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Bucs confident Freeman’s lousy 2011 was an aberration

Josh Freeman, Jason Jones AP

Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman was one of the NFL’s most disappointing players in 2011. But the Bucs aren’t sweating it.

Although Freeman got worse statistically from 2010 to 2011 in yards per pass (from 7.3 to 6.5), in touchdown passes (from 25 to 16), in interceptions (from six to 22) and in passer rating (from 95.9 to 74.6), Bucs General Manager Mark Dominik told the Tampa Bay Times that there’s a good reason to believe that the 2012 version of Freeman will look a lot more like the quarterback we saw in 2010 than the one we saw in 2011.

That reason, Dominik says, is that this year Freeman will have a full offseason of work. Last year, during the lockout, Freeman missed out on four months of coaching that he otherwise would have had.

“A lot of the second-year [starting] quarterbacks didn’t play their best ball last year,” Dominik said recently. “Maybe guys like [Rams quarterback Sam] Bradford didn’t play their best ball and [Jets quarterback Mark] Sanchez. Certainly Josh. I think it did have an effect on the younger quarterbacks in our league. But now it’s in the past, and it’s what you do going forward.”

There may be some truth to the idea that Freeman, Bradford and Sanchez struggled because the lockout cost them valuable offseason work, but there were also young quarterbacks who thrived despite the lockout: Matthew Stafford was drafted in the same first round as Freeman and Sanchez, and Stafford had 5,000-yard season in 2011. And rookie quarterbacks Cam Newton and Andy Dalton both looked fine without an offseason.

The Bucs have made some big moves in free agency and may be a team poised to take a step forward this year. But only if Freeman reverses the big step backward he took last year.

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52 Responses to “Bucs confident Freeman’s lousy 2011 was an aberration”
  1. chc4 says: Mar 24, 2012 6:34 PM

    Or maybe the Bucs FO is making excuses for his poor play. Lots of QBs had really good years and they all had the same short offseason.

  2. bigbrad184 says: Mar 24, 2012 6:34 PM

    Sure, blame it on the lockout because that’s the easy way out and convenient. Excuses are like a$$holes. Everyone’s got one and they all stink.

  3. glazerh8er says: Mar 24, 2012 6:37 PM

    Freeman is a top 5 talent. It will take time. He stands in the pocket, can make every throw. Tough to win when you have the worst Buc defense ever on the other side of the ball. If he can win 10 games with Raheem, he is going to be amazing. Definitely a SuperBowl caliber QB in time. I gave zero credit to Raheem his first year. Freeman won half the games with miracle “Tebowesque” comebacks in the 4th quarter, and no one talked about it. Kind of why the Tebow story frustrates me. Freeman did it with 10 rookies the year before. Tebow doesn’t win 10 games with 10 rookies on the field.

  4. jcjets says: Mar 24, 2012 6:39 PM

    I think its a good point, but obviously every guy is different, and so is every situation. different offenses, different coaches, and complimentary players.

    The truth about these guys will come out this year. If sanchez and Freeman don’t take big steps this year, they’ll likely be gone.

  5. nyyjetsknicks says: Mar 24, 2012 6:40 PM

    V Jacks and Mike Williams, you better not suck.

  6. mc9399 says: Mar 24, 2012 6:41 PM

    didnt he play injured all of last year?

  7. waltdawg says: Mar 24, 2012 6:46 PM

    Top 5 talent? In what league?

  8. orthomarine says: Mar 24, 2012 6:47 PM

    He’s a one read QB…. I hope he fixes that

  9. nflfollower says: Mar 24, 2012 6:47 PM

    Not a top 5 talent with the accuracy he displayed last year.

  10. hutch119 says: Mar 24, 2012 6:47 PM

    Wow it’s not like every single player went through the exact same thing. Heck rookies played better this year than ever before. Okay maybe not ever but this was a fantastic rookie class. I think the more likely scenario is 2010 was more the aberration and 09 and 11 were closer to the real thing.

  11. howmanyringsyourteamgot says: Mar 24, 2012 6:48 PM

    You notice how the 49ers, Broncos, Panthers, Bengals, all teams with young QBs and/or new coaching staffs don’t blame their success on the lockout?

