Pewter Plank Mailbag: What Should Buccaneers Fans Expect From Josh Freeman?

December 9, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) calls a play against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time for another question from the Pewter Plank mailbag, and this time I took to Fancred to ask the loyal fans on the app about the Buccaneers, and got some great questions. This one comes from Hossein Razzaghi.

(Curious about Fancred? Check out their website, or find their app on the App Store!)

Do you think Josh Freeman is a top tier QB and what are expectations of him this season? 8 wins?

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Thanks for the question!

May 22, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) during the New York Giants organized team activities at the Giants Timex Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

I am not yet ready to give any win expectations, as there’s still a lot of offseason and all of camp left to come. But it’s not too early to try to stake out what makes for a successful season for Josh Freeman. And it’s never a bad time to talk about where Josh Freeman stands in the NFL.

To start, let’s define Top Tier. I am going to assume that there is a tier above the Top Tier which includes the elite, team-defining quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Aaron Rodgers. So with those QB’s in their own special section, the Top Tier QBs would include players like Matt Ryan, Eli Manning, and young stars like Andrew Luck and Colin Kaepernick. It’s my believe that Freeman comes in at the tier below this top tier, alongside Joe Flacco, Ryan Tannehill, and Andy Dalton as young quarterbacks who need more work to take the next step to being Top Tier. This is something I have discussed here previously, so check out my thoughts here.

So let’s move on and discuss Freeman’s expectations for 2013. What is a good season for Josh Freeman? What makes him worthy of a contract extension and the faith of Bucs’ fans?

I think the most fair way to evaluate Freeman in this case is to continue the comparison to Eli Manning, as we did on this site a while ago. Manning was not fantastic through his first four seasons, showing moments of promise and playing for a good team, but not putting it all together. It was his fifth season (which is the season Josh Freeman enters in 2013, by the way) when he took a huge step forward, cutting down on interceptions and starting a chain of five years with improved completion percentage as compared to his first four years in the league.

For Freeman, this means producing a decent amount of touchdowns, but greatly reducing the turnovers, and taking a step forward in completion percentage. To put hard numbers to it, let’s call it 28 touchdowns, 10 or fewer interceptions, and a completion percentage as close to 60% as possible. The completion percentage isn’t as important, as the offense will dictate the kind of throws Freeman has to make. But the interceptions have to be reduced, and the errant throws and missed opportunities cannot continue for Freeman to justify his place in Tampa Bay. On top of that Freeman and the offense must continue to produce points, and do so on a consistent basis. None of these numbers or ideas are outlandish for Freeman, as he’s shown himself capable of this kind of production in the past (including the middle of last season).

So what do you expect from Freeman in 2013? Leave a comment below and let us know. Or ask a question for us to feature on another edition of Pewter Plank Mailbag.

Topics: Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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