeman-Mike Glennon dynamic?

Joe’s never bought the value of the “nudge” factor. But Freeman does need some kind of tweak to right himself back to 2010.

As former longtime NFL general manager Charley Casserly says in the video, Freeman’s play “inexplicably tailed off” late in the 2012 season. And it’s that unsolved mystery when the pressure was greatest that must be unraveled in Freeman’s head.

Interestingly, during a chat with Justin Pawlowski on 98.7 FM last week, Bucs rockstar general manager Mark Dominik talked about Freeman needing to manage the very fine line of “maintaining his competitive edge” by making all the throws his talented arm can execute while not forcing.

John McNulty, you’ve got a challenge on your hands, one that likely holds the playoff hopes of the Bucs.

53 Responses to “The Freeman Fine Line”

  1. Biff Barker Says:

    As they say in China, Rotsa Ruck.
    McNulty has a ominous task.

  2. TrueBlue Says:

    I think the godawful play of the pass defense last year got in his head. No matter how much the offense did to put points on the board, the defense gave them right back. Frustrating to a young quarter back right after the 2011 collapse. If he gets support from the defense this year, and feels like they can hold a lead if he gets one, I think you will see a different Josh Freeman making plays.

  3. stevek Says:

    True Blue,

    Freeman writes his own destiny into Bucanneer lure this year.

    The defense consistently stunk against the pass last year, but the offense went from averaging 34 pts a game down to 17 pts per game for atleast a 25% chunk of the season with either figure. Freeman needs to get the offense to give consistent output.

    How many losses were by one score last year? How many of them could Freeman just of easily taken over the game and won it for us?

  4. OB Says:

    Joe, how is Josh’s personal life, could something have happened to throw him off?

  5. Capt. Tim Says:

    There is only a mystery- if you don’t actually watch the games.
    By week 12, opposing defenses had figured out most of our offense. Both of our WRs were attacking the side lines. We had no Slot Reciever, TE, or RB capable of doing damage in the middle of the field.

    You can actually watch CBs breaking for the sideline, before our WRs did.

    It’s easy to figure- if you watch

  6. the_buc_realist Says:

    The Stork will be starting by week 10! Write it down!

  7. lurker Says:

    the difference in freeman between the old 2010 josh and the new josh is the weight loss. he was bigger in 2010 and yet was mobile and hard to bring down. he cut weight and became more immobile, easier to bring down, and more thinking.

  8. Eric Says:

    The defense stunk so he tried to do too much? Could be the case, or it is in his DNA.

    We sure don’t have anywhere near a good enough team to withstand bad QB play.

    Remember Raheem Morris recommended this guy. Just sayin.

  9. bucsguy Says:

    It was a combo of a bunch of stuff, he started to press because the d would give up leads, also the playcalling went away from the long ball after the vikings and raiders games they decided that they were going to pound teams into submission but with the shattered oline it wasn’t happening, when they were throwing to open up the run they were very successful in both categories but then they saw the numbers that martin was putting up and tried to force the run and put us in 3rd and longs constantly. Right after the season I heard a stat that the bucs were 0-6 in games with 5 or less attempts of 25 yard passes (ball travels at least 25 yards in the air). This team needs to go deep to back the safety off then mix in the run not not try to pound it then just throw when it is 3rd and 7+. This year with our oline healthy they should be be able to get the.big chunks on first down when running then they canwith playfake with more success last year teams just stacked the box because they knew Sciano had fallen in love martin and he was getting it no matter what. Really he should be a 15-20 runs a game guy with another 5-8 receptions not a 25 carry guy. The playcalling became stale and predictable, free started to press and the defense kept giving up big plays all this combined led to free falling off but so did Martin his ypc went down and so did the yards per catch on both wrs, they stopped going deep Hell I remember games where they weren’t thrown to more than a handful of times. Both vjacks and mike Willy should get at least 10 targets a game and half should be 25+ yard attempts.