  12. Maximus Decimus Meridius says: Mar 24, 2012 6:50 PM

    Guy is a bust. 1-2 more seasons and the Bucs will be looking for thier “new” QB of the future.

  13. hutch119 says: Mar 24, 2012 6:50 PM

    Oh and Glazerh8er lot of people were talking about Freeman after that 2010 season. Not on Tebows level because he doesn’t have Tebows background but he got lots of hype and then proceeded to fall flat on his face.

  14. whodeyinpa says: Mar 24, 2012 6:51 PM

    If the lockout is to blame then explain how two rookies in Andy Dalton and Cam Newton both go to the pro bowl and one took their team to the playoffs with NO offseason. Nice try Bucs’ front office. He had a bad year and it may just be a fluke but don’t blame the short offseason.

  15. zampft says: Mar 24, 2012 6:51 PM

    Krusty is coming… Krusty is coming…

  16. bucwild05 says: Mar 24, 2012 6:53 PM

    Glazerh8er…. I agree with you.

    Freeman looked horrible last year, and didn’t look like the same guy from his rookie season. Last year, he had little, or no protection, and his 1 reliable target was always double covered. He was forced from the pocket because the O-line sucked, and his young receiving crew couldn’t get open, so he forced throws.

    Our OC was embarassing, with what looked like high school coaching.

    This year, with the signing of Hicks and V-Jax, that alone will make Freeman Better. I see Williams having a break out, pro bowl year now that Jackson will get the double coverage. Tampa will make some noise this year… I just hope the Defense holds their own… it still scares me.

  17. tpa43 says: Mar 24, 2012 6:57 PM

    worst owners!

  18. babyhorsemorgan says: Mar 24, 2012 7:06 PM

    Domenik doesn’t even realize that Freeman and Sanchez were playing their third season last year. Not very comforting.

  19. geddyn says: Mar 24, 2012 7:07 PM

    Matthew Stafford has Megatron. Not a fair comparison there. That isn’t to say Stafford isn’t good, because he is, but Freeman would put up similar stats if he had a receiver of Johnson’s caliber and an offensive coordinator who didn’t have his head clear up his rear end.

  20. ceh14 says: Mar 24, 2012 7:14 PM

    All of you who think Josh is a bust are stupid fanns from other teams who hope that he fails because your team didnt get him. He has as much talent as any QB in the league he just has to learn how to master it.

  21. glazerh8er says: Mar 24, 2012 7:14 PM

    I say top 5 talent because there are about 5 QB’s in the league that can make every throw on the field like Freeman and maybe ten that are fearless in the pocket with massive pass rush and people falling all around their legs (very different than fearless because if the rush comes we decide to run). He had 2 second year receivers and a gimpy tight end to work with as his weapons. Also, I don’t like L. Blount, he’s actually one of the worst backs in the league. He makes 1 highlight reel run a game and the rest is not bad, it’s terrible- maybe the worst hitting the hole ever (guy didn’t even know the playbook). So, when Blount IS on the field, what play is coming? The building knows it’s not a pass. Put Freeman on the Jets, they might win the SuperBowl his rookie year. All I know, there aren’t many I’d rather have taking age into consideration. Stafford? C-Johnson. Newton? Pocket passers win SuperBowls. Dalton? better decisions, less talent. Either rookie coming out? No thanks. Flacco? Put Freeman on that team and see what happens.

  22. bucwild05 says: Mar 24, 2012 7:16 PM

    After I typed my post, and then refreshed several minutes later, I see where many people were putting theirs up at the same time, and a lot of people talking about how bad he was… and I am sure that this is coming from people that sit back on Sundays drinking their 15 beers, yelling and screaming at the TV. LOL!

    Did any of you watch him? His thumb was F’d up all year on his throwing hand, our OC was beyond horrible, with absolutely no surprise. As me, a person sitting on the couch knowing 90% of every play that was going to happen, I could imagine how an NFL coach would know more than me, and knowing what play the Bucs were calling next.

    He had hardly any protection. There was no one that could stretch the feild. The Bucs had numerous injuries, and did I mention that the Bucs Defense was down right aweful?

