There is some people are looking at the Bucs switching to a more West Style offense this season because of Josh Freeman’s arm strength concerns. From Roy Cummings, “On passes thrown between 11 and 20 yards downfield Freeman completed just 42 percent of his throws (34 of 81), and with 12 interceptions and only three touchdowns on such throws he compiled a passer rating of just 39. Not only that, but the more Freeman aired the ball out, the more difficulty he had. Freeman threw 34 passes between 21 and 40 yards downfield, but he completed only 11 of them for a 32.3 completion percentage. And more often than not, Freeman was intercepted on those bombs, getting picked off five times while throwing just three touchdown passes.”
The reason for the change is fairly clear. The down field throwing game for the Bucs is terrible. Look at their receiving core. Kellen Winslow is a good target and became the favorite target for Freeman throughout the season, but he is not downfield threat. Winslow does not have the speed of a wide receiver that is able to stretch the field. The wide receivers for the Bucs, well, they were a joke. Sammie Stroughter was a rookie last year and not used well. Michael Clayton was, well, Michael Clayton, he is not a target that anyone should throw at. Maurice Stovall, enough said. The receiving core was bad all season long. The running game was also bad as well, never consistent week to week, meaning the Bucs were down early and often in games, forcing Freeman to throw deep in an attempt to score quickly, but with bad receivers and a rookie QB, the chances for failure were high.
West Coast style is more suited right now for Freeman as he continues to grow. It will allow him to hit shorter, more accurate passes, using Winslow and the running backs more as receivers. It will help his percentage and control the game more, instead of one throw then chase the corner back down. Freeman will improve under this system and his rookie receivers will grow as well under this system. They will be able to catch in space and use their skills to create after the catch (the Bucs finally drafted receivers who can do that, take notes Clayton). Freeman should improve this season, percentage of completion should grow and interceptions will hopefully drop. Freeman’s arm is strong, but there is no need to throw down field if no one is there to catch the ball.
Tags: Josh Freeman