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ESPN's Ron Jaworski on Josh Freeman

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • October 18, 2013 - 2:30 PM

ESPN's Ron Jaworski had some good analysis of what went wrong for Josh Freeman in Tampa Bay and what he will need to do to succeed in Minnesota. It's not all positive, but the key takeaway is that Freeman has the potential -- according to Jaws -- to succeed here. This is from the "insider" portion of ESPN.com, but we'll sneak behind the wall for a couple of snips. If you are an Insider, here is the link:

As we know, the quarterback gets too much credit and takes too much blame for most situations on offense. So let me start by saying Freeman's position certainly amplified his issues with the Buccaneers. When I re-examined all of Freeman's throws thus far in 2013, I came away confident in my opinion that his benching -- and ensuing release -- wasn't warranted. Moreover, I'm convinced Freeman has it within him to be a good quarterback in the NFL. And he'll prove it in Minnesota.

I'm not about to give Freeman a free pass for the Bucs' struggles, but he was a victim as often as he was a perpetrator.

Start with the pass protection. In Freeman's 103 dropbacks in 2013, he was under pressure on 26 of them, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Compare that to Peyton Manning, who has felt pressure on just 29 of his 245 dropbacks to date in 2013, and you get a decent idea of the uphill battle Freeman was fighting the first three weeks.

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When I look at Freeman, I see prototypical size and arm strength for the quarterback position and he's been more reliable on deep passes than Ponder since the start of 2012, with Freeman completing 32.5 percent of his throws more than 20 yards compared to 24.5 percent for Ponder. Keep in mind that this was with 34 more attempts for Freeman. I think we'll see the Vikings be more successful on some of those deep-shot calls and off play-action with Freeman under center. And that element makes me think he's the best bet to win the job going forward, so long as he makes good decisions with the football.

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