    I am no here to defend Freeman, as I hated it when the Buccaneers drafted him. I have watched him, and he will be in the Pro Bowl this year. Okay, go ahead with the thumbs down. The only ones that will give the Thumbs up are people who have actually watched this guy play. He is an Amazing Talent.

  23. nygsbchamps4 says: Mar 24, 2012 7:18 PM

    He was really good year before, so thats a fair statement.

  24. zampft says: Mar 24, 2012 7:19 PM

    Washington and Indy are both hoping they get the Manning and not the Leaf

  25. ezmagic says: Mar 24, 2012 7:26 PM

    It was the coaching and offensive coordinating that made him look worse. They put too much on josh to make decisions and he tried to force too much instead of checking down. The year before they ran the ball a lot more which helps any QB.

  26. norrinradd12 says: Mar 24, 2012 7:31 PM

    His didn’t play nearly as bad as his stats indicate. He was just on a really, really, really bad team. Since 2009 they’re 0-8 when he doesn’t start, which tells how bad the team is and how good he is.

    Must be hard for Stafford to drop back and just throw as far and as high as he can to a double covered Calvin Johnson. Funny how the Lions won a 4 in a row at the end of 2010 without it.

  27. ravenator says: Mar 24, 2012 7:32 PM

    Flacco > Freeman

  28. glazerh8er says: Mar 24, 2012 7:49 PM

    Put Flacco on last year’s bucs……..for that matter, put T. Brady or Peyton Manning on last year’s bucs……for that matter put Drew Brees or Aron Rogers on last year’s bucs. Do you realize that a rookie outside linebacker from the Pac-10 was our defensive play caller (MIKE LB)??? An unnamed scout from another team in the NFC South told our beat magazine that the only players on our team that would even start on theirs are D. Joseph and A. Clayborn, and he couldn’t tell on Freeman because the team is just so bad.

  29. huskersrock1 says: Mar 24, 2012 7:54 PM

    Freeman will be a great QB, just give him some time. About 15 years, of course, it won’t be in the NFL.

  30. turbo2728 says: Mar 24, 2012 7:59 PM

    Dominik is only blaming the lockout because the alternative would be criticising players who are currently on the roster, taking shots at coaches who are no longer with the team or admitting that he made the wrong decision. Olson’s play calling was horrible and predictable. As for the receivers- all of whom Dominik signed or drafted- none of them could separate hence the constant check downs. Freeman had little help from those around him last year. A problem made worse by the revolving door we called a defence.

    Freeman has shown he has a great work ethic and hopefully will prove that last year was a one off. He has a way to go, but he has all the potential to be a great one in this league for a long time.

  31. toosharp23 says: Mar 24, 2012 8:02 PM

    The whole team was set up to fail last year, avg. age of 24, no leadership, Horrible defense so Freeman had to play from behind and the OC only called slant pattens that the WR were scarred to run, Williams got blown up a few times b/c of it.. There was no speed or running game.. Benn, although very athletic looks like lost most of the time.. Raheem lost the team – look at the Clippers and Knicks- if the coach loses the team its only down hill from there..

    This season will be kind of rough and the Media will blast them again and say they wasted money but they have a whole new staff and it will take a full season but when they hit their stride it will be fun to watch…

  32. turbodog1027 says: Mar 24, 2012 8:07 PM

    He sucks, just like the Yucks in general suck and will always suck.

  33. gmsalpha says: Mar 24, 2012 8:09 PM

    Put Peyton Manning on last year’s Bucs and they make the playoffs. The Colts won TWO games without Manning. Nobody has been able to hide a bad team like Peyton, and the Bucs are a better team…minus the QB spot.

    Flacco vs Freeman? Tough call!!! Probably Freeman, to be honest. By I really don’t believe either is a franchise QB. The main thing Josh has on his side is more time and the hope of better surrounding teammates, though V-Jax and Blount can’t be good for the ole’ locker room. Joe has already shown me he cannot get it done. Too bad too, because the Ravens’ window is quickly closing.

  34. footballfan80 says: Mar 24, 2012 8:18 PM

    So now the season Freeman had last year was an aberration? And his rookie season was an aberration too? That kind of shoots down the definition of the word aberration no? If you have 2 horrendous seasons out of three, then the good year would be defined as the aberration.