  10. RastaMon Says:

    I really can not recall any NFL HOF QB type that was not a cold blooded killer…they all brought a different bag of tricks each Sunday….but they all had that mentality…Pulp Fiction or Jerry Curl in 2013 ?

  11. Mike J Says:

    What worries me is that the slump looked caused by a decline in ye old intestinal fortitude.

  12. gracelivin Says:

    Josh really struggled when he got pressure from the middle, which became quite regular during and after the Philly game. About that same time our offensive play calling was real predictable, started trying to run to the right which rarely gained yardage putting us in 2nd-3rd and long and also took away the playaction because opossing d’s quit respecting the run, less precise route running it looked like receivers got a bit lazy, or frustrated, not to mention Josh was short arming a lot causing balls to sail/wobble so the D could get a good jump. All was due to the middle of the line loseing integrity which should improve with our Probowl guards coming back, if we stay healthy we will win at least 10-12 games.

  13. Free's A Boob Says:

    This stuff adds nothing on any level. So please stop repeating. Thank you. We get it. –Joe

  14. Bucnjim Says:

    Sometimes I wonder if you guys make stuff up as you go along or actually watched every game last year? The only thing responsible for the Bucs going 7-9 was the secondary. That problem was fixed! Now everyone needs something else to whine about. Having been a Bucs fan since the mid 80’s I can tell you from experience that this is one of the most exciting offenses this Tampa team has EVER had. If you can name a better QB with a better offense than this one I’d like to hear your choice because there is none. Don’t even say the Super Bowl team because the D basically scored more points than the offense that year and Brad Johnson is only a game manager. Stop B!thing just to B!tch and give the guy a chance with a D that doesn’t give up 50 a game.

  15. Couch Fan Says:

    LMAO @ the only reason. Really? So that wasnt Freeman who threw all those pics in a 3 or 4 game span?.. Do you even have to try to be stupid or does it come natural for you?

    Listen if you want to make excuses for the guy. Go head. Blame it on the defense. Blame it on the play calling. Blame it on whatever you like. But if you are going to deny that Freeman had anything to do with the 7-9 record… you are an idiot. Point blank.

    Keep reading the stat sheets we’ll see how far that takes us.
    Free will forever be known as the Stat Sheet King since all the homers seem so infatuated with it.

  16. Raphael Says:

    Lol. All you freeman haters are pathetic….the guy set franchise records for yards and td’s and all some you do is cry and complain….just remember our vaunted pass defense lost 4 games for us after Free had us in position to win.

  17. Bucnjim Says:

    Couch potato,

    Why not just answer the question? Or is your IQ not high enough to understand hence the name calling. Very childish if you ask me and according to stats we were in the lead with less than 3 minutes left in four of our losses. Also; never said he had nothing to do with it. Said the problem was the secondary and the main stat points given up says it all.

  18. Capt. Tim Says:

    Football isn’t a Sherlock Holmes mystery. It isn’t a psychological field test.

    It’s on film. Everyone can see it. You just have to know what to look at.
    Opposing teams gathered enough film to properly attack our offense. Due to lack of adequate players, and I believe an inexperienced offensive co-ordinator- we didn’t evolve the offense once teams began shutting down our outside game.

    We didn’t attack the middle of the field. Partially due to lack of players suited to do so. Partially to draw defenders from the middle- allowing Doug Martin more opportunities to break away up the middle.

    NFL QBs don’t suddenly ” forget “how to throw or read defenses. Josh has proven he has plenty of talent. He needs the weapons to attack the entire field, and our Offensive Co-ordinator to evolve as the defenses adjust to us.

    No mysteries.

    And for those among you who don’t really watch the games, and aren’t interested in the facts-
    “That dang Josh done went and fergot how ta throw the dang football!!”
    That should cover it.

