Slow Closer: Josh Freeman

July 1st, 2013

josh freeman 0701

It’s July and this is the month, with just over three weeks until the Bucs hold their first training camp practice, in which football fans are bombed with projections, predictions and why certain scribes think teams will stink and others will soar.

The numbers crunchers at are not exactly pulling a curvy Rachel Watson and leading cheers for the Bucs. The culprit for the Bucs’ demise, so types Patrick Daugherty, is that he believes Josh Freeman is a low-rung, signalcaller in the NFL.

Slow Closer: Josh Freeman

Coach Greg Schiano is holding Freeman’s feet to the fire this offseason, routinely putting him on blast while passing up multiple opportunities to guarantee him the starting job. Perhaps it’s because Freeman fell apart down the stretch in 2012, tossing 10 interceptions to only six touchdowns over Tampa’s final five games. Freeman averaged just 6.23 yards per attempt over his final 209 passes, which would have been the worst in the league if extrapolated over the entire season. That means Freeman must “prove it” in 2013, both to Schiano and fantasy owners.

Well, first off, the only fantasy Joe gives a damn about is the aforementioned buxom Ms. Watson showing up at Joe’s front door, shivering from a Florida summer downpour looking for warmth and comforting.

Let Joe repeat this again: There is no quarterback controversy. Freeman is the Bucs’ starter. Period. If fans want to debate Freeman’s merits or drawbacks, that’s a different animal. The braintrust at One Buc Palace unanimously calls Freeman the starting quarterback on opening day. Period. There is no debating this issue, short of Freeman getting injured.

Now does Freeman need to improve? Darn right he does. As Joe has also written, when the Bucs needed Freeman the most last year down the stretch, when a playoff berth was still in reach, Freeman vanished. That simply cannot happen again if Freeman expects to be franchised or re-signed by the Bucs. His 6-15 career record against winning teams doesn’t cut it in the NFL.

No. 5 has all the toys any NFL quarterback could ask for. Now it’s time to utilize those weapons. With a second season under Mike Sullivan and a second season with Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin, there is no reason not to expect Freeman to improve.

38 Responses to “Slow Closer: Josh Freeman”

  1. Raphael Says:

    Yeah it’s too bad he can’t play defense too ..

  2. stevek Says:

    ^^ Ok Raphael, whatever you and the Apologist Party have to say. 😉

    Prove it, show me, step up, wait and see: are all terms to categorize Josh Freeman.

    He is our undoubted starter going into the 2013 season, but your guess is as good as mine as to whether or not Freeman will be taking snaps for us in 2014 forward.

    The time is now, playoffs, and consistency. We will not pay a mediocre QB big bucks, sorry.

    “Best Buc Season by a QB ever”, doesn’t even hold water to Andy Dalton’s back to back playoff appearances.

    Is Freeman a Franchise QB? Wait and see….

  3. Buc'n Junkie Says:

    Freeman is in control of his own destiny and future huge paycheck.

  4. the_buc_realist Says:

    Sure Joe, we agree that Jfro-6pak is the starter, But that is why we finish 4th,3rd, 4th and 4th in the division.

  5. Freemanbomb5 Says:

    If Freeman got to throw to AJ Green and Jermaine Gresham plus had a top 10 defense he would probably have back to back playoff appearances.

    Freeman unquestionably needs to improve, however to say that he is below Andy Dalton in one on one quarterback talent is absurd!

  6. robert Says:

    funny all the jfro jock swingin jazzy jeff wanna be’s ….they B hatin on me when I bash jfro six pack…..

    yet every pundit in the league agrees with me.

    but we’re al stoopud. only the jfo nut huggin, cabby punchin, adderal poppin bandwagoneers know whats what. keep drinkin that kool aid.

    START GLENNON while we still have time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    give Glennon the 1st team reps! he’s gonna need them! I bet Schiano is in Glennon’s ear……. “hey boy, you better study up, you’ll be coming in after the by week”!!!!!

  7. Buc'n Junkie Says:

    Do you know what realist really means?

    It is a person who is a “closet” antagonistic pessimist. A person who always determines the future by using the past, instead of looking forward like most people. They pester the hell out of everyone from their constant negative view on any given subject.

    For example, I’m going to die when I’m somewhere in my 60’s cause all the men in my family has. Again using the past to guide their future. Lighten up and enjoy the hype now while you can. You can celebrate when the team fails later. But until then, let us optimist have our moment.

  8. Biff Barker Says:

    Interesting to see what Sully does with the play calling this season. We were too predictable at times last year but its fair to attribute some of that to the new system.
    The ability to spread the ball around will make every QB’s life easier. That’s pretty simple idea but how are we going get people besides DMart, VJAX and MW the ball?
    I’d love to see a heavy package, two TE’s w maybe Lorig and Leonard paired. Use our size to wear the D down. Nothing flashy just grind and move the chains stuff. Sets up the big play nicely.
    So, what does Sully do help his QB?

