Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Is Josh Freeman a Top-10 NFL QB?

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 21:  Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers passes during a game against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium on October 21, 2012 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Jamal CollierAnalyst IIIOctober 26, 2012

Josh Freeman of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has been outstanding in the last three weeks, throwing for 1,010 yards, nine touchdowns and one interception in that span. But he is not a top-10 quarterback.

Tampa Bay has gone 2-1 in the last three weeks, and Freeman has played very well. And he was supposed to; the teams he faced were not statistically imposing in terms of defending against the pass.

Freeman has been a great fantasy quarterback in the last three weeks because the last four defenses he’s faced are in the top 10 of fantasy points allowed to QBs.

That doesn’t make him a top-10 NFL quarterback. It means he was due to be in-line for fine statistical performances as a competent NFL passer with legitimate weapons around him.

His last three opponents—the Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings—have combined to intercept 11 passes on the season in 20 combined games.

By comparison, the Chicago Bears and New York Giants have picked off 14 and 12 passes in six and seven games respectively.

When Freeman played against the Giants, he tossed two interceptions.

The Saints, Chiefs and Vikings have surrendered 36 passing touchdowns this season, a pace of 29 over 16 games.

While Freeman is on pace for 32 after facing those three teams consecutively, another number should give us pause before calling him a top-10 player at his position.

Freeman has 123 completions on 223 passing attempts, good for a 55.2-percent completion rate. He is completing a smaller percentage of his passes than every qualified passer not named Andrew Luck (53.6 percent) or Mark Sanchez (53.2).

Yes, that includes Blaine Gabbert, Matt Cassel, Kevin Kolb and any other quarterback whose name is not mentioned among the NFL’s elite right now.

When that’s the company that you keep, you currently cannot be a top-10 NFL quarterback. However, that’s not to say that the fourth-year pro can’t work his way to the top as he nears the peak of his career.

 

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