  19. BigSombrero Says:

    Yes we have all heard it before. Hes still younger than some qb’s. The secondary caused Free to throw interceptions. No it was the pass rush that made him throw interceptions. Wrong again it was the receivers. Nope he actually played well and people are just to blind to see it.

    Enough of the excuses. Free is on his last year, time to take the training wheels off, except responsibilities for poor performance, and play better. One way or another this argument will be solved by next off season. Either Free will have proved he’s starting material or he will continue to struggle in which case we will move on. Excuses wont mean anything this year.

  20. Capt. Tim Says:

    Is it just me, or do we have the two scawniest players in the league!!
    Glennon and Gaitor both look like they just got released from a P.O.W. camp!

    Gaitor is always getting hurt. Glennon better beef up, or his first hit will leave him looking like a pile of pick -up -sticks.

    Get those guys some cheeseburgers, and chase’em into the weight room!

  21. Capt. Tim Says:


    Yeah. Josh plays all by himself. No coaches or teammates. The defensive backs were breaking for the sidelines, before our WRs- cause Josh done up an fergot how to play Qb!

    If thinking that makes you happy, go with it! That’s the answer that requires the least amount of actual thinking

  22. BucoBruce Says:

    Capt.Tim you are dead on about what happen to the offence,the players have come out and so everyone knew what they were doing and jumped it.I think this year ogletree will be great for us and change the dynamics of are offence play calls because It will allow Williams to play some slot ,atleast I think that would help.BUCS 12-4 Super Bowl champs!

  23. BigSombrero Says:

    As I said, you can make all the excuses in the world but Free will be done in Tampa if he doesn’t perform better. Im sorry if that thought frightens some.

    I believe Free has all the talent necessary to succeed. I believe Free can do it. But as every analyst has stated, Free played poorly overall last season. Say what you want but thats what happened. He’s too inconsistent to be a starting QB in the NFL.

    Can he change that? Absolutely. But if he doesn’t then he’s done here. The excuses may work for you guys, but they won’t save him if he has another poor season.

  24. 1jwbucs Says:

    I believe in this Head Coach, his staff and I am confident that Josh has all the tools to play in the NFL. Be patient Bucs Fans… This team has added additional play makers and this will boost Freeman’s confidence, along with his options. You will see remarkable improvement on both sides of the ball and Freeman’s season will justify a new contract. I predict a winning season!

  25. Erik(EasyE)Wright Says:

    Josh better improve or the nudge will be out the door.

  26. Andrew 1 Says:

    I cant wait until Freeman lights it up next season so that all the Freeman haters can eat crow. then again, Im sure they’ll find something else to complain about.

    the Glennon pick does put a little bit of pressure on Freeman to finally take control of this team and play consistently good football. pressure is a good thing because it brings out the best in people, likewise people can also crumble under pressure. if he does end up crumbling under that pressure then he was never meant to be our QB to begin with. picking Glennon was the best thing the bucs could have done and that is why it is my favorite pick in the draft. it shakes up the QB situation so that we can start whoever is left standing.

  27. Macabee Says:

    I am still awed by the Josh Freeman of 2010 when compared to the Freeman we see today. What Happened? I went back and watch Freeman in 2010 and couldn’t help but notice a few things that I think are significant. Watch this highlight reel and see if you see what I saw.

    FREEMAN IS NOT A NATURAL POCKET PASSER. Freeman is not a Brady type, he is a Rothlisberger type. Notice the success he has when he rolls out to throw or scrambles when the pocket breaks down. If he doesn’t scramble when the pocket breaks he is rattled and inaccurate. He is very accurate on the run. He felt pocket pressure and moved out and scrambled for large chunks of yardage with no knee brace and no injures in 2010. I liked the bigger-bodied Freeman too!

    FREEMAN NEEDS A PASS-CATCHING TE. Winslow was not the right personality, but he was the right position. Notice that Freeman is deadly on the rollout to the TE as an outlet. There is no go to receiving TE in this offense today.

