Much of the story of Josh Freeman’s sharp drop between his first and second seasons can be told with one difference between those two years.
As a rookie, Freeman threw six interceptions. In his second season, Freeman threw 22 picks and that was a big reason why the Bucs dropped from 10 wins to six wins. It’s also a big reason why there’s a new coaching staff in Tampa this year.
One of those new coaches is working to turn Freeman back in the right direction. Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan spoke to Sirius XM Radio about his plans for Freeman this offseason. Cutting down on those interceptions is right at the top of the list.
“When an incompletion is not only OK, but it’s a good thing,” Sullivan said. “When a sack is not only OK, it’s a good thing. It’s all about protecting the football and making those smart decisions.”
The Bucs may have helped make one of those smart decisions for Freeman when they traded tight end Kellen Winslow. According to ESPN, 10 of Freeman’s 22 interceptions came on passes intended for Winslow. Freeman might have been over-reliant on Winslow last season, he targeted him 111 times, and defenses adjusted to the tandem.
Freeman’s problems didn’t come just on throws to Winslow last season, but changing the mix at receiver could still have a positive effect on Freeman. Especially since Vincent Jackson is one of the new additions.