Do you feel like you’ve heard enough about QB Josh Freeman from every possible source? K-State Fans, NFL Draft Experts, Message Boards, Blogs, and your buddies at work, you name it. How about from Josh himself? The Bucs introduced him to the media this week and he had a lot of interesting things to say:
Freeman on all of the unwarranted criticisms
"I’ve heard a lot of different things – I’m not very accurate, I have bad feet and I don’t know how to read coverages – things that people couldn’t possibly know. The critics in the media obviously have to say something because they have to have a take on everybody. I would probably say that the main criticism that didn’t make any sense to me was leadership. I’m more of a laid back-type of leader to the extent that I am not going to be jumping up and down and getting in everybody’s face. At the same time I feel like I exude confidence and my teammates can really feed off of that. So even though I am not jumping up and down and acting crazy I can still lead." - per the Pewter Report
To be honest the criticisms are warranted. People think he’s inaccurate because they see that completion percentage and those interceptions. They don’t think he’s a leader because the best he could do in the three years he was there was a seven win season, as a freshman. Although the criticisms are warranted they are a bit overboard. In terms of the interceptions he improved upon them each season, which speaks volumes of his ability to read coverages and make the necessary adjustments. People point to the threshold of a 60% career completion percentage for college Quarterbacks and that being the wholly grail to either pass or fail in the NFL. The guy’s career completion percentage was 59.1%. When he had an adequate receiver in Green Bay’s Jordy Nelson it was 63.3%. Receivers dropping the ball or running the wrong routes have obviously took a toll on his career completion percentage. It would be different if he had talent around him and he still posted the same percentage. His sophomore season debunks that theory.
Freeman on the backlash from the Bucs Fan base
"I anticipated it. You know, being from Kansas State and not having the national exposure. When Ben Roethlisberger was drafted, it was ‘Ben Roethlis-who?' I’m from a smaller school and we didn’t have the national spotlight on us all the time and maybe we didn’t win as many games as the other guys, so I expected a little bit of this. But I hear there are great fans here and that they respond to winning. So, I think if I go out and play well, they’ll have no complaints then." - per the Pewter Report
I’m a little embarrassed by the backlash this player has received from an overwhelming majority of this fan base. We come off sounding like Jets fans bashing a player who has yet to take the field. The arguments I hear time and time again are that we didn’t have to move up two spots to get him, that we didn’t need another Quarterback, and that we should have waited until the 2010 NFL Draft next off-season. Everybody realizes we gave up a 6th round pick to move up two slots right? Geno Hayes, Adam Heyward, Chris Denman, and Bruce Gradkowski were all 6th round picks. Thank you. Also we have no idea if Denver was going to draft Freeman or if another team was going to trade up to get him. The Broncos have Chris Simms and Kyle Orton at Quarterback (ha!), while the Redskins were doing everything to replace Jason Campbell. Moving on…
There’s a reason we brought in journeyman QB Byron Leftwich this off-season and it wasn’t just a smokescreen. Luke McCown has had four years to get in the mix and had a perfect opportunity last season when Garcia was pulled in Week 1, who came off the bench? Brian Griese who had left the system for a couple seasons and returned that off-season. Our QB situation isn’t as solid as many of you believe. I was down with seeing what Luke McCown and Josh Johnson could do this season respectively as were the majority of you, while keeping an eye toward the 2010 NFL Draft aka the Bradford-McCoy-Tebow sweepstakes. The truth is Raheem and Dominik don’t have the time to wait that long. They cut Derrick Brooks and Warrick Dunn this off-season. They won’t make it through two or three struggling seasons. They had to get the perfect QB of the future now and there was nobody more perfect for them than Josh Freeman considering how well they knew him.
Freeman on what he needs to work on in order to get better
"It’s definitely going to come down to consistency. Just hit the check down instead of trying to go for the deep play; not feeling like you have to make the play – just make a play – to keep the chains moving. I think that working with Coach Jagodzinski and Coach Olson that they are going to help me get integrated into this system so that I can be successful. I think it comes down to hard work. I was talking to Coach Jagodzinski last night about Matt Ryan and it’s really about how hard you are willing to work and the time you are willing to put in. Coming into the situation, I really like the coaches and I’m going to spend a lot of time in this building. I just think it comes down to how much effort you are willing to put in." - per the Pewter Report
I would probably be like the majority of this fan base up in arms if it wasn’t for Offensive Coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski. I completely trust in his ability to cultivate successful Quarterbacks. If the Bucs can keep Jags on their staff Josh Freeman will be special. Freeman had a different offensive coordinator each season in college and his Head Coach was fired this season. With Jags he will finally be coached up and for a consistent period of time. The other plus is the playbook. Freeman doesn’t have to pick up a second language to learn the offense. McCown has already said the playbook is three inches thick compared to Gruden’s six inch thick playbook. That should help him catch up to the other Quarterbacks on the roster fairly quick.
Freeman on the opportunity to be this team’s Franchise Quarterback
" It is great to be here. Going through this whole process, the combine and everything, the advice I was getting from players is to not fall in love with one team because you have no control ultimately over where you are going to end up. I came up here and took my visit with Mark and Rah and it was great. I left here thinking, ‘Man, I don't care how I do it, I have to get to Tampa some day. I'm fired up. I want to go out and win games, for the city of Tampa, for Ra, for myself and for the Buccaneers. There’s something about having the football in your hands throughout the entire game, being in control of making plays. I enjoy the demands of the position. I want to go out and help this team be successful, and that's my ultimate goal. I hear that they're great fans here and people respond to winning. I think if I go out and play well, we'll have no complaints. Ultimately you’re judged by how you play, not where you get drafted. When I’m done, I want to be regarded as one of the best to ever play the game. " - per the Pewter Report
The fellas that took part in our NFL Draft Live Blog all weekend will tell you I was all for this pick when it transpired on Saturday. I too wanted them to focus on defense, but I see Freeman’s abilities and I get excited about the possibilities. This is the perfect situation for him. He has familiarity with the coaching staff and has a coaching staff that has a reputation for building players up. He will benefit from the talent that is already in place here. We have a great running game (so long as they stay healthy), our offensive line, though young, is one of the Top 10 offensive lines in the league, and our receiving corps is much improved with the addition of Tight End Kellen Winslow and the return of WR Antonio Bryant. Sprinkle in a positive minded Michael Clayton and untapped potential in 2nd round Draft Pick Dexter Jackson (stop laughing) and Freeman is surrounded with a nice nucleus of offensive talent. Unlike Quarterbacks of the past, ahem, Trent Dilfer, he won’t be asked to do it all on his own. I know this is a hollow opinion, but I have a really good feeling about his potential career here in Tampa.
Alright so let’s have it. Do you think Josh Freeman will have a successful career in Tampa?