Posted in Feature,General News

Coddling Of Freeman A Detriment To Johnson

by Roland Johnson on September 16, 2009

Johnson being asked to do the impossible

Johnson being asked to do the impossible

The plan all along in Tampa was to have Josh Freeman sit and learn during his rookie season, then it seems Raheem Morris and Mark Dominik figured out that by keeping four quarterbacks on the active roster, that it would severely limit Freeman’s reps during practice throughout the season. Thusly, they traded veteran Luke McCown to ensure Freeman would receive second string reps behind starter Byron Leftwich. The problem with all of this, is that if this was a well thought out plan they would have allowed Freeman to receive those same reps during training camp, in the event something happened to the eventual starter he would have had an accelerated learning curve and be much further along then he presently is.

Now, on the heels of second year quarterback Josh Johnson leapfrogging Freeman to open the season as the team’s primary backup on game days, the team is putting Johnson in a rather precarious situation. Presumably, based on earlier reports Freeman is receiving the bulk of the second team reps, while Johnson is running the scout team. Should an injury happen to Leftwich, the team would put Johnson in a pickle as he isn’t necessarily practicing the Bucs offense and would be asked to execute it in a game with limited to no practice time running it.

Morris has steadfastly and continually reiterated that every decision the team makes is based solely and entirely with the thought of Freeman at the forefront. But the unnatural coddling of Freeman, who Morris proclaims he is married too, seems to be hindering the growth of other young players with little to no care of the damage it could ultimately cause.

If, Johnson is going to be listed as the teams backup on games days then he should also be receiving backup reps in practice until Freeman can push Johnson from backup to third string.

Should Johnson be thrust into the lineup due to injury, the team or in this case Morris is setting the entire organization up for failure.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or Punt One! }

Lee C September 16, 2009 at 10:50 am

That was a great read Roland. I agree that Raheem is just a little too in love with Freeman. In fact, I think he has had a man crush on the kid’s raw talent since he was with him at Kansas State.

Josh Johnson, who I will hereafter refer to as J.J. deserves to be in there taking the 2nd string snaps that they are giving to Freeman. He is a better NFL QB right now anyway, however J.J. failed to impress me in the preseason. He was given many opportunities to move the ball against 2nd and 3rd string defenses and failed to do so. Freeman actually had a little success. So, maybe the plan is to insert J.J. into the middle of the game in case of injury to Leftwich, but make Freeman the starter for the next week. I think this is the likely scenario.

BuccinTex September 16, 2009 at 10:40 pm

Good read. I agree 100% It’s not fair to give the reps to Freeman and expect Josh to be ready to step in as the backup if Leftwich gets injured. He has shown he can play well with limited reps though. He did it all preseason.

Roland Johnson September 16, 2009 at 11:29 pm

It’s strange to think the team, would allow a player who essentially practicing the other teams offense throughout the week, to be the the primary backup on games days.

Unless Freeman, is just not in tune with what Olson is doing. With Johnson having worked closely all last season with Olson I am guessing that maybe Olson just has a higher comfort level with Johnson then he does with Freeman at this point and trust Johnson more then he does Freeman to execute the offense when called upon.

Boid Fink September 17, 2009 at 1:00 am

Have to say, I think Freeman might have more upside in the NFL than Johnson does. But with that said, upside is a theory anyway. None of us get to eval tapes, none of us see the secluded practices. What we see is the Bucs have a first round pick invested in Freeman, who has played at a high level in adverse conditions, who needs time to adjust to the mammoth task of becoming a leader, and of adjusting the windows.

What we have in JJ is raw talent, and is at least worth keeping around as a backup.

Of course the Bucs are going to keep Freeman in their thoughts. HE IS FIRST ROUND! That trumps JJ’s potential any day of the week.

Roland Johnson September 17, 2009 at 1:25 am

Boid – Draft status should not be a judge of potential, we have all seen many times over when many highly touted draft picks flame out and the lower tier players bypass them on depth charts all the time. The problem is the way Morris is handling the situation. Why stump on Johnson’s dream and label him solely as a career backup when he could potential(see there’s that word again)end up when all is said and done be better then that of a first round pick.

Morris has maintained that the best 53 would play, while you are right we dont get to see practice, it would appear that Johnson has been showing something to be placed above Freeman on the game day roster.

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