Make no mistake about the intent of this article. Josh Johnson did nothing to lose the game to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. Johnson does not play DT to stop the running plays on the final drive. Johnson does not play kicker, to take a ball snapped terribly, but still managed to get down and in place, and kick it short on an attempt less than 50 yards. Andrus should get another chance to be sure. Everything I've heard about him is he is going to be an excellent kicker. Johnson does play quarterback however, who's main job is to lead the team, and throw the ball. Johnson has all the tools to be a leader, and he is fun and amazing to watch run. But Josh Johnson regressed a bit in his ever so short three game career, and hesitated too much in throwing the ball downfield.
We don't know if receivers were not getting open, but we do know that wasn't the problem in Washington when we asked the same questions. 10 million dollar a year Wide Receiver Antonio Bryant caught only 2 balls, and only three balls were thrown his way. That is too little. Only 17 balls thrown all together. That is too few as well. It feels like we passed the ball too much, and did not ran enough. The truth is, we did not do anything on offense enough, because we did not have the ball. But doesn't that fall on the quarterback too? You keep the ball when you convert 3rd downs.
The common feeling is that the Bucs will give Josh Freeman a chance to start in the Green Bay game after a bye week to prepare him. But wouldn't that time be just as well served showing Freeman game film of his mistakes or good plays so he can go into that Green Bay game more prepared?
The time to start Josh Freeman is now. Jeff Faineis back, and the Line protected well, similar to how it did the first week of the season when Faine last started.
As a coach, Raheem Morris presented Freeman to the Bucs to consider, and as a group the Bucs OK'ed the move to pick the Kansas State product, who was considered one of the three best quarterback prospects coming out of college last year. The other two, Mark Sanchez of the Jets and Mathew Stafford of Detroit are showing promise as rookies. Morris was quoted as saying he felt Freeman was better than Sanchez; well this is the time to show us you were right. To be honest, Morris' job may sink or swim on Freeman's performance. If he starts, and totally flops, Morris has stuck his reputation to him, and a two, one or NO win season could cost him. He also could save his job should Freeman play like the Mr. Franchise he is supposed to be.
We've been told Freeman is not quite ready before, but we saw him in the preseason, and he was raw, but no more so than Johnson really. To be honest, Luke McCown didn't play much better, so putting Freeman in with the time he has had lately to practice with the starting unit, and with the better talent around him, is needed to pump some life into the franchise. After all, Freeman IS the franchise right?
Bucs fans are only clinging onto one thing..the knowledge that this team is growing and learning because they are young. Bucs fans want to have hope, and there is no better hope than the Franchise Quarterback playing in the last ten games and putting down film to work on in the off-season, so when he starts in 2010, he is not a virtual rookie like Johnson this year.
We put up with Dilfer's terrible decision making, and Vinny's 35 interceptions. Trust me, Bucs fans will be just fine on a Quarterback we understand is there to stay and there to grow. The same is not true for a late round draft pick while the future is sitting on the bench.