Reporting Justin Pawlowski
Sometimes, I turn into a machine of just cranking out as many quality articles and opinion pieces as I can. Today, I want to take a step back and just write from my mind and my heart.
This week has been disturbing. As much as any sports talk host would love a civil war among fans of one team in their town, I do not. I find it troubling that it seems impossible to have an honest conversation about Josh Freeman in this town without someone getting upset or offended. Shame on you.
Focus on this statement…WE ALL WANT JOSH FREEMAN TO SUCCEED.
The reason we debate and talk about all angles surrounding the Buccaneers quarterback is because the Buccaneers are a franchise that has not won a playoff game since they won their Super Bowl more than 10 years ago. We want Josh to succeed so that the Bucs will succeed. We need Josh to succeed so that our franchise will win again!
Josh Freeman should not tear us all apart like Jon Gruden did. Josh Freeman should be bringing us all closer together.
Josh Freeman is one of 32 starting NFL quarterbacks in the world. Is it ok to criticize him? You’re damn straight it is! Other than New Orleans, Denver, Green Bay, and Boston, every NFL city is doing and saying similar things to what we might be saying in Tampa Bay.
In Atlanta, there are fans who doubt that Matt Ryan can get the Falcons to win a Super Bowl, even with the amazing weapons he has.
In New York, Giants fans know Eli Manning has won them 2 Super Bowls, but I guarantee you that there are fans who still complain about his amount of interceptions.
In Charlotte, Panthers fans wonder if their elite quarterback will ever lead them to a winning record.
It happens everywhere.
It seems bigger here because it’s closer to us. Also, it is bigger here because it’s a bigger decision. The fate of the next several years is at stake with the Bucs pending decision on Josh Freeman
On one side, Freeman can go out and put up similar stats to last season and receive a long-term deal from the Buccaneers. This deal might restrict the Buccaneers from future spending on free agents and eventually lead to the departure of key members of the roster due to cap constraints. If Freeman reaches the potential that everyone has been waiting for him to reach, then it is worth it!
“He’s got a huge upside,” NFL Network’s Kurt Warner told Booger and Rich Thursday afternoon. “We’ve seen some of that upside at different points and times of his career.”
Unfortunately, here we are, entering year five of Freeman’s NFL career and we still just don’t know if his elite potential will ever be reached. Does this make us “Freeman haters” if we express this concern? I hope not.
I’m a Bucs fan, not just a Josh Freeman fan. As a matter of fact, we’ve seen so many players come and go. That statement can go for anyone on the roster. Some will stick around longer than others, but in the end, I just want players playing for my organization that are going to make the Buccaneers relevant again.
While most of the talk this week has swirled around Josh Freeman, I have tried numerous times to express my displeasure with the philosophy of Greg Schiano in playing Freeman in such a limited fashion this preseason. Freeman has only played more snaps than Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III through two games this preseason. Hell, RG3 isn’t even playing due to injury! For someone like Freeman, who is still trying to find his way and tap his unlimited potential, his coach is doing him a disservice by giving Mike Glennon the valuable reps that Freeman has missed. The unbalanced snaps have also led to some guessing by experts.
“No coach says this publicly nor should they, we don’t know how they [the Bucs] feel about their quarterbacks,” Greg Cosell of NFL Films told Fan Interference on Thursday morning during his weekly appearance. “The coaching staff might feel Mike Glennon is the guy they want to be their quarterback and they want to get him more work because Glennon has played clearly many more snaps than a quarterback in Freeman who clearly needs work. All you can do is try and interpret what they are doing.”
Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees Tom Brady, and more have all player twice as much as Freeman through two games in this preseason. Huh?
If you’re curious if Greg Cosell was surprised at the limited amount of reps Freeman has gotten in games this preseason, he was emphatic about his answer, “YES!”
The best case scenario is that Freeman excels with extra playing time in the 3rd preseason game, reaches his potential, has a career year in 2013 sending the Bucs to the postseason, and the Bucs give him a long-term contract which would make him a Buccaneer for life.
We all want a winner. Winning unifies a city. Now it’s time for Josh to unify all of us!
A Bucs fan can hope, can’t he?