It would seem, that we here at BucsCentral.com are beginning to sound like a broken record, but yet another week goes by and the team finds a new way to lose a football game. Having the second ranked offense in the redzone this season the Bucs completely feel apart against the Panthers. Rookie Josh Freeman was careless with the football and cost the Bucs a possible road win. Now there is a fine line too be walked with regards to being fearless or careless with the football and this past Sunday Freeman was careless when it came to protecting the football.
Greg Olson – Olson who has been quick to abandon the run this season stuck with it and the team produced 154 yards rushing and 469-total yards of offense, the fifth highest total in Franchise history. So while some fans will want to pile on Olson, the team moved the football with relative ease, the Panthers began the day with the third best pass defense in the NFL allowing 181.3 yards per game, but gave up 321 passing yards to a rookie. So while the team did not win or produce in the redzone due to carelessness, Olson deserves credit for a solid game plan and playing calling against the Panthers.
Third Down Efficiency – Against the Panthers, the Bucs converted 4-of-14 third down attempts for a 28% conversion rate. On the season the Bucs are 50-of-161 for 31% and rank 28th in the NFL in converting third downs.
Josh Freeman – Freeman had his worst outing as a professional. Throwing five interceptions in Panthers territory, it showed carelessness on his part. But many expected a game like this would happen. Now, Freeman will have to show the resilience to bounce back after a horrid outing. All eyes will be on Freeman next week against the Jets to see how he mentally handles the pressure the Jets will undoubtedly bring. Depending on how Freeman handles the pressure and his ability to have a solid outing will go a long way in his development for the future.
Going back to his draft profile from NFLdraftscout.com who provides draft content for CBSSports.com, NFL.com and the USA Today Freeman’s lowest ranking out of any of the measurable categories was his reading of defenses.
Reading Defenses: Freeman is still a work in progress in this area. He lacks a good feel for progressions and can be a second late anticipating his target coming out of a break. He is tall moving in the pocket, but despite having the height to scan the field, he fails to recognize backside pressure. Adequate making decisions and will be sacked when he holds the ball too long. A big concern is his penchant for forcing the ball into coverage. In particular, zone coverages have confounded Freeman and he will eyeball his primary target. Early in 2008, he was making fine read progressions, but his consistency steadily faltered. When he throws into traffic, it is because he struggles to read coverage. GRADE: 5.6