How Josh Freeman Will Improve

July 31st, 2013

josh freeman 0711

Joe tries to be objective when it comes to Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman. Joe sees the measurables, sees him rifle lasers through traffic to Vincent Jackson, sees him (not enough) scramble to create plays, and they make Joe smile.

Then Joe sees the irritating rollercoaster of inconsistency and cringeworthy melting down under pressure, and Joe wonders if Freeman can ever turn the corner.

Joe points to the Denver game last season. The Bucs defense may have played it’s best half of football all season, bottling up Peyton Manning in the first half. Holding a scant halftime lead, Denver coach John Fox brought the house on Freeman, and Freeman wilted and vanished with a chance to pull off a major upset and keep the team in playoff contention.

Yes, quarterbacks are supposed to struggle under pressure. But the cream of the crop of quarterbacks rise above the fray. If Freeman is able to get the Bucs to the playoffs, you don’t think he will face pressure from opposing defenses then?

Steve Palazzolo of decided to crunch some Freeman numbers and under heat from a defense, Palazzolo revealed chilling data on the Bucs’ signalcaller.

Tampa Bay fans are still wondering if Freeman is truly their long-term answer, but on the glass-half full side, go to our AFC North Pressure Profiles and check out Super Bowl-winning quarterback Joe Flacco. Freeman’s pressure numbers are eerily similar and perhaps a good sign that he’s at least capable of leading the Bucs to the playoffs and beyond. In glass-half empty news, only three quarterbacks have graded worse than Freeman’s -46.3 when pressured, so he likely has to show some improvement in that area to take the next step. Freeman’s only positive grade comes from left guard pressure while he’s particularly poor when under heat from left tackle and right guard.

So now Joe will play glass half-full. Palazzolo’s informtion is from Freeman of 2012. What was missing most of the season? Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph. So with those two upright and healthy (Joe hopes), this will help keep defenses off Freeman and also help keep Freeman’s jersey clean.

That alone should improve Freeman’s numbers from last year.

45 Responses to “How Josh Freeman Will Improve”

  1. robert Says:

    So all jfro 6 pack sould glo bounce A lot Jackson needs to be successful is:

    Best O line in football
    Arguably the best RB in the league
    Two Beast WR’s – a sick combo


    That being said. If the defense improves and he just doesn’t LOSE us games we should be ok. but he damn sure is no top shelf QB and all this 75-100mil a year nonsense is just that. NONSENSE.

  2. mpmalloy Says:

    Yes, Alex.
    Who is ‘Mike Glennon’ for $2000.

  3. John Says:

    Joe, someone once told me that here are three types of lies – lies, damn lies, and statistics. If you actually click on he link, you’ll find that the data covers Freeman’s whole career. One that included the fast-talking Raheem Morris’s tenure as his coach. Looking at just 2012, Freeman was 19 in QB rating and handled pressure much better than he has been portrayed. he was also top-10 in both, yards, touchdowns AND interceptions. That seems like it could have something to do with our style of offense.

    I expected more from you, Joe. Please take time to read the data before you give the haters a platform to shovel their garbage.

    And what’s wrong with the full career look? Freeman’s best season came under Raheem, Olson and Van Pelt. –Joe

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Under pressure Freeman has 3 options….

    Force the ball to a covered reciever
    Throw the ball away
    Eat it and take the sack

    Oh, you say….there’s one more option……RUN!

    Josh needs to no that running is perfectly OK and he is pretty good at it. Josh, when they pressure you……Burn them with your legs.

  5. Robert Says:

    He’s the guy not costing us 10 mil

  6. John Says:

    …and his worst, Joe. My point is that you don’t qualify your stats you just throw them out there. Last year, Freeman improved in almost every category behind a patched up line. He was a much better QB than he is being given credit for. Do some relevant analysis and talk about his performance in the current regime. Two years ago (2011), I saw the Bucs show up and be completely surprised by what the other team threw at them. It was a joke! It was a horrible season for the whole team. I’m looking forward to seeing him improve even more this year. Don’t drink the cool aid Joe!

  7. Macabee Says:

    There is hope! A good defense cures a lot of evils. Stats aren’t everything, winning is!

  8. Bucnjim Says:

    Freeman has flaws, but this argument has just as much to do with the system and play calling as it does with the QB. Every team has ways that they deal with pressure and blitzing from opponents. West Coast style handle pressure much better because of shorter routes and dump offs. Teams trying to push the ball down field have harder times because of less options. Being more familiar with the system; Freeman should feel more comfortable changing the play at the line of scrimmage to handle whatever blitz package the other team has called. I just want to get started!

