Is Josh Freeman Too Bottled Up?

July 11th, 2013

josh freeman 0711

Now Joe doesn’t need to rehash how important this season is for Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman. If a Bucs fan isn’t aware of that by now, it’s time to go back to playing Rip Van Winkle and sleeping another two decades.

Joe does know last year Greg Schiano (and perhaps also offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan) put a kibosh on Freeman from running outside the pocket.Part of this was, naturally, to keep Freeman upright. Whatever chances the Bucs had at a postseason run would have been immediately flushed down the toilet with Dan Orlovsky behind center.

Another reason for Freeman being instructed to stay in the pocket at virtually all costs is Schiano believed that was one way to cut down on Freeman’s interceptions. Turnovers, in Schiano’s mind, are akin to the Ebola virus.

Football guru Greg Cosell seemed to hint that may not be a good thing for Freeman.

Cosell is a producer for NFL Films and there are few better guys not employed as coaches who break down Xs and Os. Also, Cosell personally works with “Jaws,” BSPN NFL analyst and former NFL quarterback Ron Jaworski. It is Jaws’ ranking of Freeman at No. 21 that has so many Bucs fans rankled and Cosell appeared with Joe’s good friend Justin Pawlowski of WHFS-FM 98.7 to discuss Jaws’ rankings.

In the process, Cosell may have unlocked the secret to Freeman’s success.

“For me, it goes back to his first full year as a starter when he had very good numbers,” Cosell said. “This is my world view of the quarterback position. In his first full year as a starter, he had 25 touchdowns and only six picks. At that point there was a sense that this kid was on his way to being elite. When I looked at that year carefully after the season, I thought many of his plays came off improvisation, came off movement.

“I am not suggesting that is a negative. It is very hard to be consistent playing that way because there is such a random and arbitrary element to that. We never talk about the plays that don’t work when quarterbacks move, we only talk about the plays that do work.

“I thought even in that first year he needed a lot of work as a consistent, precision pocket passer. And I think he has been very erratic in his development in that area.”

Cosell may have hit the nail on the head. The thing about Freeman was, when he was out of the pocket, Freeman was making plays both with his arm and his legs. Defenses not only had to defend receivers, they had to defend Freeman running on the outside. That spread defenses out a bit, which in turn may have created more holes for receivers.

Joe just wonders if Schiano and Sullivan would allow Freeman a bit more freedom, which might could loosen things up for Freeman, thereby creating more victories in the process.

58 Responses to “Is Josh Freeman Too Bottled Up?”

  1. Buc1987 Says:


  2. BucFanForever Says:

    sounds about right, Freeman should pull a Warren Sapp, and say I am going to make plays with my feet, it is why I am here

  3. Buc1987 Says:

    ^^^Your right, that’s what I’ve been whining about for the last 2 years.

  4. Buc'n Junkie Says:

    I agree, if you took away Cam Newtons ability to run. He would put up terrible numbers. It is his legs that allow him to force his will. In fact there are a few QB’s in the league that would suffer if you took away their ability to scramble or improvise. Wilson? RGIII? In the beginning that was another tool that Freeman had in his arsenal that made him dangerous. Now defense just pin back their ears and blitz without too much fear Josh will leave the pocket.

  5. Mike Says:

    Maybe he’s right – all I know is that there were a lot of times, running or standing in the pocket, where wide open elementary passes were missed. I say let the man do whatever the hell he wants to do, but he has got to start completing those passes expected of a high school quarterback, much less a professional.

  6. tampabaybucfan Says:

    In 2010 Freeman ranked 2nd behind Vick for QB rushing. There is a reason….Freeman can actually run…not the way RG3, Vick or Newton….but he can run.
    When Freeman is pressured he has choices.

    Throw to a reciever.
    Trow it away.
    Take a sack.

    When you take away the run in Freeman’s mind, he will force throws. Also because of our attack with Martin and our threat downfield there are running lanes that open up for Freeman.

    I have been saying this on many posts…Let him run Coach!!!

  7. Stevek Says:

    RG3 and Wilson a great passers. Their legs are an added bonus.

    Freeman needs to make “enough” plays this year, and lead the Bucs to the playoffs. I hope he can give me a 2010 performance: 25 to 6 TD/INT ratio. Freeman did have 8 INTs dropped in 2010 as wll, so maybe 2010 was a fluke. Freeman is too talented to not use his physicality.

  8. Macabee Says:

    A couple of months ago I wrote an opinion on JBF that suggested the same thing. I included a link to Freeman’s 2010 highlights which I watched as I penned my opinion. I nixed my final paragraph which suggested that Freeman and Schiano could not successfully co-exist. I now hold that opinion in abeyance as I take Schiano at his latest word that “Freeman is my QB”. Following is my original opinion sans the last paragraph (referring to his highlight tape).

