Trend Spotting: Freeman's Fall in Tampa
The end is nigh for Josh Freeman’s tenure as the starting quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and while plenty of pundits will point to his missing the team photo as an example of him being a “bad leader,” the much bigger problem is that he’s been a bad quarterback. In a nine-game stretch in 2012, Freeman tossed 20 touchdowns against only 4 interceptions, and that relatively small sample size made it appear that Freeman was on the verge of a significant breakout. It was for this reason that many fantasy owners waited until late in their drafts, figuring that the undervalued Freeman would outperform many of the quarterbacks selected before him.
But when one looks at the 2012 season in aggregate, it’s clear that rather than Freeman (-3.9) breaking out, he was instead carried by the strong play of top receivers Vincent Jackson (+24.5) and Mike Williams (+11.7) along with a very solid offensive line. To understand how significant Jackson’s and Williams’ PFF ratings were – and how bad Freeman was – it’s important to establish a baseline for what’s expected by looking elsewhere around the league.