  35. jetfan28 says: Mar 24, 2012 8:21 PM

    Funny how much people killed Sanchez for being terrible last year but won’t say a peep about Freeman yet Sanchez’s numbers were way better than Freeman’s.

    The double standard is ridiculous.

  36. gotampabay52 says: Mar 24, 2012 8:32 PM

    All those that hate on Freeman watch yourselves he had young players around him last yr new oline a true 1st wr watchout Freeman had a 10 win season new offencesive coaches watch out

  37. kingmj4891 says: Mar 24, 2012 8:40 PM

    glazerh8er says:
    Mar 24, 2012 7:49 PM
    Put Flacco on last year’s bucs……..for that matter, put T. Brady or Peyton Manning on last year’s bucs……for that matter put Drew Brees or Aron Rogers on last year’s bucs. Do you realize that a rookie outside linebacker from the Pac-10 was our defensive play caller (MIKE LB)??? An unnamed scout from another team in the NFC South told our beat magazine that the only players on our team that would even start on theirs are D. Joseph and A. Clayborn, and he couldn’t tell on Freeman because the team is just so bad.
    ___________________________________

    The Colts proved last year that P Manning can make a bad team a 13-3 team and playoff contender year in and out.

  38. milkmandanimal says: Mar 24, 2012 8:43 PM

    That team last year quit like no team I have ever seen; the Jaguars had scored 20 points once all season, and they hung 41 on the Bucs late season. The offensive line stood around, they had no back that could block, and the WRs appeared to be pretty much jogging down the field; Freeman at least was trying. Yeah, lots of picks on lots of forced balls, but he was one of the only guys on the team who appeared to care last year. That’s at least worth something.

    Will he be good? I still think so, based on how well he played in 2010, and the fact that he kept fighting in 2011. Last year’s team ended the year as possible the worst team I’d ever seen (I think the 0-16 Lions would have smoked them), and the part of me still capable of optimism really likes the fact that Freeman at least TRIED. Really nobody else did.

  39. hus10188 says: Mar 24, 2012 8:47 PM

    Replace the word ‘confident’ with HOPE on your headline, unlike most I certainly didn’t think his 2010 season was all that great, certainly not enough to catapult him to instant top 10 QB status, like most were proclamating, even though that Bucs regular season schedule was weak as hell.

  40. raideralex99 says: Mar 24, 2012 8:55 PM

    Freeman passed for more yds in 2011 than 2010 … the only difference was … he played against good teams in 2011 and looked like a backup QB. The sign of a good QB is that he can play good against playoffs teams not just last place teams. Since the Bucs get the last place schedule this year … Freeman’s play will improve and we will have to listen to all the hype on how great he is.

  41. kingpel says: Mar 24, 2012 9:08 PM

    I agree that Freeman is better than he showed last year, but that defense FLAT OUT SUCKED. I’m not sure that getting rid of Coach Radio will be enough to make those dogs play any better.

  42. bigbluenationdb says: Mar 24, 2012 9:30 PM

    He is awful. In 2010 he won 10 games and didn’t beat one team with a record greater then .500. Average at best.

  43. andyreiddoublecheeseburger says: Mar 24, 2012 10:27 PM

    Most of the Bucs’ history has been an aberration

  44. nflfollower says: Mar 24, 2012 10:37 PM

    Glazerh8er—–are you saying you would rather have josh freeman than stafford? Just looking for clarification. Because of staffords 41 TDs last year, 25 were to guys not named Calvin Johnson. Take away ALL 16 TDs he threw to megatron, and he still has 9 more than freeman. At this point, saying you would take freeman over stafford because stafford has megatron is not a credible statement by any stretch of the imagination. Don’t forget he was one of 4 qbs in the history of the game to throw for 5000, and he was 23 yrs old.

  45. nflfollower says: Mar 24, 2012 10:45 PM

    And to the seemingly never ending stream of posters who make ignorant comments about stafford “just throwing it as far as he can to Calvin Johnson all the time”, you obviously haven’t watched stafford play week in and week out, you only see calvins highlights. There is not a single GM in the league who would take freeman over stafford. Not one, and we all know it. So just give it a rest, we will see if freeman can avoid sucking again this year now that he has tons of talent to distribute the football to, including what should be a great o line.