    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.

  9. chris Says:

    People think Sciano was bottling Freeman up. When I watched him last year, it’s like he didn’t sense a rush. He bottled himself up. It wasn’t anyone else. Sometimes, I think he thought he had too long, he wasn’t aware of the pressure coming at him.

    Look, I still think Freeman ceiling is that of a Ben Roethlisbuerger. But he’s too streaky to get that recognition right now.

  10. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    Does anybody remember LINEBACKERS bouncing off of him running down the field in 2010? I do. The guy wasn’t incredibly fast but he was physical as hell. Even Brady and Brees run once in a while. It has to be an option. Make the defense account for the quarterback and the defense will loosen up. One five yard rush a game would be enough to make defenses at least think about it.

  11. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    Nothing like these good old comment filters. I will just say that I agree with the article.

  12. the_buc_realist Says:


    I see whats going on here. Tried to pull a fast one huh. Jfro-6pak, and all bottled up. Enough with all these drinking references. Can’t a man just have a cold one once in while,

  13. Mean D Says:

    Here we go. Yet MORE excuses for Freeman’s poor play that WCBF and gang can use.

  14. Brian D. Says:

    Exactly. Conversation over.

    I said since the day we brought this kid into town…try to make him be Peyton Manning and he will fail…but if you let him be Ben Roethlisberger, he will be at his best.

  15. ATLBucsFan Says:

    Freeman should use his legs as a last resort. Traditionally running QBs don’t last long. Even RGIII eventually went down. And who thinks Vick is a threat even when he runs? Escape when you have to but not as a part of the system. He’ll have to focus on accuracy and putting the ball into small windows. Only when the play begins to breakdown do I want to see him break loose and use his legs.

  16. Buc1987 Says:

    What we need is MORE Mean D comments. Like a broken record. Maybe he should copy, paste and save his one and only comment that he always posts. That way it would save him the trouble of having to re-type it over and over again.

  17. Capt. Tim Says:

    Another” stir up the stupid posters” article? Christ! Is there no end? Some of the especially ignorant ones must be foaming at the mouth by now!!

    And yeah- it was incredibly ignorant to take away Josh’s option to run! He does real damage to a defense when he utilizes his mobility. It opens up the field. It never made any sense to limit his runs, when he was so productive using the run when he first took over.

    That said- let the “clueless fool josh bashing party” begin. Thank God for you guys, you help keep my feelings of Superiority flowing! Lol

  18. Joe Says:

    Is there no end?


    Josh Freeman is BY FAR the most popular talking point for the Bucs entering 2013 and has been the most popular subject since Raheem Morris was coaching the Bucs.

  19. Eric Says:

    “since Raheem Morris was coaching”


    With all the crappy coaches we’ve had it was hard for the geniuses at one Buc Place to find the absolute worst of them all. Damned if they didn’t do it though.

  20. Buc1987 Says:

    LOL Eric remember Richard Williamson?

  21. Drew Says:

    Just don’t yell Run Forest Run to JFRO and he’ll be OK.

  22. lightningbuc Says:

    “Does anybody remember LINEBACKERS bouncing off of him running down the field in 2010? ”

    Oh boy, time for the hip waders, it’s gettin real deep in here now!

  23. SteveBucsFan Says:

    Maybe now since there is a better backup maybe Schiano will let JFro run.

  24. Andrew 1 Says:

    allowing Freeman to improvise a little bit with his running ability would definitely help him loosen up, however this coaching staff would never allow it. there ideal vision of a QB is a true pocket passer, so they are not going to cater to Freeman strengths. do you guys remember in the beginning of last season when a reporter asked Aqib Talib if they were going to change the defense to a more conservative approach since we were getting killed with our aggressive blitz happy approach? Talib said something to the affect of “No we are not going to change our defensive philosophy, we are going to play the same defense and make it work”. I believe this is what Schiano told him directly. so using that same, some might called it “stubborn”, logic I think they are going to force Freeman to play strictly as a pocket passer, and if it doesn’t work out they are going to replace him with someone who can. I would love nothing more than to see the coaching staff turn Freeman loose… but I just dont see it happening. for our sake I hope the coaches know what their doing.

  25. Buc1987 Says:

    Off topic but I figure this is a good place to get some suggestions sine Freeman posts tend attract people like magnets.

    I’m trying to come up with a massive sign for Sapp’s retirement, since the seats we have are pretty close to the field. It will be just about the only sign I’m going to make all season except for the August 8th pre-season game. So far I have. THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES and BEST DT EVER! Does anyone have anything else for me?