  9. robert Says:

    jfro changes plays at the line of scrimmage??????

  10. Macabee Says:

    No, stats aren’t for losers and they’re definitely not for fans. Stats are for statisticians – people who can put them into context given the circumstance or the issue under evaluation. The reason stats get a bad rap is that if the evaluator has a bent, then the same stats can be used to find opposite conclusions using the same data.

    But they are important. If you come in second in the 200 meters with Usain Bolt, you might be considered fast. But not necessarily if it was a 2 man race. You need stats to fully understand the context of the race.

    Freeman has bad stats under pressure and he loses. Flacco had worst stats under pressure and he wins. So what gives? Stats don’t tell the whole story!

  11. Bucnjim Says:

    Flacco has/had an elite defense to give him the ball right back even if he did make a mistake. Flacco & Freeman are not that much different. Strong arms, but will never be a Brady or Manning. Still both are good enough to get the job done. Everyone has to remember that there are only 5 elite QBs out of 32 teams. Fans around here seem to think elite QBs are a dime a dozen. Wilson, Kapernick, and Luck will come right back to earth this year. With the number 1 defense Kapernick should be O.K. though.

  12. Pete 422 Says:

    Lets play the games! I can’t wait.

  13. Buc1987 Says:

    Again I repeat. 2012 Freeman was MUCH better than 2011 Freeman. Dispute that and I will call you an idiot.

    I expect 2013 Freeman to be MUCH better than 2012. Those that don’t think so are entitled to their opinion.

  14. Joe Strummer Says:

    Busy day? A Josh post and only 12 comments…

  15. Buc1987 Says:

    2012 Freeman was 5 times better than 2011 Freeman. Anyone disagree?

  16. Buc1987 Says:

    Robert you should ask for one of these for Christmas.

  17. Couch Fan Says:

    Neither of that matters. What does matter is 2013 Josh.

    If 2013 Josh is anything like 2012 or 2011, there will probably be no 2014 Josh.

  18. Buc1987 Says:

    Couch Fan so your saying 2012 and 2011 Josh were just the same?

  19. Buc1987 Says:

    The point is he’s NOT regressing. 2013 Josh should be better than 2012 Josh. Should be, but ya never know he could go back to 2011 Josh, but I don’t see it.

  20. tommy Says:

    @buc1987: ROFLMAO!!!

  21. Chris Says:

    I hate these comparisons to joe Flacco and Eli manning. The difference between them and freeman is they don’t get rattled in big games. They show up. Big time. Josh crumbles. And has always crumbled. His 9 4th qtr comebacks 8 of them are against teams under .500 at the time. On one I can think of was his first sart in 09 against Green Bay.

  22. BamBamBuc Says:

    Is it possible that part of the reason the teams he has 4th quarter comebacks against were sub .500 teams is because he came back and beat them (thereby giving them an additional loss)? I mean, why do you think so many “winning” QBs have beaten so many sub .500 teams? Well, probably because they’re winning and the other team is losing?

    One thing about the article that I wish they’d break down though is the type of pressure. Was it a hit on the QB? Or just “in his face”? Because Freeman got hit a lot last year as he threw, which of course will make him look pretty bad against “pressure”. But if you take away the “hits” and only look at how a QB has done against “pressure”, the numbers may change. Maybe not, but it would be nice to know if he QB was hit or not. I saw a lot of the lame duck, wobbly passes (some intercepted, some close to intercepted) happen when he was actually being hit as he threw.

  23. Couch Fan Says:



    What I am saying is that neither 2012 or 2011 Josh was good enough to be a winning QB in this league in my opinion.

    Progressing only counts if you progress enough to be able to win. Is Josh good enough in 2013? That is the question. Not will he be better.

  24. BamBamBuc Says:

    Question to Couch: Good enough for what exactly? Good enough to win with a good, healthy team? Or good enough to overcome any possible deficiency on the team (injury, poor pass rush, etc) and still win? Just curious, because if Clayborn is down for a while with his groin injury and our pass rush suffers, we may give up a lot of points (maybe not, the secondary may just be that good) and that’s a tall task for any offense to overcome, much less the QB by himself.

  25. Buc1987 Says:

    Exactly Couch Fan…and that’s what we’re allll waiting to see. If he made MORE strides from 2011 to 2012 to 2013.

  26. Buc1987 Says:

    @BamBam…don’t try the it takes a team to win games approach with some people in here. It does’nt work it’s been tried numerous times and they don’t get it. I get what your saying and agree with you, some others might as well. It’s just that it all falls on Freeman’s head no matter what you type. Not saying you Couch Fan, but you know where I’m coming from I’m sure.

