The real deal or no deal?
I, like many, sat watching in disbelief on Sunday night watching a Buccaneers' offense that showed such cringeworthy nervousness that it should be ashamed of itself. The play calling, summed up by a draw play eighty yards from the endzone with two minutes left while needing two scores, was mind blowingly bad. It was naive, nervous and most of all gutless.
That Cowboys' defense, missing something like four starters, would have been torched up and down the field by a Manning, a Rodgers or a Brady but we don't have anything like these players. To be honest I'm not even sure that we have an elite quarterback.
Josh Freeman started for the Pewter Pirates after the Buccaneers first disastorous Wembley visit and did "Ok". His play was encouraging enough to give all Tampa Bay fans hope that he might, finally, have found a "Franchise QB". The following season Josh was fantastic showing composure, poise and most of all outstanding decision making.
That season saw just six interceptions all year and numerous forth quarter comebacks that Favre or Montana would have been proud of. All this elevated Freeman to be talked about with the biggest and best the NFL had to offer. Then? Then the wheels came off.
Freeman was poor last year. He, by his own admission, was overweight and out of shape and he stopped doing all the things that had made him so outstanding the previous year. People will blame Greg Olsen, and partly they'd be right. Olsen tried to make Josh a pocket passer. It didn't work. Turnovers and losses came in their plenty and #5's reputation took a nose dive.
When I hear people blame ALL of Freeman's woes on the play calling I say this, do you really think that the elite QBs in this league take what they're given however good, bad or otherwise it is? Not a chance.
These quarterbacks make the offense their own. I am not suggesting that we have a renegade QB calling trick plays in the huddle all game but through camp and practice the system should suit Josh, and if it doesn't then Freeman should have done something about it.
He looks like a deer in the headlights at the moment without a clue what to do from one play to the next. If you're not happy with it then as "The Franchise" you should have the metal to say something and change it so you are.
Freeman's decision making has deserted him and since that one good year his accuracy has left town with it. Freeman is playing like a man with no confidence despite now having two thousands yard receivers, a thousand yard tight end and a good O-line and stable of running backs. This is the most toys any Buccaneers quarterback has had to play with...possibly ever.
My thinking on this has gone from its the play calling to others letting him down to...is Josh Freeman really that good? Time will tell but unless something changes, and soon, fans will start calling for change and for the first time Josh Freeman will be included in that call.
A few big weeks ahead for Freeman now and he needs to start delivering the goods. If he doesn't turn his form around then Tampa will soon find themselves in a New York Jets situation wehre the backup QB is the most popular man in town.