Josh Freeman has been the talk of the town the past weeks. His inconsistent play has been maddening, and his inaccuracy and failure to throw the ball down the field have led many Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans to write him off. Yet it's been my view that it's much too early to do that, as Freeman has shown enough throughout his career to be confident that he can bounce back.
In his quarterback rankings, Ron Jaworski noted the same problem (behind a pay wall). Freeman just isn't there yet as a quarterback, and his play so far this year has been unacceptable. But he does have talent, and it may just be a matter of time before he takes the next step.
Freeman's drop is a product of inconsistency. At times, my guys in the film room and I will see him make a throw that just wows you. Other times, you wonder where the heck he was trying to throw the ball at all. Sometimes we want to elevate a guy to Canton before he's ready, and that could be the case with Freeman. The physical talent is all there and I think it's just a matter of time before it comes together, but he has to eliminate those head-scratchers.
Similarly, Greg Cosell noted in last week's film notes at Fantasy Guru (also behind a pay wall) that Freeman seemed 'more aware and less frenetic' - yet is 'still struggling with timing on intermediate throws', 'struggling with ball location', possibly 'guessing re: reading coverage', 'struggling with recognition and reads' - and yet he's still an incredibly talented passer who 'teases you'.
The question isn't whether Josh Freeman can do all the things required of a quarterback. The question is whether he can do them consistently, and whether we can trust that he'll improve. I think we saw some improvement last game, but he's far from good enough at this point. Is it time to say goodbye to Freeman if he doesn't improve by season's end, or does he deserve more time to develop? Keep in mind that no quarterback is a finished product in his fourth year in the league, especially so at age 24, and many quarterbacks have gone on to do significantly better in later seasons. Yet many others have simply busted out after four (or fewer) poor seasons. Where will Freeman fall?