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West Coast Scheme May Be Playing To Freeman’s True Strength

Posted Jul 6, 2010 by Roy Cummings

Updated Jul 6, 2010 at 12:39 PM

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TAMPA – The Bucs decision to revert to a West Coast scheme on offense may seem a bit odd given quarterback Josh Freeman’s big arm and big accuracy issues. A look back at what Freeman did during his nine starts last year indicates, however, that Freeman may be at his best working in a scheme made up mostly of short crossing routes.

Of the 291 throws Freeman made last year, 25 of them were thrown to a receiver waiting behind the line of scrimmage and 148 of them were thrown to a receiver running less than 10 yards downfield. Of those 173 throws Freeman completed 112 of them, including four for touchdowns, while being intercepted just once.

That works out to a completion percentage of 64.7 and a passer rating of 88 on what was more than likely a lot of traditional West Coast type of plays. And that’s a far better result than what Freeman got when he was asked to throw intermediate or deep routes.

On passes thrown between 11 and 20 yards downfield Freeman completed just 42-percent of his throws (34 of 81), and with 12 interceptions and only three touchdowns on such throws he compiled a passer rating of just 39. Not only that, but the more Freeman aired the ball out, the more difficulty he had.

Freeman threw 34 passes between 21 and 40 yards downfield, but he completed only 11 of them for a 32.3 completion percentage. And more often than not, Freeman was intercepted on those bombs, getting picked off five times while throwing just three touchdown passes.

Now, it’s not atypical for a passer to have more difficulty completing passes deep downfield, but these stats are an indication that while Freeman’s big arm can be a big asset, his ability to steadily move the chains may be the thing that allows him and the Bucs to enjoy some success.