Thursday, October 24, 2013

Quarterbacking Sins: A Josh Freeman Confessional, Part 1

WARNING: This transcript is not for the faint of heart. It is a gruesome confessional given by Josh Freeman on his quarterbacking sins, which are many and varied, and may scar your football watching experience forever. They are a lesson to those who would embark on the strait and narrow path of quarterbacking discipleship. May you learn from Josh and be better prepared to throw frozen ropes in hail of Mary.


Josh: Oh Father, I have sinned.

The Good Father (TGF): It's okay, Josh. Tell me your heinous acts of callous quarterbacking and all will be forgiven.

Josh: I'm sailing throws. I'm sailing throws beyond, above, and wide of my receivers. I think I have a problem.

TGF: All is well. It sounds like you just have some issues with your throwing mechanics. Nothing The Good Father can't fix.

Images from this last week's game against the Giants, Freeman's first start as a Viking.

TGF: Let's look at the tape, Josh. You see those yellow lines? They're not lasers shooting out of your head - they show your line of sight, Madden '06 style. The blue lines show where your feet and hips are pointed as you begin your throwing motion. In each of these cases your eyes pointed in one direction but your feet are set in another. The first law of quarterbacking reads: he who's feet and hips do not point with his eyes will throw incomplete. The second is like unto it: he who's hips turn parallel to the line of scrimmage will throw wildly inaccurate passes.

Josh: But I've always thrown with my feet pointed every which way, using my arm to muscle the ball through the air. It's who I am. I was the Muscle Hamster before the Muscle Hamster.

TGF: Well, you're right about one thing. You have been doing this for a while, with the Muscle Hamster as a witness.

Following images from the Buc's Week 1 loss to the Jets.

TGF: Here you are calmly scanning the field despite some issues with the pocket. Your right tackle has been pushed upfield and Calvin Pace (red arrow) has you in his sights. But look at that yellow circle: a clear space towards where you have a double team that you can slide to for safety.

Josh: Don't say slide, man. That's for wusses.

TGF: But look at your hips: pointed away from the field. The problem? You don't have a safety valve on the sideline, unless you think that ref is going to catch the ball. Now, I get it. Pace has you spooked, your line is crap after all the MRSA stuff, you may need to take off in that direction, and you're not sure there's an opening to throw to.

TGF: A second later you still have the option to move forward and to your left.

Josh: That linebacker dawdling on the 15 yard line doesn't want a piece of the Josh Freeman Experience!

TGF: You have found your man and are rearing to pass - no reason to slide if you get the ball out quick. But you do need to move your hips: they're still pointed to the sideline.

TGF: Because this throw is all arm and no body, it floats into the end zone. Good thing the nickel corner has his head turned; otherwise it's a relatively simple task for him to undercut the throw and pick you off.

Josh: But he was too slow, bro! That's a touchdown in a tight spot. The Jets don't want to mess with Josh!

TGF: It worked out for you this time but it's about to get uglier.

Josh: It gets worse?

Following images from the Buc's 2012 Week 16 loss to the Rams; the loss came at the end of a 5-game losing streak that turned a 6-4 team into a cruel joke.

Josh: Oh I remember that pass! I was trying to throw a deep out, right? How'd it turn out again?

TGF: You actually start off fairly good. Your hips are pointed down the field, as are your eyes. When the yellow and blue lines cross, that's a good thing.

Josh: I though Ghostbusters said to never cross the lines?

TGF: Things start to get wacky. You step back with your left foot, opening your hips towards the sideline. Looks like you're anticipating that rush again.

Josh: Awesome opossum! The muscle opossum is always a step ahead.

TGF: Watch the flight of this ball, how it follows your eyes. No looking off the safety here. But that's not the issue: your hips are pointed to the flat. Judging by how you're feet, knees, hips, waist, and shoulders should you should rotate, this pass should be to the flat about five yards deep. That would be of course if you threw with the correct biomechanical chain.

