It took two years to discover that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a split-personality quarterback.
In 2010, there was really, really good Josh Freeman.
In 2011, there was his evil twin, the really, really bad Josh Freeman.
Which leads us to the quandary of 2012 with the season opener on the near horizon, and we still don't know what we're going to get. Talk about Forrest Gump's proverbial box of chocolates.
Which Josh Freeman will we get when all of this pro football stuff gets real on September 9?
Will we get the good twin or the evil twin?
For one brief shining moment, Freeman had your hopes up, didn't he? For that one amazing drive that opened the preseason contest with the Patriots, you had the good twin directing the offense. Freeman completed four straight, including three to Vincent Jackson, and life in Buc Nation was really, really good, wasn't it?
Wow, there was "Good Josh" whipping it in there four straight for 61 yards.
Then, apparently, "Good Josh" was kidnapped there on the sideline and "Bad Josh" took over. The next 15 passes from "Good Josh's" evil twin saw only six get into the receivers' hands for a whopping 41 yards. Holy Raheem Morris!
While Adam Hayward and a lot of the backup guys on defense had you feeling pretty good, the evil twin out there probably had you scratching your collective heads and wondering what in the name of Tom Brady was going on out there.
Are you comfortable with Josh Freeman's preseason performance?
Well, once again, we turn to one of your favorite former Bucs, and that would be Johnny Lynch, handling the color analysis on the broadcast last week.
"Josh Freeman needs to be a more accurate passer," Lynch said for the benefit of everyone listening in.
Nice. OK, everyone out there, let's join in, all together now!
JOSH FREEMAN NEEDS TO BE A MORE ACCURATE PASSER!
That should just about cover it. That accurate passer would be the "Good Josh," as opposed to the inaccurate passer, and that would be "Bad Josh." Pretty simple there; we need the good twin, not the evil twin.
Greg Schiano kind of went to bat for his quarterback. He gave his take on Freeman's performance as recounted in Sunday's Tampa Bay Times:
"I think we got out of rhythm, and it wasn't all Josh," Schiano said. "The way our passing game is so detailed and the timing, if a receiver comes and breaks flat rather than breaking on a 45-degree angle, the ball is going to be short. Well, it wasn't short. We just weren't where we were supposed to be."
"So we have some work to do still to get all the timing and precision."
Well, OK, thanks coach, but let's get this straight: Who wasn't where they were supposed to be? Were the receivers not there or was the football not there?
I'm with Johnny Lynch on this one. We need the "Good Josh," you know, the accurate one.
Which Josh Freeman will we see in 2012?
Now, when it came to statistics, the aforementioned Raheem Morris basically told us that statistics were for something other than determining performance.
A quick look at Freeman's stats in this 2012 preseason show us he's 18-for-34 for 164 yards. That's a really Raheem Morris regime-like 52.9 percent and a whopping average gain of 4.8 yards per pass. Hello 4-12.
Passer rating is 76.1. Holy Greg Olsen and the Ghost of Offensive Coordinators Past.
Stuff like that isn't going to cut it this go-round. Not with V-Jax and Mike Williams and the sure-handed Dougie Martin and Dallas Clark.
It simply won't do.
Please, will someone go find the good twin, the "Good Josh."
Get the evil twin, the "Bad Josh," on the next bus to Jacksonville.