Josh Freeman

Another Day, Another Nail-Biting Last Second Win

October 25, 2010 at 01:03pm by Scott   •  3 Comments »

Kellen Winslow carrying an American flag on Military Appreciation Day? Some jokes just write themselves.
There isn’t a whole lot new to say about Josh Freeman that hasn’t already been said in previous weeks. Everything he does is slowly getting better and he has the ability to turn up the intensity and urgency when the game is on the line. He got away with a couple passes that should have been intercepted, but I guess if we don’t count those with other quarterbacks, it’s not fair to hold them again Josh. He didn’t throw a pick, he scrambled when he had to scramble and made 40 yards out of it, and made the play to win the game with ten seconds left. And you get the feeling when watching him that you’re not seeing some flash in the pan who’s going to have a great few games and then fizzle out, especially knowing his work ethic. I think, as Bucs fans, we’re really going to be happy with this pick for a long time.

Okay, so LeGarrette Blount is the new starting tailback now? Can we all just say yes and move on? Since the start of the season, no one has known who to blame for the poor rushing numbers, the running backs or the offensive line. Then yesterday, with a line that is supposed to be significantly weaker than in weeks past, Blount rushes 11 times for 72 yards (6.5 YPC) and has more than that called back on penalties, including a 46-yarder. Meanwhile, Cadillac Williams rushed 4 times for 12 yards (3.0 YPC) with a long of 10. Blount just runs tougher and harder than Cadillac. Maybe it’s the knees, maybe Blount was just born better, I don’t care. This was a “prove it” type game for Blount and he did. Put Cadillac in on obvious passing situations so he can pass-block and catch balls out of the backfield and make Blount the workhorse back. If Cadillac starts at tailback next week, the Glazers should make Raheem Morris walk home from Arizona.

Cadillac Williams was the leading receiver yesterday with 8 receptions, including the game-winning touchdown where he never stopped working to get open. You’re got to admire that. Mike Williams and Sammie Stroughter each came up big with drive-saving catches. Stroughter’s 18-yard bob-and-weave deal was the most spectacular of the day. Kellen Winslow caught 5 for 44 yards, but had a couple slip through his hands, including one in the endzone which, in retrospect, was probably a good thing because it would have given the Rams more time to tie or win if Winslow had scored earlier.

Yesterday was two separate games for the offensive line. Before the half, Freeman was sacked three times and the Bucs had 37 yards rushing, 29 of which were from Freeman running for his life. Then in the second half, Freeman isn’t sacked at all and the Bucs pour on 87 rushing yards despite being down 11 points at halftime. So good for them for picking up their play after some halftime adjustments. Too bad the penalties didn’t end at the half. It’s no exaggeration to say that if they hadn’t had all those penalties, the Bucs could have won by 10. Here, let me list them:

James Lee, holding
Jeremy Zuttah, holding
Davin Joseph, false start
Donald Penn, holding
Ted Larsen, holding
Davin Joseph, false start
Ted Larsen, false start
Jeremy Trueblood, illegal block (this one was a killer)
James Lee, unnecessary roughness

Add Ronde Barber‘s offsides that gave the Rams a first down when they had already settled for a field goal, and you see my point. I mean, come on, the Bucs had first and goal at the Rams 6 that turned into second and goal at the Rams 35 thanks to two penalties and a sack. The Bucs eventually took a field goal. A question to consider is whether penalties are a coaching problem or a player problem. Obviously the coaches to teach the players to get penalties, but are they doing enough to teach discipline? We won’t discuss it now, but it’s something to think about. START THINKING ABOUT IT!

The defensive line showed some improvement, but still gave up 110 yards to Steven Jackson and only sacked Sam Bradford once. The Bucs didn’t get any tackles for loss and only hit Bradford three times. The good news is that Greg White‘s sack caused a fumble that set up the aforementioned drive that somehow lost 30 yards. It seemed like the gameplan was to stop the run, which they didn’t exactly do, and make Bradford beat them, which he almost did. I know that doesn’t sound like improvement, but keep in mind how terrible they were last week. By the way, Gerald McCoy‘s renewed dedication to recklessness netted him one solo tackle and one assist. It’s not a lot of production, but he made it through the offensive line a few times. He just never got to the runner. But I think he’s coming along.

I kind of poked fun at E.J. Biggers in the offseason because Raheem was praising him as this great talent and he had spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve and hadn’t done anything in the NFL up to that point. Well, I think we all know by now that I have no idea what I’m talking about, so it should come as no surprise that Biggers is having a great year and had an awesome game yesterday. He stayed on Brandon Gibson‘s hip all day and had a beautiful diving pass break up. If this really is Barber’s last season, the Bucs may have found his replacement and are getting him some great experience early on.

Connor Barth is back on track now and will definitely get a nomination for Special Teams Player of the Week. You heard it here first. Those guys love it when a kicker makes 4+ field goals. Robert Malone had another solid outing and the kick returns weren’t bad, either. Micheal Spurlock had a 35-yarder and Preston Parker started the game with a 27-yarder.

Okay, this thing is taking so much longer than I thought it would, so I’m ending it abruptly here so I can get on to other stories and some actual work. We’ll continue the conversation in the comments. Let me just say that you can question the quality of the wins and how the losses were blowouts and make some strong cases as to why the Bucs’ 4-2 record is misleading. But last year’s team, with the same schedule, would have gone 0-6 or 1-5 tops. Everything that is wrong can be corrected. Be proud.

3 Comments to “Another Day, Another Nail-Biting Last Second Win”

Slow Joe

Slow Joe (October 25, 2010 at 02:35pm:

I think (hope) yesterday’s penalties were an aberration. One thing the Bucs have been doing well this year is avoiding penalties. Every team is going to have one bad game with the yellow flags. Hopefully yesterday was it.

It also didn’t help that we had the J.V. offensive line in there. Notice where a lot of the penalties came from? Trueblood’s was the worst, but I don’t think it’s fair to say that “it didn’t affect the play”. The player Trueblood blocked in the back could have tripped up Blount from behind.

I’m still not sure Morris will make Blount the starting tailback next week. But it’s really irrelevant; Blount will get most of the carries. It’s a testament to Caddy’s work ethic that he could become the 3rd down back. He was an awful receiver early in his career, and he really worked to improve on those skills.

Prediction: Caddy isn’t a Buc next year. While he’ll be a good third down back the rest of this season, most NFL teams want a young jitterbug that can make plays in space in that role. Caddy isn’t that guy; and if Kareem Huggins can come back healthy, he really is. Besides, I think Caddy is a free agent after this year. To me, it’s a shame that he’s already considered “washed up” before he ever got to his second contract.


Sander (October 25, 2010 at 02:44pm:

Pewter Report jumped on Gerald McCoy for racking up just one tackle and one assist and listed him as one of the two most disappointing players in yesterday’s game.

Usually I really like what Pewter Report does, but this time they couldn’t be more wrong. Gerald McCoy was quick off the ball and constantly getting past guards and into the backfield. He looked much more explosive than last game. Most disappointing my ass.

The reaction to the penalties is also overblown. We were the second least penalized team coming into the game, I’m just going to say that this was a freak occurence or a consequence of injuries forcing rookies into a starting role until they prove otherwise. One game does not a discipline issue make.

Mark S

Mark S (October 25, 2010 at 08:29pm:

It seems like Freeman studies the defense, learns all their tricks and leads that last come back drive with the confidence that he has them.

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