The Future's Picks: Examining Freeman's 2009 Interceptions Part III

In the previous two posts in this series (here and here) I looked at the first 12 interceptions Freeman threw last year, so naturally I'll look at the final six in this post. Initially Freeman's interceptions were only in part his fault, more frequently they could be blamed on the receiver. However, the second set of interceptions were almost entirely his fault though, and especially the 5 interceptions against the Panthers looked really bad. So, does the pattern continue and do we see him actually get worse over his final games, or does he return to his earlier form? Let's see.

#13: Week 14: New York Jets

Situation: Down 26-3, 1st and 10 at the Bucs 45-yard line. 4:15 left in the 4th quarter.

Personnel: 3WR, 1TE, 1RB

Play: Freeman takes the shotgun snap, receivers go down field, RB stays in to block. Freeman throws deep to Stovall, but the ball is overthrown and Kerry Rhodes has an easy pick. 

Analysis: The game basically over, Freeman has to push the ball down the field quickly. Stovall was ahead of his man and could've been in position to catch a ball. However, Freeman likely missed Kerry Rhodes being in position to make a play on the ball from the middle of the field. It's tough to say if this was a bad decision: the window was really tight, but Freeman has to make something happen at this point and he's giving Stovall a chance to go up and make a play on the ball. Unfortunately, Freeman doesn't help Stovall by overthrowing the ball, and all Kerry Rhodes has to do is be where he is supposed to be to get the pick. Stovall should've done a better job tracking and adjusting to the ball to interfere with Kerry Rhodes' interception. 

 

#14: Week 15: @Seattle Seahawks

 

Situation: Tied 0-0, 3rd and 6 from the Seahawks 40-yard line. 11:37 left in the first quarter.

Personnel: 3WR, 1TE, 1RB

Play: Freeman takes the shotgun snap, RB stays in to block. RB picks up a blitzer for half a second, but the blitzer gets by him and Freeman lets go of the ball with a defender hanging on him. He throws it over the middle to Sammie Stroughter, but the ball is overthrown and Deon Grant gets the easy pick. 

Analysis: Stroughter was running in traffic, but there was a window there. The problem here was that Freeman overthrew the ball, probably caused in part by having a defender draped all over him. So: decent decision, I don't mind him throwing it to Sammie there instead of taking the sack, but the throw was really bad. 

 

 

 

#15: Week 16: @New Orleans Saints

Situation: Down 7-0, 1st and 10 at the Saints 44-yard line. 4:50 left in the first quarter.

Personnel: 3WR, 2TE

Play: Freeman takes the shotgun snap, receivers and tight ends go out on routes. The pocket stays clean as the Saints only rush 3, Freeman lets the ball go over the middle to Antonio Bryant, but Antonio Bryant stops his route and Darren Sharper has an easy interception

Analysis: As the play ends you can see Freeman screaming at Antonio Bryant, and for good reason. The only reason this ball is picked off is that Antonio Bryant doesn't finish his route. Bryant ran a 10-yard dig/crossing route but stops his route just as the ball leaves Freeman's hands, who was expecting Bryant to continue on his route. Now, this could be Freeman's fault if he was wrong on what route was supposed to be run, but given the way Freeman and Bryant react after the play that seems very unlikely. 

 

 

 

#16: Week 16: @New Orleans Saints

Situation: Down 3-17, 2nd and 3 from the Saints 12-yard line. 7:50 left in the third quarter. 

Personnel: 2WR, 1TE, 2RB

Play: Freeman under center, takes the snap, as the receivers, the tight end and one RB go out on patterns. Pressure on Freeman as he throws the ball on a fade route to Bryant in the end zone, but Bryant fails to make a play on the ball as Tracy Porter picks him off. 

Analysis: Freeman lofts it up to Bryant, but Bryant can't make a play on the ball and isn't aggressive to get to the ball. Throwing the ball to your #1 receiver in a 1-on-1 matchup on a fade route is a routine play, and Bryant should at least be there to break up the interception - in my opinion he does a poor job of fighting for the ball and tracking it in the air. However, the ball was underthrown somewhat and the commentators note that had it been thrown deeper into the corner of the end zone Bryant could've gotten behind Porter to make the catch. I don't agree with that, though, as the only reason Porter stopped running was that he saw the ball coming. I'm blaming this on Bryant's failure to adjust and fight for the ball in the air - this is the kind of catch you saw Benn make twice against the Texans last night. 

 

 

 

#17: Week 17: Atlanta Falcons

Situation: Tied 10-10, 1st&10 at the Bucs 45-yard line. 10:09 left in the 4th quarter.

Personnel: 2WR, 1TE, 2RB

Play: Freeman takes the snap under center as the receivers go out on routes, play fake to Cadillac who drops off as an underneath receiver. TE Kellen Winslow stays in to block early but leaks out a bit later as an underneath option. Freeman rolls to his right, and throws the ball just before he gets hit to Stovall, who is covered by about 5 Falcons as the ball gets picked off by Chris Owens.

Analysis: This is just a terrible decision by Freeman. Stovall has no chance at all here and there are a lot of white shirts around the ball. This ball should never have been thrown, instead Freeman probably should've chucked it out of bounds or gotten it to Kellen Winslow who could've gotten a couple yards. 

 

 

 

#18: Week 17: Atlanta Falcons

Situation: Down 17-10, 1st and 10 from the Atlanta 35-yard line. 4:24 left in the 4th quarter.

Personnel: 2WR, 1TE, 2RB

Play: Freeman takes the snap under center as the receivers go out on routes, play fake to Cadillac who stays in to block, as does the TE. He sees Antonio Bryant 1-on-1 deep down the left sideline and throws it to his inside shoulder. However, Brent Grimes is tracking Bryant step for step, has inside leverage and wins the battle for the ball. 

Analysis: Antonio Bryant has little chance to get to the ball, as the ball was thrown to the wrong spot. Had it been thrown outside he could've made a good play on it, now he has no real shot to get to the ball. Good decision by Freeman to test the 1-on-1 matchup, but the ball is poorly placed. 

 

 

So, this set of interceptions tells a different story: a few caused by Freeman, a few caused by receivers. Next week I'll recap and take a look at the whole group interceptions, and see if there are any tendencies that stand out.

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