Tampa Bay Buccaneers Will Sink or Swim with Josh Freeman in 2013

Tom EdringtonSenior Writer IJanuary 3, 2013

Josh Freeman will point the way in 2013.
Josh Freeman will point the way in 2013.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

He was the bride of Raheem Morris.

If you recall, it was Morris who basically said he was married to Josh Freeman way back when he convinced Mark Dominik that this big kid from Kansas State could be the future of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when it comes to quarterbacks.

As the Bucs head into 2013 with Greg Schiano in charge and Dominik still making personnel decisions, Freeman's biggest supporter is now the secondary coach for the Washington Redskins.

Our question for you today, something for you to chew on and contemplate for the next six months or so is: Is it still "all about five?"—as in No. 5 on your scorecard and No. 105 in the hearts of a lot of Buccaneer fans.

Is it still all about Josh Freeman?

Let's consider this for a moment. We've seen Josh Freeman play really, really well, not so well and really, really poorly during the just-finished 2012 season.

At one point last season, no quarterback was playing better than Freeman. He had turned the sentiment of the town, he was "the man" and basically the future of the Bucs in this quarterback-driven league.

Now that a season with yet another offense is in the books, consider that Freeman threw for more than 4,000 yards, the first guy in the franchise to do that. Where he loses the faith of many is his 54.8 completion percentage. He threw for 27 touchdowns, 17 interceptions—more than half of those came in two games.

Which brings us to this quiet time for the Bucs. It's evaluation time according to Schiano and just about every other coach who is not in the playoffs.

So how does Schiano evaluate Freeman?

Doesn't matter what you think, it's what Schiano thinks, as he still has four years left on his contract. Freeman has one.

With 16 game tapes to stare at, Schiano now has a luxury he didn't have last season. He was hired late and had never seen anyone on this roster play in person. Now he has.

So here's the Freeman dilemma, if you will.

Ask yourself some of these questions: After just one season in the new system, is there enough there to make a definitive judgement on Freeman? Considering his age (24), what is his upside? Is it possible that he wasn't coached up enough?

If it comes to a judgement on work ethic, then Freeman rates highly there. He's often the first guy in, last guy out of the facility. So we ask, is he a slow learner?

Is it a matter of confidence?

Where does his inaccuracy come from? Is it poor mechanics? Does he revert to those poor mechanics under pressure?

He does still stare down receivers quite often. You'd figure someone would have broken him of that habit by now.

When it comes to Freeman, we're going to steal a quote that Schiano liked to use during the season to explain various shortcomings with his team.

"It's never just one thing."

And that's the way it is with Freeman.

Okay, back to the dilemma.

For those of you demanding the team get rid of him, well, we'll tell you now and in no uncertain terms that Josh Freeman isn't going anywhere in 2013 but directly into offseason workouts. 

Freeman will be the starter when camp opens and will be the starter on opening day if he's not injured.

For those of you demanding that the Bucs draft a quarterback, well, go and check, but last time we looked, there's no Andrew Luck or RG III in this group. In fact, there's no one on the same planet as those guys.

Find another Russell Wilson, you say? Easier said than done. For every Russell Wilson, there are 10 Luke McCowns. 

You'll get a better idea after the draft. 

Sign a free-agent quarterback? Look at the list and they all make Freeman look like Tom Brady.

The fact is that right now, today, this coming season, you will have Josh Freeman.

You'll have him for better or worse.

Kinda like Raheem Morris said way back when.


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