  27. Couch Fan Says:


    Good enough to win period with or without all the excuses.

    1 winning season in college, 1 winning season in the pros. Your good with stats, you work that one out. Is he a winner? Not yet.

  28. BamBamBuc Says:

    I know, 1987. Which is why I keep bringing it up. Freeman could have a Pro Bowl year, set new team records over last year, be a top 5 QB in the league this year, but if the team goes 7-9 despite that… I wanna know if people think his head should still be on the chopping block? If they do, that’s fine, their opinion. I’ll just keep bringing it up. Banging your head against a brick wall only hurts if you’re not a Ninja Master… lol

  29. Chris Says:

    Bam bam,

    Do me a favor and pull up the opponents each and every opponent josh made a comeback against in each year ad tell me if they were a playoff threat?

    2010: Cleveland, Cincinnati Washington Arizona St. Louis
    2011: Minnesota
    2012: Carolina

    2009 against GB was the most impressive. The rest were not good teams. In fact terrible teams those years.

  30. Couch Fan Says:

    Freeman could have a Pro Bowl year, set new team records over last year, be a top 5 QB in the league this year, but if the team goes 7-9 despite that…


    Until he ever plays good enough to have a pro bowl year then your point is moot.

  31. Mean D Says:

    We haven’t even started preseason and the JFro six pack apologists have already laid out 1 million possible excuses or Freeman. Under pressure Freeman folds like a cheap tent. And we will still make the playoffs this year.

  32. Buc1987 Says:

    OMG it’s back and forth for 2 months on this crap. I say the same things. Couch says the same things. WestCoast, Chris, Buc’nJunkie, robert, realist, BamBam etc. I’d put Mean D down, but he does’nt count. I JUST CAN’T WAIT FOR THE DAMN SEASON TO START ALREADY SO WE CAN, NOT ONLY SEE WHO’S RIGHT AND WHO’S WRONG, BUT JUST HOW GOOD OUR TEAM IS!

  33. Buc1987 Says:

    Yes Mean D your right that’s all we’ve been doing all summer long is make up fake excuses for Freeman (sarcasm). Thanks again for your broken record analogy of the situation.

  34. BamBamBuc Says:

    Chris: And we didn’t contribute to those losing records on all 8 of those teams? What’s really funny is in 2010, the St Louis Rams were tied with the Seahawks for the division lead and lost out on the playoffs due to a tie break. At 7-9. The Seahawks made the playoffs at 7-9. If we hadn’t come from behind in that game, the Rams would have been the division winner in the NFC West and playoff bound with an 8-8 record. See how different that looks than just “losing record”? I’m not saying any of those teams we came from behind to beat were any good, but we were part of the reason they weren’t.

    If the defense had held last year, we should have had 3 more come from behind 4th quarter wins. Against the Skins, Falcons and Eagles. Two of those three were playoff teams. We did come from behind in the 4th to take the lead. The defense gave it away. The Bucs offense was capable of beating good teams last year, the defense wasn’t. Same holds true for early large leads against the Giants and Saints. Of course the Saints didn’t have a winning record, so they aren’t a good team, but the Giants were 9-7. If we held that lead, they would have been 8-8 and everyone could still say we can’t beat a team with a winning record, even though it was our win that made them 8-8 instead of 9-7. Of course, that didn’t happen, we lost both of those. Because the defense couldn’t hold a lead.

  35. BamBamBuc Says:

    Mean D: Do you know how hard it is to fold a cheap tent? The material is too thin and it doesn’t fold well at all. Get a good tent, with good material and it actually folds with nice creases, and rolls up nicely to store in the bag. You’d be just as well off not folding the cheap tent and just stuffing it in the bag.

  36. Buc1987 Says:

    @BamBam…I 2nd all of that.

  37. Buc1987 Says:

    I guess they don’t watch the same games as we do BamBam.

  38. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    Until he ever plays good enough to have a pro bowl year then your point is moot.

    Quarterback Josh Freeman, tight end Kellen Winslow and tackle Donald Penn were all named alternates for the NFC.

    A pro bowl is a pro bowl and he did play.

  39. BamBamBuc Says:

    Well, factually, he didn’t throw a pass in the game. He was an alternate, but Brees, Ryan, and Vick were the three NFC QBs that played that game. Sorry, but I’m all about getting it right. But, yes, he was an alternate already for a Pro Bowl.

    In all truthfulness, I couldn’t care less if he ever plays in the Pro Bowl. It’s a popularity contest with fans voting playing a significant role. I’m glad fans can see the players they want to see, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best players playing.

  40. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    Must be tripping then. I could of sworn I saw him on the field in that pro bowl.