  46. glazerh8er says: Mar 24, 2012 11:08 PM

    Stafford was good this year. Let’s see if he can stay healthy. Josh has played through both a broken thumb on his throwing hand and a nasty laceration on his throwing hand. Brett Favre said the thumb injury was the hardest in his career to play through. Stafford is a good QB. I think in 2010 there were a lot of GMs that would have said Freeman was the best of the 3. I’m telling you, no one would have done well on last year’s Buc’s team. Milkmandanimal said it best, that was possibly the worst defense in NFL history on the field at the end of last year. In the last game of the season it looked like ATL was going to put up 80 pts, not to mention Kreg Lumpin and Kellen Winslow knocked each other down running the wrong routes during a play. If you follow the local media in Tampa, you realize how epic the ineptitude of our coaching staff was, and how we were basically fielding a college team on D. Impossible to rally troops in those circumstances.

  47. strokeytheclown says: Mar 24, 2012 11:39 PM

    At one point I was a Raheem guy. But it apparent that he was in over his head. Kinda hard to coach when you wanna be one with your players. He had no ballsac at all. Players don’t respond to kindness, they need to be OBEDIENT

  48. montsta says: Mar 24, 2012 11:41 PM

    If you honest to god think Freeman is a top 5 QB, and that you’d rather have him over Stafford or Newton, then your opinion on anything football related is irrelevant and you need to be watching Desperate Housewives on Sundays instead of the NFL.

  49. TylerHills says: Mar 24, 2012 11:42 PM

    He was on a bad team (I mean did any player for tampa have a good season?) and only had 1 decent WR. Lets just give him the benefit of the doubt and see how he does this year with added help around him. He is still a young and very talented quarterback, he should be fine.

  50. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins says: Mar 25, 2012 1:40 AM

    The problem wasn’t the lockout itself, it was Raheem and especially Olson’s reaction to it. They were using it as an excuse before the season even started and continued throughout. The offense was dramatically oversimplified, to the point where you could practically call almost every play yourself…and how much easier for NFL defenses? It’s also worth noting that more than half of his INTs came on throws right up the middle, most of which were to Winslow.

    Meanwhile, Newton and Dalton had offensive coordinators that actually mixed things up by calling an unpredictable game and using their QB’s strengths while minimizing their weaknesses. Let’s hope Sullivan does the same, because this offense isn’t great but certainly has the talent and potential to confuse some teams if the players are utilized properly.

  51. darthhitman says: Mar 25, 2012 8:55 AM

    geddyn says: Mar 24, 2012 7:07 PM

    Matthew Stafford has Megatron. Not a fair comparison there. That isn’t to say Stafford isn’t good, because he is, but Freeman would put up similar stats if he had a receiver of Johnson’s caliber and an offensive coordinator who didn’t have his head clear up his rear end.

    WOW, the ignorance never ceases. “Stafford has Megatron” has been used as an excuse as to why Stafford has looked good on the field, was in pro bowl consideration, why he was snubbed as the 3rd QB in the pro bowl, why he was snubbed as a pro bowl alternate. Go back fools, check how many QB’s Megatron has had throw him the ball. How many of ‘em put up 5k? Just ask Marshall Faulk, if you have Megatron you’d best throw for 5k. How many QBs do it that had him? You think it’s of coincidence Calvin’s best year [remember, coming into the season we was behind Fitz and Andre and most boards AND not even in CC’s top 5] came in Stafford’s first full 1? You people will reach for for an excuse on anything. Most comebacks of 12+ points in a season, largest road comeback victory in history…I think Stafford played some role in that. Lastly, I don’t think Montana was that good or Young. They both had Rice, arguably the greatest PLAYER in history. He won a ring with both of them and played in another SB with Gannon under center. Don’t argue it either, there is much more evidence Rice makes the QB than Calvin

  52. ezmagic says: Mar 25, 2012 2:34 PM

    The bucs offensive will improve. It’s the D that scares the hell out of me.

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