Josh Freeman and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are one of the hardest teams to gauge thus far in 2012. Running back Doug Martin has obviously taken the NFL by storm with six touchdowns, 100 yards receiving and 386 yards rushing in just the last two weeks. However, Josh Freeman’s improvements are evident and deserve to be pointed out.
The 6’6′ 240 pound quarterback garnered plenty of attention as the 17th overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft. Furthermore, at twenty four years old and in his fourth NFL season Freeman has already matched his 16 touchdowns of last season through only eight games. Coming out of Kansas State University Freeman was likened plenty to Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Thus far in 2012 that comparison is right on the money. Roethlisberger a 6’5 240lbs. QB has thrown for 16 touchdowns as well, and thrown one less interception than Freeman with four. Freeman threw 22 interceptions last season. Big Ben has thrown for 156 more yards than Freeman in 2012 and enjoys a 101.1 QB rating to Freeman’s 95.1. The two are definitely comparable and I think that is a testament to Freeman’s maturity as an NFL QB.
Even with a 1-3 month of September the Buccaneers are in second place in the NFC South with a 4-4 record. Two winnable games at home against the San Diego Chargers and at the Carolina Panthers in weeks 10 and 11 are followed by an enormous match up against Atlanta on November 25th. Best case scenario, the Buccaneers would be 6-4 going toe to toe with the division leading Atlanta Falcons in what will be the Buccaneer’s biggest game all season.
At the end of the day, an upstart Tampa Bay team has turned heads in 2012. Rookie RB Doug Martin has become a fantasy football idol in the previous weeks, however Freeman’s growth behind center is evident to anyone who is interested.