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Just Throw The Damn Ball! Josh Freeman Is Much Too Conservative

Josh Freeman's issues continue to pop up, and confidence appears to be one of them. Find out what he has to improve on to help the Bucs win on Sunday.

Al Messerschmidt - Getty Images

Josh Freeman's biggest problem right now may not be issues with accuracy, taking sacks, or not having that killer look in his eyes (apparently that's a thing). No, it's a refusal to throw the ball down the field. The receivers aren't getting open? Nonsense. They're open, not all the time, but a lot more often than Freeman throws them the ball. The problem is, of course, that Freeman's not doing that. He's refusing to take risks on downfield throws. Some would say that's a good thing given his league-leading 25 turnovers last season, but I would not. It's a bad thing. Ask yourself, did you enjoy watching the 3-and-out-fest last week? That's what happens when your running game can't get going and your quarterback isn't taking throws that are there.

I actually wanted to go through the All-22 tape to make this point clear, and it is clear when you watch the tape. But I could never rival the quality job done by Steve White in his two posts. Seriously, go read them. They'll elucidate a lot of the problems Freeman's having, and show you multiple plays where receivers are open and Freeman's not pulling the trigger.Still, with All 22 tape available to everyone it's a lot harder for players or coaches to make claims about not having opportunities because of coverage that aren't 100% true.

Now is four missed opportunities to push the ball down the field in one game a lot?

Not really.

But considering the final score any of those four plays could have changed the result of the game AND four is of course more than 0.

That's an issue, and one that needs to be fixed, quickly. Freeman used to be pretty good about pulling the trigger, but has somehow been discouraged. The 22 interception last season undoubtedly have something to do with that, as is Schiano's Dungy-esque fear of turnovers. That fear of turnovers has lead to a positive turnover ratio in each of the team's three games, by the way. But two of them were still losses. A quality offense takes risks, and this offense is not doing that right now.

My praise of Freeman's potential notwithstanding, he has obvious issues right now. The biggest issue is a refusal to throw, and that leaks into everything else. It's probably a result of not trusting what he sees, or not getting a clear picture.