ESPN expert and former NFL quarterback Ron Jaworski has released his final quarterback ranking of the 2012 season, and Josh Freeman falls around the middle of the pack. On the list of 32 NFL quarterbacks, Freeman comes in firmly at No. 19 and while Jaws compliments Freeman’s first half, it’s the final quarter of the season that has Jaws face palming on behalf of the Bucs quarterback.
From Jaworski’s ESPN Insider blog:
I think Freeman was the biggest disappointment of the season’s last quarter. His poor play really reminded me of his struggles from the end of 2011, and seemed to suggest no improvement year over year. He was wildly inaccurate, with his mechanics failing him. He was often throwing off his back foot instead of driving his throws. He has a lot of repairs to make in the offseason.
The assessment of Freeman is pretty spot on. Bucs fans everywhere were moaning and groaning about Freeman’s play the same way they were back in 2011. Freeman truly did pack his 2011 performance into the final four games of the season, which was such a buzz kill after the first two three-fourths of Freeman’s season.
Through the first 13 games of the season, Freeman only threw 8 interceptions against an outstanding 23 touchdowns. But Freeman matched his season total for interceptions in two games, throwing four picks against the Saints and again against the Rams in back-to-back weeks.
Freeman tossed another pick in the Bucs season finale win over the Falcons meaning he threw more interceptions in the final three games of the Bucs season then he had in the previous 13 games. If Freeman can channel the first 13 games of the season, and string together a season that reflects those performances, all the animosity towards Freeman will cease.
Even when Freeman was doing spectacular, he was drawing criticism, but most of the late criticism came out of a purely disappointed place. Fans and analysts alike expected a better finish from Freeman, but regardless of the sour end, he’s set himself up nicely for a great 2013 season.
The only question is which Josh Freeman will we see, and will the Jekyll side of Freeman flare up at random in the future?
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