  9. Mean D Says:

    Go ahead. Roll out the excuses for Freeman because you Freeman Apologists just can’t accept the fact that he is an inconsistent, mediocre quarterback. Now Rotoworld says the same about your messiah so I am sure you will call them idiots too.

  10. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    First, I would like to say that the article being referenced is about fantasy football. I would also like to point out that boy wonder, Andy Dalton, was given the same “Slow Closer” classification in the referenced article.

    If Freeman matches his 2012 year with an improved defense then this is at least a 9-7 team.

    One more thing I would like to add . . . the Bucs were tied for second in the division last year. That is all.

  11. Meh Says:

    I’m on the fence on Freeman, but I have to take issue with this nonsense.

    Freeman averaged just 6.23 yards per attempt over his final 209 passes, which would have been the worst in the league if extrapolated over the entire season.

    And if we cherry pick his good games I bet he ends up best in the league. It is total jibberish either way. I am not a statistics-hater, but this is a complete garbage way of using stats.

  12. Biff Barker Says:

    Screw the pessimists, I’ve not been this excited about a Buccaneer season in the last 10 years.

  13. BamBamBuc Says:

    You all know I’ve been watching the games from last year over and over again. Looking for what improvements need to be made. So, I’ll give you a bit of insight as to what has really stood out to me recently.

    Does Josh Freeman need to improve? Absolutely. What does he need to work on specifically? Balls batted down at the line. Yep, that was a huge issue last year. He repeatedly threw balls that were batted down by D-linemen. Now, part of that is the O-line giving him passing lanes, but the other part is Free seeing those linemen and not trying to throw through them. He was successful a couple times, but he has to start using the lanes that are there better or he will continue to have this issue.

    Now, what I haven’t seen much of is the dreaded “he throws the ball in the dirt on short passes” or low throws where the receiver can’t run after the catch. Many of the passes where the receiver can’t run after the catch are comeback routes where the receiver is moving in the wrong direction (toward the line of scrimmage) or at a dead standstill. Many times this lead to a gain of 7 on 3rd and 8, or almost always coming up a yard or two short. Part of this is on the receiver for actually getting to the yard marker before stopping and turning.

    I also saw many dropped balls on short routes, not balls in the dirt or behind or over the receiver, balls thrown in the hands of the receiver that were simply dropped. Every receiver is guilty of this. Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, Tiquan Underwood, Dallas Clark, Doug Martin, etc. All of them dropped short passes in their hands or chest. I’m not sure if this was a fear of getting drilled by a LB or lack of concentration trying to run before making the catch, but it happened too frequently and needs corrected.

    Beyond that, the one thing that really stood out was “untimely penalties”, mainly on defense, but some on the offense as well. When we would get a stop on 3rd down, only to give up a first down on defensive holding, pass interference, roughing the QB, etc. it was amazing how many times the opponent finished the drive with a score. Now, I know these things happen, but it was far too often last year. Drive sustaining penalties by the D or drive killing penalties on the O. A beautiful screen pass to Martin gains 40+ yards, only to be called back on a holding penalty and the drive stalls.

    Clean up the penalties (especially in crucial situations), catch the ball, and better use of passing lanes should completely turn things around this year. More difficult to clean up, and only a minor issue was overthrows on long balls. Freeman missed by a yard or two on a few passes last year that were over 20 yards. Oh so close, but a hair too long. A touch more accuracy deep and we win more games.

    Just a few observances from the games last year.

  14. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    ^^^I would like to see some of the replies to this comment.

  15. chipbuc Says:

    Its time for everybody to give Freeman a break. People can down play the defenses role in the out come of last years games all they want,but the fact is Freeman had the team in position to win 4 games last year in the 4th quarter and the defense gave it up. So if the defense does its job we would not even be talking about this tired subject!!!!!

  16. Biff Barker Says:

    @ Bam
    Nice write up. Thanks. I had forgotten about all the batted balls and shortened routes.
    Frustrating to watch a player who excelled moving around in the pocket as a rookie, not use his feet to find a clear passing lane or extend the play.
    In fairness, we did have some challenges with the OL in the second half of the season, but still, the decision making must improve.

  17. BamBamBuc Says:


    While correct in that there were times Free needed to move out and create the lane himself, what you’ll also notice is that sometimes it was simply the play call and the O-line play.

    For example, go back to the Vikings game. I think it was Robinson? LDE for the Vikings that batted down 3 balls in that game. At least two of those were 3 step drop, quick slant routes, where the RT is supposed to cut the DE to keep him down. Dotson completely whiffed once, and the second he was unable to get him down enough to bring his hands down. That’s just one example of the O-line needing to create the lane. The play design calls for a quick pass, no decision making, just get the ball out to the WR quickly and let them run. Can’t loft the ball over the DE, it’ll get picked off and returned for 6.

