Assessing the Damage: Breaking Down All 17 of Josh Freeman’s 2012 Interceptions

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Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Interception 5: Week 6 against the Kansas City Chiefs, Tied in the 1st Quarter

This play was doomed from the start. Dallas Clark was sent in motion across the field, and Josh never took his eyes off of him. Clark ran a slow, shallow route into the flat, and Freeman floated out a pass that was undercut and picked off by the KC defense. The throw would have needed to be PERFECT to connect with Clark on such a route (there’s no separation or trickery here, it’s a basic route to the flat that has to be thrown a long distance for such a short potential gain), and Freeman had a better option (Vincent Jackson on a drag route) that he never even considered.

Verdict: Not the best playcall, but Freeman made it worse by locking into a receiver and not even beginning to read through his progressions.

Interception 6: Week 11 against the Carolina Panthers, Up 10 in the 1st Quarter

On this play, Josh Freeman steps back and has a clean pocket to throw from, but was looking short to Dallas Clark who wasn’t looking back for a pass at all. His route was leading him a few yards down the field where he would turn around for a catch, but the timing was off, and Freeman had to scramble backwards and throw fading away from the play. As he usually does when throwing while moving away from the play, he sails the pass over Clark’s head for an easy interception.

Verdict: Freeman may have had an option deep on the other side of the field, but had locked in on Clark and the other receivers to his right. The play was on third down, and in field goal range, so a sack would have made it a tougher field goal, but the pass was never going to gain enough yards for a first down. This was a poor decision and poor fundamentals from Freeman.

Interception 7: Week 11 against the Carolina Panthers, Down 4 in the 3rd Quarter

Coming off of a big stop on a fake punt, the Buccaneers went to the air for a big play on offense. Freeman has plenty of room to throw from the pocket, as he deals well with an outside rush by stepping forward into his throw. Vincent Jackson was his intended target downfield, and there was either a miscommunication or just the worst of throws by Josh Freeman, as Freeman left the ball well short of Jackson. Vincent was streaking towards the back-left pylon and expecting a throw to that area, but the throw came in short, as if Jackson was going to come back or cut towards the sidelines.

Verdict: Freeman may have just made a poor throw, or there may have been a disconnect between he and his best receiver (this will happen later, so it’s not unprecedented to consider).

Interception 8: Week 13 against the Denver Broncos, Down 10 in the 3rd Quarter

Josh Freeman was put in a bad, bad place here. He was feeling pressure from his blind side, and had only Vincent Jackson in his view. There are 3 Bronco defenders playing short on that side, with Jackson as the only receiver, and there’s also a safety helping up top on Jackson. Freeman faces pressure and tries to throw to get rid of the ball, and it would have likely been intercepted anyways as Jackson was well covered. But to make matters worse, he’s hit as he throws. There was no other throw to make, and taking a sack would have been better. He couldn’t have thrown left without facing a blitzer in his face and more good, short coverage to correspond with the pressure he was facing.

Verdict: The Broncos played amazing defense on this play, but Freeman still could have made a better throw to throw the ball away, or could have simply taken a sack. It was a forced throw that turned into an awful throw thanks to pressure.

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