  26. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    I can confirm there is at least one play in ^this^ clip where Sean Weatherspoon, linebacker for the Falcons, runs right into Freeman and is tossed to the ground. It also just a good video in general for haters and “apologists” alike.

  27. Macabee Says:

    Andrew 1,

    That is exactly what I said in the last paragraph that I eliminated from my original post. I am skeptical too, but I take Schiano at his word when he backs Freeman. Time will tell, but you’re right, Schiano is a stubbornly principled man. He believes in what he believes!

  28. Andrew 1 Says:

    @ Buc1987

    lol thats cool idea. I would suggest something with the name QB KILLA in it since he uses it as his twitter name.

  29. Buc1987 Says:

    WestCoast…that video is bad ass. That’s what I’m taking about. Maybe Freeman needs to watch that video. Anyone have his e-mail address?lol

  30. Andrew 1 Says:

    @ Macabee

    it could be called ballsy, and in a way I guess it is. for what its worth I still have confidence that Schiano will make this a winning team again, no matter what happens to Freeman. I just hope Freeman sticks around.

  31. chris Says:

    It’s not the fact that Josh Freeman ran in 2010 compared to the last 2 years. It’s the fact that his pocket awareness in 2010 was very good and his escapability was excellent, which brought great hopes for a great future.

    The last 2 years, it’s like he’s uncomfortable. His pocket awareness has regressed. His accuracy and decision making. Even his ability to go through progressions.

  32. Buc1987 Says:

    Excuse #1 Greg Olson

  33. Capt. Tim Says:

    Lol, no kidding!!! I think you could just write a heading” Freeman”, and you’d get 50 post!

    And it’s the same on most team’s sites right now.

    Tis the season for the clueless to bash their QB!

  34. Bucnjim Says:

    Mean D either bring something intelligent to the conversation or keep it to yourself.

  35. Bucnjim Says:

    Your lack of football knowledge is lowering my IQ

  36. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Last year his oline was injured and the backups got some credit, but they were nowhere near consistant. The last game they were but they were playing against other backups.

    Also, I know people like comparing him to Big Ben but I think he’s more like an early Dante Culpepper. I remember the frustration of our defense being unable to stop him from running.

    Your repost. It seemed like you were describing a wild card gun slinger. Kind of like Favre. That may not have been your intent. I certainly don’t see hm that way.

    And I haven’t seen Freeman be consistantly good with short passes. He seems to use too much power at the cost of control with the short passes.

    I think he is more consistant with the long passes, especially down the sideline. He throws to the outside of where the wr is supposed to be. Several times we’ve seen WRs slow down to look back at the ball right after release. That throws of the timing.

    That should improve in the second year of the offense and with a stronger element of trust.

  37. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Don’t get me wrong…I’m not making excuses for Freeman. He needs to take control of the offense this year. Up until now he has beenp a pupil. Now he has to step up and take leadership.

    Regardless of what he’s told, he needs to play his way. I’m not saying ignore coaches. I’m saying he needs to show them why they are wrong if they are not letting him run.

    And as leader he needs to hold his team accountable. A WR runs the wrong route? Take him aside and straighten him out. A dropped pass? Tell them to fix it or get off the field.

    But also tell them when they do right. Coach them up.

  38. Bucnjim Says:

    Bonzai you have a point, but what no one understands is this isn’t NCAA football. Most of the time in the NFL the ball leaves the QB’s hands headed for a open window in the D. The WR depending on coverage is supposed to be in that opening. Whether he is there and open or he misses the call can make the QB look good or very bad. When the QB and WR are on the same page it can be a thing of beauty. When unsure of each other it can and will get ugly. Only time can get the QB and ALL the WR’s on the same page.

  39. Buc1987 Says:

    Oh season please get here soon. I really want to see my seats. Hell I just want to hold my season passes in my hand. That will get me through until August 8th. I’m dying ova here.

  40. Andrew 1 Says:

    lol Im sure most of us feel your pain. I know I do.

  41. Mean D Says:

    Josh Freeman could be caught on videotape raping dogs at One Buc Place and 4 idiots – WCBF, Capt Tim, Bucnjim, and Buc 1987 would present the tape as proof that some day Freeman will be an elite QB.

  42. Buc1987 Says:

    Tony Romo signs a 108 million dollar contract. That right there tells me that Freeman WILL be re-signed and Mean D will whine and whine about it. If the Bucs go 8-8 Freeman will be re-signed. So keep whining juvenile child. I swear Joe. You must make an age requirement to post on this site. You have to atleast be out of the 4th grade. His comments are so childish and add nothing of substance whenever he posts. The one thing I hate is when people throw out the race card on anything, but I’m starting to wonder about Mean D and Freeman. It’s either that or he’s a 9 year old child. I’ll just go with 9 year old child or is it that he was just not born with much common sense? I mean I’m still waiting on him to post something logical. I’d really like to be a fly on his wall when he sees the news after the 2013 season that Freeman re-signs. Then he can suffer another 4 or 5 more years with Freeman as the QB. Someday he may post something that makes sense? Maybe he should just not watch the games this year seeing how Freeman is going to have such a horrible season. If we have “excuses” for Freeman. Then what excuse does he have for being an idiot? Was he dropped on his head as a baby not once but 4 times? Mean D is an ENIGMA.

