Josh Freeman Thrives Under Pressure?

Last week Pro Football Focus showed that Josh Freeman was the 2nd-most pressured quarterback in the NFL, just behind Jay Cutler. Now they've also put out some numbers to illuminate how well he did when pressured. Turns out that Freeman did pretty well compared to league average. He completed 50% of his passes when blitzed, which was 12th in the league, but his touchdown-to-interception ratio when pressured was 3rd best in the league behind only Matt Ryan and Tom Brady. Pro Football focus also graded him as the 5th best quarterback under pressure, and he had a 79.4 quarterback rating when under pressure. 

I don't put a lot of stock in Pro Football Focus' grades, in my mind any grading system that had Matt Ryan as the best quarterback last season is flawed. Not to mention that I don't agree with the process of grading players on every play based on game footage anyway. But the statistics they provide are interesting and worthwhile, especially so because you can compare them to the rest of the league. 

I have a couple more numbers for Josh Freeman under pressure, though. One piece of data missing from Pro Football Focus' method is how well Freeman did overall on a per play basis, and how that compared to his regular form. According to my own numbers, over the course of the season he gained 6.3 net yards per play. That means I incorporated all his passes, sacks, sack yardage and scrambles. But when he was pressured this number plummeted to 5.1 yards per play, which seems much worse.

Unfortunately I don't have the league-wide numbers, but I can compare Freeman's numbers to the Bucs' opponents' numbers.  They had a net yards per play of 5.63 overall, which plummeted to 3.2 yards per play when under pressure. Both in absolute and relative terms Freeman's opponents did much worse under pressure than he did. Josh Freeman didn't thrive under pressure - he clearly did worse when pressured than when not pressured. But compared to the rest of the league, for as far as I can see anyway, he did pretty well. Especially so for a 2nd-year player. 

By the way, Pro Football Focus' blitz numbers may explain why Josh Freeman was pressured so often - he was the 8th most blitzed quarterback in the league

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