Josh Freeman, 2nd year quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took the league by storm this past NFL season. He showed with hard offseason work and proper preparation, huge strides can be made. This past season Freeman threw for 3, 451 yards and 25 touchdown passes, while only nothing 6 interceptions. He showed an uncanny ability to escape pressure and improvise on the run by rushing for 365 yards. Fans who were skeptical of the 17th pick out of Kansas State, finally saw why Mark Dominik and Raheem Morris would trade up to get him in the 2009 draft. At just 23 years of age it makes you think what he can do in the seasons to come.
Freeman established himself as not only the best quarterback of the 2009 draft class, but as one of the best young quarterbacks in the league. While Freeman’s first year in the league was mistake-driven, he showed with talented players around him he could produce huge numbers. Take Freeman off the Buccaneers roster and Mike Williams and Legarrete Blount never produce as they did as rookies. The offense doesn’t perform as crisp as it does, protecting and winning games for the battered defense. Take Freeman off of the Bucs and they don’t win 10 games, maybe 4 at the most. Freeman made the team go in 2010 and will only continue to grow as the team does also.
The most important aspect to come of Freeman’s season was him establishing himself as the centerpiece for the team to build around. With Raheem saying that “it’s all about 5 for us” only proves the point further. Freeman didn’t play like a second year starter last season, he played like a 5 year veteran. When fans think of “Franchise Quarterbacks” they think of stars such as Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Even the much maligned Ben Roethlisberger and Phillip Rivers are seen in this way. Franchise quarterbacks all have things in common that’s the ability to lead, the drive to carry and rally their teammates. But the most important aspect of these mentioned players is their ability to lead their teams back and win. Winning on the road is something every big-time quarterback should do and freeman won four out of five away.
Not saying that Freeman is the caliber of those players yet. But at that age in the same system with the same young squad around him, maybe getting there won’t be that far off in the future.