  43. Buc1987 Says:

    ….and with that from now on it’s just easier to ignore. I don’t need to figure him out. His comments speak for him just fine. Every time he comments, people read stupidity. It’s all there for everyone to read. Told you all we have some VERY dumb Buc fans out there. Here we have our very own at Every village has an idiot, and he’s ours.

  44. gotbbucs Says:

    I’ve been saying this about Freeman since the end of the season. Trying to force him to stay in the pocket is essentially forcing a square peg into a round hole. The only thing Freeman does consistently after he unnaturally forces himself to stay in the pocket is throw off his back foot. I’ve been pounding my fist on the table asking for more roll outs and naked boots and I hope I get to see them.
    I’m not much of a Freeman supporter at this point, but I sure hope in his contract year he just goes out and plays in a fashion that feels natural to him.

  45. scubog Says:

    Joe: About that Freeman moratorium.

  46. MTM Says:

    Great article on stating the obvious. You mean Freeman running the ball on 3rd downs was productive. I didn’t notice that(sarcasm).

  47. Bucfan Says:

    I don’t think anyone of you interpreted what Cossell said. He said that in 2010 Freeman’s success was the ability to buy time on broken plays and moving around te pocket. Also said that its good for the qb to have the ability to do that but they cannot consistently. Just like RG III and Wilson , qbs need to develop pocket presence and precision accuracy. Roethlisbuerger did it. Can josh?

  48. robert Says:

    a little late here, but i’ll play.

    yes jfro 6 pack Jackson did play better when he escaped the pocket and went on the fly.

    that being said if he LEARNED how to read a defense, went through his progressions and THEN made the choice to throw, throw it away or run he would be much better even than his best year. No one can tell me he could NOT run last year. There were plays where he could have, but took a sack. That’s on him! His inability to progress is the problem NOT them trying to make him a better QB.

  49. fritz50 Says:

    “Josh Freeman could be caught on videotape raping dogs ….”

    Free could lead the NFL in all catagories, take the team to and win the Super Bowl, and MeanD would still fiind tape that proves, conclusively ,that Free will never be an elite QB.

  50. Chris@Apple Says:

    Schiano has Freeman almost scared to make a mistake. I thought Freeman was much better, when turned loose.

  51. Bobby Says:

    I’ve always said that Freeman is better when he’s moving. That is absolutely right. It’s kind of like an aerial QB option. They have to account for Freeman’s ability to run and they have to cover the receivers. Not an easy thing to do. I understand Schiano’s concern for Freeman’s safety and especially when you have Saint’s players diving at the knees, etc. but it is a weapon that I think you have to utilize or at least give Freeman the green light if the opportunity presents itself to take off and run.

  52. mpmalloy Says:

    Only 51 comments?!

    Maybe the Freeman diatribe has finally jumped the shark?

    No worries. Pre-season is 3 weeks away and we’ll have plenty to discuss.

    i.e. Glennon’s performance in pre-season will
    set the bar for future Freeman rants.


  53. Buc1987 Says:

    i.e. Glennon’s performance in pre-season will
    set the bar for future Freeman rants.

    ^^^ soooo true mpmalloy



  54. Buc1987 Says:

    Quick someone send that youtube video to Schiano of Freeman throwing on the run.

  55. chris Says:

    Chris@Apple Says:
    July 12th, 2013 at 9:56 am
    Schiano has Freeman almost scared to make a mistake. I thought Freeman was much better, when turned loose.

    Shut up man. If Freeman cannot handle the mental toughness, that means he doesn’t belong anywhere. Part of his problem could be he was coddled by Raheem the Dream.

  56. Mean D Says:

    I think Buc1987 just types crap to see his own posts. Constantly repeating what others just said. He is clearly an Obama boy on food stamps and welfare with no job. As I have said repeatedly we will go to the playoffs this year regardless of how Freeman plays. He is still our worst skill position starter.

  57. Sneedy16 Says:

    @Mean D

    That was just an ignorant comment.

  58. Fixing the QBs: Josh Freeman, and the lag between potential and greatness | Audibles - Says:

    […] NFL Films, who produces Jaworski’s “NFL Matchup” show and did the same for the QB Countdown, had this to say about Freeman on Tampa […]