Originally written on The Bay Cave  |  Last updated 11/3/14

NEW ORLEANS - DECEMBER 27: Quarterback Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks down the field during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on December 27, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

There is a growing debate between fans and several media circles asking whether or not Josh Freeman should be the Buccaneers’ quarterback moving forward. Freeman is under contract until the end of the 2013 season so logic has him penciled in through then. So should he be here beyond that? 

The answer: Yes.

Here’s why.

In three years at Kansas State, Josh Freeman averaged a quarterback rating of 124.7, threw for 44 touchdowns and 34 interceptions (6 TD and 15 INT his freshman year). While his touchdown to interception ratio may mislead some, his completion percentage was near 60% (59.1) while at KSU. In his junior year, he rushed for over 400 yards and scored 14 touchdowns on the ground. The type of offense that was run at Kansas State should also be taken into account, the spread offense. A pass oriented offense designed to move the ball down field via the passing game.

At the professional level, Josh Freeman has been unable to collectively match his play at Kansas State but for several factors. His rookie season, he was drafted into a Buccaneers’ offseason that consisted of a new coaching staff with several rookie coaches. The quarterbacks coach then was Greg Olson, who immediately took over as offensive coordinator after the team fired coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski during the final week of the preseason. At the time, the young Freeman had quarterbacks Byron Leftwich and Josh Johnson to watch and learn from. He would take the field near the end of the London matchup and start the remaining nine games with a well below average stat line.

After a full offseason complete with minicamps and team workouts, Josh Freeman had a much talked about 2010 campaign. He threw for 25 touchdowns and only six interceptions while completing 61% of his passes as well as recording a 95.9 quarterback rating. Freeman also ran for 364 yards on 68 attempts. But his biggest attribute that season was his improvisation. His ability to scramble out of the pocket and extend the play during games helped lead the Bucs to a 10-6 record that year.

The 2011 season would prove to be much different for Josh Freeman. There was no offseason for him to work with the coaching staff due to the lockout. He had to review himself and set up workouts on his own with other players. There was no coaching for Freeman until the lockout ended at the end of July that year. By that time, teams were preparing for preseason games and evaluating other players.

Whether it was due to a lack of offseason coaching or not, Freeman was unable to get anything done offensively. He admitted earlier this year he was trying to do too much last season. As a result, he threw 16 touchdowns and 22 interceptions with a quarterback rating of 74.6.

Enter the 2012 season. The Bucs have an entirely different coaching staff, new play system, and new schemes. There are a new set of rules, different attitude, and different work ethic that has to be adjusted to. With that said, the team is currently at 1-2 and Josh Freeman has a rating of 71.4 with a completion percentage of 51.3%.

There are no excuses being made for Freeman. Every team’s quarterback suffered the lockout, every quarterback has to adapt to change, every quarterback has had to learn new plays even with their current system. But not all the quarterbacks are the same. Some need that extra coaching and with the instability that Josh Freeman has suffered, why begin to call for his replacement?

The potential for him to lead this Bucs team for years is there. The new offense was not going to work to perfection overnight. Everyone, along with Freeman, is still learning. There needs to be consistency and not just from the players, but consistency must be given to the players as well.

So, can we really trust Josh Freeman as the Bucs quarterback?


(Photo Credit: AP)

The post Can we really trust Josh Freeman as the Bucs quarterback? appeared first on The Bay Cave.

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