    FREEMAN CAN THROW THE SHORT PASS. Notice when Mike Williams played the slot or ran slants Freeman was able to hit him frequently on a dead run. When Stroughter button-hooked in the middle Freeman was deadly accurate.

    FREEMAN CAN THROW THE LONG BALL. There has never been any doubt that he can throw the long ball. But when was Freeman most successful? He was better when he rolled out, moved toward the LOS, drew up the secondary, and threw on the run.

    FREEMAN IS NOT A SCRIPTED QB. Freeman has difficulty when he has to follow a regimented script. He stays with the script too long and struggles to try to make it happen as originally scripted. He needs more latitude to call his own plays and decide how best to execute them rather than following a fixed set of steps designed before the snap. In other words, like Rothelisberger he plays sandlot football very well. Freeman needs to be given his head and let him play his natural style.

    FREEMAN AND SCHIANO CANNOT CO-EXIST SUCCESSFULLY. Make no mistake about it. I’m a huge Freeman supporter, and I think he has what it takes to be a franchise QB. However, Schiano is a strict disciplinarian on the style of play he expects each player to conform to. While this is a good thing for a young football team, it’s the death knell for Josh Freeman. I expect Freeman to move on after this season and if he is to be a successful QB, it will be with another team! Like LeGarrette Blount, Schiano has made his mind up about Freeman and he is not the long-term QB he desires for the Bucs! Too bad!!

  28. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I do agree that opposing defenses figured us out.
    But here is the deal, as I see it. Freeman is not Coach Schiano’s guy, and if he “liked him so much”, Glennon would not have been taken, especially with our 2nd draft pick, in a year we were short a draft pick, because of the Revis deal.

    Freeman will have to have an outstanding year, if they think Glennon is as advertised, to keep Glennon off the field.
    And IF they think Glennon is just as good, we can all kiss Freeman goodbye, because it all comes down to money!
    Freeman’s contract is up this year.

  29. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I too think Freeman will be gone next year, they just drafted his successor!

  30. Andrew 1 Says:

    @ Macabee

    I agree with everything you said, everything expect for “Freeman and Schiano cannot co-exist successfully”. I know Schiano’s ideal QB is a conservative, take what the defense gives you, pocket passer, but the fact is Freeman played some of his best football during that 6 game winning streak during the middle of the season with Schiano looking over his shoulder so it can be done. Freeman Just needs to become a better pocket passer, not one of his strong suites I know, but it can be done.

  31. BigSombrero Says:

    I don’t see any chance of Glennon starting this year barring injury. Next offseason is when Glennon will get his shot depending on if Free gets it together or not.

    In fact, I could see a scenario where next off season we have a 3 man competition with Free, Glennon, and a rookie QB depending on if after watching him this year, Schiano feels Glennon is a solid QB or not.

    If Free plays up to standard then all this is avoided though.

  32. Andrew 1 Says:

    he will never be confused with Tom Brady, but I think he can become a pretty good pocket passer.

  33. BigSombrero Says:

    If Freeman plays well I guarantee you Schiano will find a way to coexist with him. I agree that Free has relatively good accuracy on the move but I don’t believe he has to be moving to be accurate. If he does then he won’t make it in the NFL.

    While there is still good value in the 3rd round, this was a weak draft and I don’t think Schiano locked himself in with the Glennon pick. If Glennon shows potential then he could very well be in the running for the job next season. If there is still a question about him though, we have to remember, next year is thought to be an incredibly talented draft class particularly QB wise. We may take another guy next season and let them duke it out in camp.

    Another question we have to ask ourselves is if Freeman even wants to stay in Tampa. We don’t know if he does or not. We don’t know how much money he will ask for and even if he has a great year this season, I don’t think Schiano and Dom are willing to pay him too much based of his entire body of work. Depending on his price, they may decide to move on from him regardless if they think Glennon can replace him or if they think they can get a special player in the draft.