    Agreed on the popularity contest though. Deserving players are snubbed every year.

  41. Chris Says:

    Bam bam explain to me the blowouts and poor performances against the saints steelers ravens and falcons twice in 2010. Please stop being a homer on this one. In 2010 the west was absolute garbage. To get in the playoffs at 7-9 is garbage. We beat 9 teams under .500 and the final win was against a saints team who rested starters in 2nd half.

    2012 yes the defense is bad but watching film on those games Philadelphia : josh was horrible the entire game minus one drive.

    Giants there is a solid argument however he threw a pick in into triple coverage in our own territory that sparked it.

    Washington at the end of the fiat half and 3rd qtr josh was bad to the point many called for orlovsky.

    In those games the defenses played bad at the end but you can’t exhaust them by having the offense not sustain drives or turning it over either. You explain it’s a team game. Offense has to help defense out and vise versa.

  42. SteveK Says:

    The Good: Pro bowl alternate 2010, 25TD/6INT in 2010,

    The Bad: Most INTs in last two years combined (39), having a 10 game losing streak (2011 after a 4-2 start), a 5 game losing streak (after a 6-4 start).

    Some Quotes of criticism:

    “He’s teetering.” Ronde Barber

    “Josh can drift a little bit.” Earnest Graham

    “He’s and Enigma.” Ron Jaworski

    The major point is that the Buccaneers are a team on the cusp of good things, provided the QB can step up CONSISTENTLY, without having stretches of multiple bad games.

    With that being said, Playoffs or Bust for JF5.

  43. BamBamBuc Says:

    Giants had the TOP advantage in the first half by about 7 minutes. 2nd half was pretty dead even, 15 minutes each. And we had the lead going into the 4th.

    Redskins game, we held TOP slightly in the first half, they had the ball much longer in the 2nd half than us. BUT…. in the 3rd quarter we each had 2 possessions. The Skins had 8 and 7 play drives (allowed by the defense after the half before they were “tired”) resulting in 10 minutes off the clock to our 2 drives of 5 plays each (not 3 and outs) lasting only 4+ minutes and including an 85 yard drive for a TD. Both Washington drives resulted in punts. In the 4th quarter, we had a TD and a FG to take the lead, won TOP 8 min. to 7 min. but a late FG allowed lost it for us.

    As for the end of the 2nd quarter, we had a 9 play, 3:20 drive resulting in a FG, held them to no score, went 3 and out and allowed them to drive into scoring range to miss a FG with no time left.

    Need any more details? I have all the games recorded. And all the play by play stats.

    As for the Eagles game, was Josh worse against their starters? Or was our D worse against a backup QB, backup RB, backup WRs, backup TE…..

  44. JKTampa Says:

    Freeman had 25 touchdowns and 8 interceptions through 13 games last year. He was brilliant in some games – 420 yards and 3 touchdowns in week 7 vs New Orleans; and he has had some very poor games – 4 interceptions in week 15 vs New Orleans. Yes, he has been inconsistent but some of that has to be attributable to learning a new system. I don’t believe judging Freeman in the Raheem Morris era is really fair because it was clear that the coaching was poor and the talent pool around him was shallow. I’m not saying he’s Peyton Manning but he’s also not Mark Sanchez. I think Freeman will progress being in the system for a second year and will have a great year. Now that we have a defense hopefully the Win/Loss column will be much better this year.

  45. BamBamBuc Says:

    I won’t even attribute it to being more consistent. Josh needs to improve some, yes. No doubt about it. But our pass defense was consistent, consistently bad. We need them to either become inconsistent with some real stellar games and figure Josh can win the rest… or we need them to do a complete 180 and become consistently good. You see, there’s more on this team that needs to improve. We can all see the efforts made to improve the other areas (like Revis, Banks, and Goldson in the secondary). Some areas we can’t see the improvement so much yet (Josh Freeman, the pass rush).

    But what I do know is if there is improvement in any of those areas, we should be a “winning” team, although maybe not a playoff team. If there is improvement in a couple areas, we should have a great shot at the playoffs. And if there is HUGE improvement in the secondary without much decline or maybe slight improvement anywhere else… it should bode well for us. You see, I want the Bucs to win just as much as anyone else, but I can see how several areas can be improved or maybe one area greatly improved and we’ll be good enough to compete with anyone. Some just think that Josh Freeman has to improve for us to make it there or we’ll have no chance. Thing is I’ve seen too many mediocre QBs in the Super Bowl in my time. I know teams can win without their QB improving or being THE guy. The Bucs are close and can win in many ways. That’s what I want, for them to win, no matter who has to improve to get it done.