Sure, Josh Freeman has not been elite, but should he be at this point? Lost in the shuffle of this debacle is the fact that he is 25 year old kid with prototypical size and a rocket arm with four seasons of NFL football under his belt. He is only two years older than the rookie we are about to throw into the fire. Many NFL quarterbacks are just starting their careers at his age. Looking at it objectively, would anyone not believe his best years are ahead of him? Take for example the quarterback we will face today; Carson Palmer. The now 33 year old Palmer has thrown 35 touchdowns and 30 picks over the last two years. At the age of 24 (same age as Josh in his last full season) he threw 18 touchdowns to 18 picks for 2,897 yards. This is the solution to our quarterback problems? 34 year-old Drew Brees threw for 11 touchdowns and 15 interceptions through 11 weeks when he was 24 (third year in the league) and was then benched in favor of Doug Flutie. At that point in his career, Brees had amassed 29 touchdowns to 31 picks. At the age of 24, Ben Roethlisberger (third year in the league) threw 18 Touchdowns to 23 picks. Brett Favre turned in a 19 touchdown 24 pick season at the age of 24. To this point in his career, Favre had amassed 37 touchdowns to 37 picks (33 games). Have you ever had a look at Elway’s stats by year? The "elites" at quarterback are all pretty much well into their thirties (Manning 37, Brady 36, Brees 34, Rogers, the exception, is 29). Did you see the horrid starts that many of the better quarterbacks had through three games this year? Kaepernick? Eli Manning? Brady (by his standards)?
You want a game manager? If anything Freeman was the ultimate game manager so far this year. In the first two games he walked off the field after putting his team in a position to win with seconds left, and you know the rest. In game three, he repeatedly drove the team down the field only to have drops and a missed field goal kill the drives. Is Schiano really the "river boat gambler", going for it on fourth down inside the forty four times? Or was he scared to run the kicker out there again? Strange that he "had the kicker’s back" again this week and we weren’t trying to find his replacement.
I can recall many times over the years watching Josh drive the team down the field at the end of a game for what would seem like a win, only to watch the defense give it up. Am I the only one that remembers how wretched our defense was over the years (especially last year)? The Giants game, the Redskins game, New Orleans part I, Falcons part I, or the Eagles nightmare?
It also seems strange that we have just faced three of the better defenses, and teams for that matter, in the league. Now that we have some bad defenses coming up on the schedule, you switch quarterbacks? Does that make any sense? Last year, the Bucs limped into the bye week in week five at 1-3. The three losses were also "heartbreakers" to the Giants, Cowboys and Redskins. It also felt like we let a few "slip away". To that point, Josh had played pretty well, but wasn’t lighting the world on fire. Coming out of the bye week, over the next six games, Freeman threw 24 touchdowns to 3 picks, as the Bucs won five out of six. The lone exception being a loss to the Saints where Josh threw for 420 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. Then the Bucs lost three heartbreakers; first to a then 9–1 Falcons team, then a Denver team hitting its stride with Manning, not to be out done by the Eagles loss. He still proved to be a good "game manager" throwing 4 touchdowns to 1 pick, and regularly driving the team for scores (67 points over the three games). I admit he did lay an egg in the next two games, throwing eight picks to 1 touchdown, and in the process ruining his stat line for the year (26-11 would have looked a lot more "game manager" than 27-17). Don’t you think he felt like he needed to score on every drive at that point to get a win? That defense wasn’t going to stop anyone! The Saints could have scored 60 if they wanted to. My question is, is there any reason not to believe he could come out of the bye week on fire this year? Is there really not enough of a track record to think he will be successful in this league? How would last year have turned out if our defense was just a little bit better? Could it not be the coaching? Rivers suddenly looks awesome after an average career under Norv Turner. Brees didn’t hit his stride until he teamed up with Sean Payton. Do you realize that our quarterbacks coach, McNulty, yet another Rutgers crony, coached quarterbacks for the Cardinals last year? I assume it was the impressive job he did with Skelton, Hoyer, Kolb & Lindley that got him the Bucs job? Our offensive scheme seems to be "go deep" and "just get open", and I also love "who needs a tight end"? Josh ‘s record as quarterback over the last 9 games might be 1-8, but was it not really some horrific defense, copious amounts of untimely penalties, drops, bad kicking game, and poor coaching schemes on both sides of the ball that lost the majority of those games?
Imagine it is draft day 2013, and your team is exactly the same and "Mr. Toes on the Line" decides to commit to Freeman and had not banished Talib, Blount and Winslow from the roster. Need a first round quality corner? Check! Your secondary is possibly legendary with Revis and Talib roaming the secondary (no need to get a cornerback at pick 2). Running back depth on the cheap? Check! 1,007 yards in 2010 in 13 games for Blount who obviously also found his way into Schiano’s dog house and disappeared last year. No need to waste a 6th on a running back. Need an aging but athletic tight end who can roam the middle and make a tough catch when you need it? Check! 75 receptions for 763 yards and two touchdowns for the Bucs in 2010. He definitely found his way into Schiano’s doghouse!! Now instead of drafting a cornerback at two, a running back at six, a quarterback at three, and a bunch of developmental reaches in between, you could get, say, maybe a high-level defensive lineman, a kicker in the later rounds, a third receiver somewhere at the top…. I get the whole "clean the place up" thing, but this kind of talent doesn’t grow on trees!! Also seems kind of "fishy" (here comes the conspiracy theory) that the only friend he seems to have in the league, Bill Belichick, has been more than happy to take these players off his hands for virtually nothing in return! Is this part of some crazy scheme they hatched to purge talent from our roster and basically give it to the Pats?! Are these joint practices really scouting sessions for Belichick to scope out the players he wants to nab? Would it be a surprise to see Josh end up in New England? Followed by a cushy assistant job for "Toes on the Line" when he gets fired from Tampa?! How do you let some middling college coach take control of your team and unload all of this talent? Are the owners paying any attention? Because, who needs a first round corner and tight end or a 1,000 yard rusher these days?!
Does Ogletree have pictures of somebody? How is this guy still in the league?
Does Mike Williams not look like he has been a step slow and possibly "nicked up" all season?
Does anyone by into the "scanning the field" and "going through his progressions" speak? Did anyone else see "Lord Brady" locking onto his receivers numerous times while others were running free behind the defense last week? Progressions much?
Will you ever have a "franchise" quarterback if you never commit to developing one? Is it true that no Bucs quarterback has ever made it to his second contract?
I am a life-long Bucs fan and a season ticket holder. I wish Glennon the best of luck and hope we win out this year. But I firmly believe that the longer we let this coach control this team, the longer it will take us to recover from the damage he will have done. In my humble opinion, he is in way over his head. I would also hate to see another potentially great Buccaneer quarterback win yet another Super Bowl with some other team while we are still looking for our "franchise" quarterback.