18. No, that is not the number of wins the Bucs had last season, instead it was the number of interceptions that rookie quarterback Josh Freeman threw. Freeman often made bad reads, throwing long, short, and into situations even the most casual fan would scratch their head about. So should the Buc fans prepare for another season of interceptions and failure?
Freeman has a strong arm; there is no question about that. The problem he had last season came when throwing the deep routes, making bad reads, and throwing into coverage (never had a good receiver either). Freeman had one interception that hit Clayton square in his hands, only to see the ball fall out of Clayton’s hands and into the arms of a Miami Dolphin player (Clayton should put super glue on this gloves like the Replacements, probably still wouldn’t help). The Bucs were often playing from behind so Freeman had to throw deep in order to give the Bucs a fighting chance. The few times the Bucs had the lead though, Freeman did not throw an interception once they captured the lead (shows that he did not have to make desperate throws in those situations).
Freeman has Greg Olson back this season as his offensive coordinator and it looks as if the offensive will switch to a more familiar Gruden special “dink and dunk” offensive (West Coast offense sounds better). Olson will have Freeman throwing short passes, dumping off to Winslow and the running backs in space, which should increase the percentage, but not the yardage totals. As a fan, I am happy with that. I rather the Bucs move the ball down the field, control the clock, and put points on the board instead of throwing it down field to receivers that very few actually have hope in. Now, will Olson and Morris let Freeman throw an occasional deep ball? Of course, he has the arm and it should not be held back every single game, but kept in check. The only way the Bucs offense is going to grow and get better is to earn every yard and help Freeman progress and build confidence and not put so much on his shoulders. Freeman will be able to build his confidence by completing short passes, the offense will be able to move more, and hopefully gain a few more victories in the process.
Tags: Josh Freeman