    That’s just one example. There are others where the interior line (makeshift at the time) allowed too much push up the middle and Free had no escape to the outside. Another, from the same game is a screen pass to Ware. Ware is supposed to chip Jared Allen on his way out for the screen. Ware misses, Freeman has to get rid of it quicker than normal, Allen bats down the pass. Many things have to happen for a play to be successful. A missed block can wreak havoc. These are things the coaching staff must clean up, as well as the penalties.

  18. stevek Says:

    Playoffs or bust for #5.

    This is a playoff roster, no excuse for the Bucs to not be in the post season.

  19. Mike J Says:

    On the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ third-round pick, North Carolina State QB Mike Glennon: “Quite frankly, Josh Freeman is on the clock. Freeman needs to have a very good season, or Mike Glennon will get a very legitimate chance to be the starter, and could be the starter in 2014. Everybody seems to be concerned about quarterbacks who at times throw into coverage, and I’m obviously not suggesting that it’s a good thing, but I like quarterbacks who are willing to pull the trigger on tight window throws. Sometimes when you do that, you don’t get it in there. And you know what? That’s okay. If you do it all the time, that’s not good. But in the NFL, there are four or five throws in every game that are difficult throws, and you have to be willing to pull the trigger and throw balls when it appears that your receivers are covered. Mike Glennon is willing to do that, and he can sit on his back foot and throw the ball effectively.”

  20. stevek Says:

    A 6’5” QB should not have that many balls batted down.

    Hone in the mechanics, focus, and put the potential to good use.

    This year is all on Freeman. He stays with us if he gets it all together. If he folds/slumps/drops off the face of the earth, then put in the Rookie…

  21. stevek Says:

    Bam Bam,

    Freeman often times stares down receivers, and shows the inability to work a Defense with his eyes. We need to see more of that this year. Freeman is in a position of playoff football, or walk.

    He slumped terribly last year, and it was inexcusable. He just lost focus, and that can not happen from a Franchise QB, no sir.

  22. robert Says:

    START GLENNON!!!!!!!!

    where’s the font button? I need to write that bigger!

  23. BamBamBuc Says:


    First, I’m not sure you’re getting the entire picture. A significant number of batted balls were due to a combination of the play call and a failure in the blocking. The rest are on Freeman and shouldn’t happen as often, you are correct in that.

    As for staring down receivers, or “working the defense with his eyes”, again, I think you are correct to a degree, and hopefully they can improve that. However, I do think that a combination of coaching and play-call help with that as much as anything. For example, if the play-call is a quick 3 step slant route, there’s really no time to “look off” the receiver. Also, the coaches need to work with the “strengths” of the QB. If this means using play action more, or bootleg/roll out passes more, then that’s what the coaches need to do. Freeman had the most success when using play-action pass, as he turns his back to the defense and has no chance to stare down a receiver. This is proper usage of a QB that has difficulty “looking off” a receiver. Not every QB is strong in every aspect of the game. Jeff Garcia was too small to be a pocket QB, and had difficulty with throwing lanes because of his size, yet when allowed to roll out or scramble he had great success. But Drew Brees excels in the pocket because of his ability to read defenses and “look off” defenders, despite his smaller size for a QB. Coaching, play-call, and execution are all determining factors here.

    Yes, Freeman did “slump” towards the end of the year last year, and it is inexcusable. Of course, the entire team slumped. The defense failed to force turnovers in the last 6 weeks like they did in the first 10. The O-line failed to block as well in the last 6 weeks, as evidenced by fewer rushing yards per game over that span and more sacks/QB pressures. Drops continued to be an issue in that 6 week span, with Underwood being a big disappointment in that area after having been decent in October. And, on the coaching side, the overall “aggression” of the team seemed to fade down the stretch. Remember the fire and controversy early in the season with the kneel down plays? Remember Barron picking RGIII up and slamming him to the ground WWE style? Yeah, then watch the last 6 weeks, that aggression went missing somehow. That I put on the coaches.

  24. robert Says:

    often times stared down receivers….lol

    unless Vjax was double covered he never took his eyes off him.

