Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman: It's Time to Get off His Back!

Josh Freeman is tasked with running an unimaginative offense.
Josh Freeman is tasked with running an unimaginative offense.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Tom EdringtonSenior Writer ISeptember 28, 2012

Listen closely, we're talking about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in general and quarterback Josh Freeman in particular.

There's too much talk floating around that Freeman doesn't cut it as the quarterback for this franchise, or at least he's not the quarterback to lead them to a Super Bowl.

Stop it, stop it now, please.

Pay attention to the fact that you've got a serious remodeling project going on: A new offense, one where we haven't seen probably half the playbook.

Keep in mind these thoughts as well: "Quarterback is the single most dependent position on the team."

So said former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann when he visited the Ron and Ian Show on 620 WDAE yesterday.

Pay attention, he knows. A quarterback can be only as good as his supporting cast.

In Freeman's case, he has an offensive line that was supposed to be good until it lost right guard Davin Joseph and then put in a first-time starter at right tackle.

This offense was supposed to run the ball to take heat off of Freeman and that hasn't happened. Even Greg Schiano admits it. "I don't think we've done a good job blocking," he said at a press conference. He also knows that teams are planning for the run. "These guys are gonna crowd the box. It's gonna be upstream trying to run the football."

Sneaky guy, Schiano; can't get anything past him, he sees eight in the box on film. Still, he has Mike Sullivan calling running plays.

That's not on Freeman. He's not calling the plays.

Next, try this time-proven saying on for size: "The quarterback doesn't have to be the reason a team wins games. BUT, he cannot be the reason a team loses games."

We ask: How many games has Freeman been the reason the Bucs lost so far this year?

They lost to the Giants because they gave up 605 yards on defense and last time we checked, Freeman wasn't tasked with rushing Eli Manning.

Against Dallas, the now unemployed Jordan Shipley botched a punt return that set up a touchdown for the Cowboys, then D.J. Ware let a Freeman pass bounce of the chest-plate of his shoulder pads. Sorry, Josh, you were way off the mark with that pass. That Ware gaffe gave the Cowboys a field goal. That's 10 points. Bucs lost by six.

Two losses, Freeman did nothing to lose those games.

Which brings us to Week 4 and the Redskins.

This is a 16-game exam for Freeman. Schiano believes in looking at a player's entire body of work.

So why do you want to snatch Freeman's test paper from him when he's only answered three of the 16 questions? You want to give him an "F" and he's just starting the test.

That's hardly fair, hardly reasonable and it's not even sane.

Fact is, it's impossible to have any idea what they are really trying to do with this offense. Schiano mentioned something about running the ball and taking shots down the field.

It would make sense that if you CAN run the ball, then there will be shots down the field. But what happens when the running game is reduced to two yards and a squashed Doug Martin?

We don't even know why LeGarrette Blount hasn't been more involved although Schiano says he will be. Did we mention that Schiano also promised shots down the field?

Freeman has two willing wide receivers—I don't know if anyone's going to volunteer to be the third guy and what harm it would do to have a four-receiver set in there on second down?

Tight ends? Freeman's saddled with Luke Stocker and Dallas Clark. Stocker looks like a solid third-team guy and Clark's looking like a guy who will be watching games on his sofa next year.

Stocker and Clark? That's hardly Tony Gonzalez and Jimmy Graham.

So add the fact that Freeman hasn't got poop for tight ends. They're dull knives in a gun fight.

Then there's the play calling.

Note to Josh Freeman haters: Josh is not calling these plays.

What this all adds up to is that Freeman is in the midst of a new offensive system that is fairly offensive to Bucs fans so far. No imagination, no deception, this one's so old-school it's pre-school.

So get off Freeman's back.

It's simply too early to tell, too early to know how this season will unfold.

You expected the Bucs to be 3-0 at this point?

Then you really are playing fantasy football.

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