    Free played himself into a precarious position and its going to be interesting how Schiano and Dom handle it after the season is over.

  34. Daffy Buc Says:

    I agree Free is better when you let him “Freelance”. In 2010 he only had 6 ints. Last year he had over 20 ints. If they get Stocker or Byham more in the passing game, they will be less predictable and can keep the defense off balance. Remember also in 2010 Free would have at least 7 guys catching passes each game.

  35. Andrew 1 Says:

    @ Daffy Buc

    Freeman didn’t have over 20 ints last year, he had 17.

  36. BigSombrero Says:

    @Dafft- I agree, the more targets the better. Problem with that argument is that we have better weapons now than we did in 2010.

  37. gotbbucs Says:

    Last year they adjusted the running game after the bye to give Martin a better look at the defense by dellaying the hand-off for a split second so he didn’t ram it up the o-line’s a$$.

    Now they need to adjust the passing game to Freeman. They need to get him out of the pocket more and quit forcing him into something that he is not. He is not a straight up and down pocket passer. I’m sure that bugs the sh!t out of Schiano, but it just won’t work to force him against his natural instincts. Play action’s and roll out’s and Freeman would look more like he did in 2010.
    That said, he needs to get some bigger balls and let the staff know this. He’s been here long enough that he should be in on game planning. If they don’t let him do these things it won’t work out and we’ll be starting over with Mike Glennon next year.

  38. Macabee Says:

    What I offered about Freeman is simply my opinion. Schiano may end up being a very successful coach for the Bucs. He will be afforded every opportunity to succeed as coach as Freeman has had to become our franchise QB. But when I saw the victory formation against the Giants last season, I knew right away we were dealing with a different type of guy. And that difference may be just what the Bucs needed. I also contend that difference is why Freeman won’t succeed here. Freeman can’t be remade and Schiano won’t change his system for him.

    However, let me offer 2 facts that ought to be food for thought as we go into the 2013 season. Fact 1: We have never had a franchise QB at the Bucs. Fact 2: Every coach in Buc history has been fired before his contract was up, save the first one who retired unceremoniously after 2 losing seasons. Those facts are not mutually exclusive meaning they’re related. Schiano should carefully consider both before Josh moves on!

  39. Rob Says:

    Freeman still finished his ‘bad’ 2012 season with franchise records in passing yards and passing TDs.

  40. Nate Says:

    I cant wait to see start mike glennon on monday nite football!

  41. BigMacAttack Says:

    Ughhhh did anyone see the Ottawa v Montreal hockey game tonight. Talk about going to a fight and having a hockey game break out. It was awesome. At the end, one team had 5 guys left on the bench and the other team had 6. Incredible brawl. I love good violence in sports and even the sticks were flying.

    Ok, Josh is Josh, and at least they looked for an alternative if he sux again. I think he’ll be better but I ain’t holding my breath. We just need a 16 point defense and we can make the playoffs.

  42. BigMacAttack Says:

    I saw a good sign today:
    ” If they don’t serve Beer in Heaven, I ain’t going”.

  43. raphael Says:

    lol ^^^^^

  44. raphael Says:

    Here is the thing that screwed Freeman up some last year…..I think he was told not to run and he is deadly when he can run with the ball. it keeps defenses honest..i think they take the reigns off of Free this year and everybody is on the same page.

  45. Macabee Says:

    OK, I’ll change the subject. Tomorrow the Bucs will be signing several players from rookie mini-camp.

    I have heard WR Chris Denton, OL Jace Daniel, and WR/KR Jeff hughley from the arena league. Now don’t hold me to these names as it’s hearsay and every time I do this I’m invariably wrong!

    Since the Bucs are at the 90 man limit, for each player added one must be cut. So tomorrow, as they say in the movies “there will be blood”!

  46. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    stevek Says: May 5th, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    True Blue,

    Freeman writes his own destiny into Bucanneer lure this year.