  25. BamBamBuc Says:

    Quite funny, robert. Especially considering that Mike Williams had a pretty productive year. As impressed with Vincent Jackson as I was, Williams was equally impressive. He tended to hold onto the ball better last year than he did the previous two years, fewer drops, really went up and fought for the ball like he did two years ago. If Free was always looking at Jackson, he was pretty pinpoint accurate throwing blindly to a WR on the other side of the field. Actually, considering the low completion % of Freeman, I’m kind of surprised because I really saw a lot of pinpoint accurate throws from him last year. Sure, he was off by a yard or two on a few long balls, and there were a lot of throwaways when nobody was open or pressure got in too quickly, but Freeman actually put the ball on target a lot last year. Go back and watch the games again. Look at the pass plays specifically, fast forward everything else, just watch the pass plays. You’ll see the throwaways vs the drops vs the accurate passes. Were some catches acrobatic? Yeah, but look where the defenders were on those. I think many of you will be surprise at what you see.

  26. Buc1987 Says:

    @BamBam…I posted on another thread. That though I support Freeman, it’s all the damn batted balls at the line that pisses me off. It was not only last season either. It is a flat out joke that a 6’5 QB would have so many batted balls. And I might add what happened to Freeman running for yardage?
    I know he’s not the fastest QB in the NFL, but he used to run quite a bit more than did last season…and succesfully.

    Freeman’s rushing stats
    2010 68 attempts for 364 yrds 5.4 avg. 0 TD’s
    2011 55 attempts for 238 yrds 3.8 avg. 4 TD’s
    2012 39 attempts for 139 yrds 3.6 avg. 0 TD’s

  27. Bucky23 Says:

    I will be the first to admit when I am wrong and if Freeman plays terrible this year and we miss the playoffs then I will be one of the first ones on here to say that I was wrong. Freeman is good enough to take us to the playoffs in my opinoin. Some of you guys are honestly kinda funny. Who in the world would you rather us play at QB? Glennon? funny. Seems like the only way you would all be satisfied is if we traded for Aaron Rodgers. This is going to a really fun year for Buccaneer fans. Is it possible that we can/will miss the playoffs? Yes, but we have the talent to play with any team in the NFL and that is going to make for a fun season. Just enjoy the ride and support your team.

  28. robert Says:

    I would be happy having Orlovsky or Glennon start over Freeman……because I know jfo will fold about week 8 when it matters most.

    Maybe it’s the thanksgiving gravy or the holiday keg parties, but man boy will fold like a lawn chair. even if we start one of those guys and go 4 and 4 we’ll know they’ll show up come game day and we have a shot @ making the playoffs. jfro will be 6-2 or 5-3 and be hitting ybor and waffle house and then go 2-6…facepalm!

  29. Raphael Says:

    @ Robert ….your a 13 yr old retard

  30. robert Says:

    jfro is the next mark sanchez. write it down.

  31. robert Says:

    on a positive note I did draft him in my FF team last year, and I sold high right before he tanked 🙂

    sucker born every day!

    and he does pretty well on madden, I just have to start the 4 fastest WR’s and throw hail Mary’s all day.

  32. Tiny tim Says:

    Lets see………How many teams total make the playoffs? Twelve. What was the bucs offensive rank last year? Ninth. How many points did they average per game? 24 and that is with a shut out on the record. What was the defensive rank? 31?? That tells me all I need to know about why this team has not made the playoffs.

    @Bam Bam, good points you brought up. The sad thing is you are dealing with people who’s heads can only hold 3 marbles and so help you God if you try to squeeze in a fourth in there because its not going to happen. Save your analysis for those who can read your points logically and objectively. You are wasting your time with some of these QB “experts”

  33. erk Says:

    How many games were lost by our secondary last season?

  34. mpmalloy Says:

    Lol @ all the Freeman hysteria.

    Well…..Schiano is the real deal:
    He took out the trash and gave us (knock on wood)
    a team that we can respect in out community.
    Buccaneer men.

    …and the great white whale that they said was just a myth:
    TRUE competition at the QB position. Freeman will respond.
    It’s fight or flight , baby!

  35. Buc1987 Says:

    Some hate em…some like him…and some love him. I know one thing whoever is wrong on these threads allllllll summer long about Freeman. Is going to eat some crow. Who those names will be we all have to wait and see through the season. I’m in the like category and have a crow in the freezer on ice. Once again I repeat. Josh Freeman is better than Brad Johnson.

  36. Tiny Tim Says:

    I don’t think anybody that is supporting Jfree is saying or believing he is the best QB in the league. All we are saying is he is plenty good enough to be in the playoffs. Those who dislike freeman thinks he is a bumb and needs to go and that is just wrong on many accounts.

    Funny, many in the media (just like the dopes who wrote this article), fans around the nfl and fans of the ravens all were saying this time last year that Flacco didn’t have it in him. And before all you hacks come on here and say do not compare Free to a SB winning QB, read what I am saying. They all said Flacco couldn’t do it and that is with playoff wins under his belt. That goes to show you what all these QB “experts” really know.

  37. Mean D Says:

    We will make the playoffs despite our mediocre QB.

  38. scubog Says:

    And on and on it goes.