There’s plenty of reason’s that many want to anoint third year quarterback, Josh Freeman as an elite player and mention him in the same breathe with some of the games current greats. For starters Freeman has 7 fourth quarter come-from-behind wins under his belt in only 25 starts. He finished the 2010 season on a high, during the final four weeks of the regular season his 71.6% completion percentage, 9 TDs, 0 Ints, 9.26 Yards Per Attempt, 127.8 QB rating and 10.91 Adjusted Yards Per Attempt (factoring in TDs & Ints) led the league.
There’s not a single statistical measure by which he was not the best quarterback over that span, except for yardage where he ranked 6th with 1,009 passing yards.
Offensive coordinator Greg Olson who spoke with Anwar S. Richardson, of the Tampa Tribune knows consistency is the key though.
“You’ve got to be able to backup the numbers in multiple years,” Olson told Richardson of the Tampa Tribune. “That’s how you get mentioned in the same sentence with Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.
“(Freeman) had a good year last year and we expect him to improve upon last year and put up similar type numbers. When you do that in multiple seasons, then you deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence.”
During those final four games of 2010 the 6-foot-6, 250-pound Freeman showed a maturity well beyond his years. Which is why so many believe the sky is the limit for the unassuming quarterback.
Ex-Buc and current NFL annalist Warren Sapp, on NFL Total Access a few months back predicted that this season Freeman would be in the mix for league MVP. However, head coach Raheem Morris, isn’t ready to anoint Freeman with any label, just yet.
“Those are the things the coach doesn’t have to say,” Morris told the Tribune. “Those are the things I can believe, agree one way or the other, then just watch him go do it and let him go prove himself. You don’t have to anoint guys like that. Those guys anoint themselves. And he’s certainly doing that right, and he’s certainly in the process of doing that.”
Must young quarterback struggle in the fourth quarter, but Freeman’s 97.4 quarterback rating in the fourth quarter. Was the seventh-best in the league, he completed 62.6 percent of his fourth-quarter throws and had an 8-3 touchdown to interception ratio.
Elite level NFL quarterbacks routinely earn their money with their ability to move an offense in the fourth quarter, during crunch time. Freeman has exhibited that on a regular basis. He also has developed a great ability to push the ball downfield, and avoid costly turnovers which is an important part of a young quarterback’s growth.
“No doubt, he’s been coming into his own, but he’s about to take over,” Bucs tight end Kellen Winslow told the Tampa Tribune. “The sky is the limit for this guy.”