    The defense consistently stunk against the pass last year, but the offense went from averaging 34 pts a game down to 17 pts per game for atleast a 25% chunk of the season with either figure. Freeman needs to get the offense to give consistent output.

    How many losses were by one score last year? How many of them could Freeman just of easily taken over the game and won it for us?”

    It’s a valid point I suppose, but of those losses, how many did the Bucs lose the lead due to the pass defense? There was a time when Warren Sapp said that if the offense scored twice per game the defense would do the rest.

    Would that still be the case in a pass-friendly league? I don’t know. It seems more and more Goodell is limiting defenses. Time will tell, but I still enjoy defense immensely.

  47. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Here’s what I believe we need to see from Josh Freeman. A stronger presence as a leader.

    So far, if games went bad he took it upon himself to try to fix things. While he must certainly do his part, I have yet to see him personally hold his players accountable. I don’t mean temper tantrums…I mean getting in their face and commanding them to do better.

    Yes,I believe the defense lead to the breakdown last year…it caused Freeman to make reckless decisions. And though the secondary has been addressed, we now have a potential weakness in Roy Millers old spot. I hope that spot is successfully addressed.

    And depth on both lines needs to be stablized.

    But if Freeman takes proper command of his offense, we will see it all come together. He needs to demand elite play from his players. So far as Sully’s offense, the reason they gave up on the deep ball were the picks. And several of those picks were cases where the reciever batter the ball in the air.

    Again…Freeman needs to hold them accountable. Yes, I know he is not blameless. Ut I believe Josh knows that as well. Each season he has worked to improve his faults.

    So far as his weight loss affecting his running, I believe Sully is trying to force him into becoming a pocket QB. I idn’t actually mind it last season…it did improve Josh’s passing game as demonstrated by the records set, but Sully needs to allow Josh to be mobile again.

  48. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Macabee, were the Bucs at the 90 man limit because of the rookies? Are the ones that attended camp still on the roster…is that the issue?

    I’m thinking an AFL WR might be a good slot reciever…in theory. Also…AFL is a faster game than NFL isn’t it? I have not wat hed a lot of it but if so this could be an interesting signing with Jeff Hughley. I know nothing about him though.

  49. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I read up on Jeff Hughley a little…this kid has earned bowl mvp and was key in big games. Huge success as a kick returner. Wikipedia says he signed with the Bucs.

  50. Bucfan Says:

    Listen the rumors from Pete prisco that schiano doesn’t like freeman because he doesn’t take charge and isn’t a rah rah guy is bs. Glennon is a leader but not a rah rah guy either. Both are more of you’re Eli manning persona. Chil calm and quiet but take charge.

    Schiano doesn’t like inconsistent play. Josh was so erratic that you never knew what type of player could show up. You couldn’t see that there were instances that the staff couldn’t trust him in key situations with the lead. That eagles game. They didn’t throw bc josh had about 5-6 balls that shoulda been picked.

    My opinion: I hope he puts it together but I’m not getting my hopes up. I’ve seen enough to understand why glennon was drafted. And if he comes in and picks up the offense quick hell give free a run for his money.

  51. St Augustine Says:

    If I was his qb coach I’d give him three three vodka shots in the 4th qtr! Sounds stoopid but it’ll work! Pear or Three Olives! Mix it in Gatoraid and go!

  52. St Augustine Says:


  53. Celly Says:


    “How many losses were by one score last year? How many of them could Freeman just of easily taken over the game and won it for us?”

    By that same token, how many games did Freeman have them in position to win only to see the defense cough it up at the end?

    Off the top of my head, the Eagles, Redskins & Giants all come to mind.

    I’ve held firm to the fact that I believe Freeman’s issue towards the end of the year was that he felt like he needed to win EVERY game because he knew his defense couldn’t do it. When you feel like you have to do too much, you wind up not playing within the system and try to force plays vs. just letting them happen.