Josh: I don't do any of that Tom Brady dink and dunk. Go downfield, brother! Look at that nice arc I put on the ball. Mighty fine. Mighty fine.

TGF: In case you can't see, the yellow circle is the ball. You placed it right on the sideline in the receiver's hands. Problem is, because you tried to muscle the ball instead of using the biomechanics mentioned above, the ball sailed to the sideline and the receiver was St. Louis' cornerback. Look at your receiver: he is five yards deeper than the ball. Even with your arm strength, you still couldn't totally overcome the fact that your hips were pointed to the sideline and not down the field.

Josh: But that pass was a touchdown wasn't it? That dude ran it all the way in from the 40! Here's a picture of me giving him some good game as he scores. Greg Schiano is always talking about giving the guys the ball in space, and hot dang, it worked!

TGF: Let's take a look at some other plays...

Following images are from the Bucc's 18-24 loss to the Bears in 2011 that was the start of a 10 game losing streak that got Raheem Morris fired. I know, it was Raheem Morris, but still. And have you noticed the trend? Long losing streaks coinciding with bad coaching and shaky QB play...

TGF: This starts well. It's man coverage (blue) with a safety over and linebackers playing zone underneath (yellow). Nothing you can't handle. The WR takes the top off so you have the inside receiver working one-on-one in the middle. A more advanced offense would have a crosser (red) for a levels concept, occupying the linebackers and stretching the defensive vertically as well as horizontally. But I digress.

Josh: Levels? Sounds like a video game.

TGF: You see the safety over the top so your read is the inside receiver. The coverage is on his outside hip so he gives a little head fake to the corner and works inside to the post. Your job is to throw a rope between the linebacker zones - this is difficult but there's not a lot of pressure and it should be doable. And your eyes are pointed in the right direction...

TGF: ...but unfortunately your feet are still behind. In the split second it takes you to make the read inside, you should have shuffled your feet to point inside. You're very, very close, but even a little bit of difference causes the ball to sail left...

TGF: ... where it's picked by the LB in zone coverage. The problem here isn't necessarily that the ball was picked (though that is bad, too). The problem is the throw was off, and even removing the LB, it would have likely be incomplete anyway as your receiver is breaking inside with a clear step on the coverage. You can't waste throws like this to open receivers inside the red zone, where the defense has a natural advantage (less ground to cover).

Josh: Man, you know those zone coverages are whack. Give my some nice man-to-man and I'll show you how it's done.

Following is from the Buccaneers' 2011 loss to Jacksonville in the middle of that long losing streak. Jacksonville was 3-9 at that point.

Josh: Whoa, wait. I remember this game! We were dominated the Jags, and I had this highlight:

Josh: That's me diving into the end zone to cap a 13 yard scramble and give us a 14-0 lead. How 'bout them apples!?

Josh: And here I am challenging man coverage! Let me take this one. They had a deep cover 2 with 3 man corners underneath. My eyes and feet are both pointed in the same direction. The pocket is pretty clean despite 6 rushers. I have two receivers running deep routes and my read is the z on a sideline route. No clue why my coaches keep dialing routes to the sideline that require more precision, but I'm up to the challenge. I also don't know why we don't have anyone running to the play-side flat seeing as we only needed 4 yards for the 1st down and my receivers have taken the safeties deep. We did need a lot of guys in to block as I had just been strip-sacked for a Jags TD. And I guess Raheem just had so much confidence in me to let me gun it. Loved me some Raheem Morris.

Josh: The corner is covering aggressively to the inside and his back is turned. I figure it's a good time for the old back-shoulder throw. I'm trying to put the ball on the sideline to let the receiver shield it with his body. No time to right my feet though, the rush is coming. Wish me luck.

Josh: And it's caught! Does that guy in teal play for us? I haven't seen him in the locker room lately. The pass was perfect though. Sailed right in there on the receiver's front shoulder letting him shield it from the guy draped over his back. Wait that doesn't seem right. Isn't that Mike Williams back there? Why doesn't he have the ball? I thought I threw it to the sideline - how did it turn into a duck to the middle of the field? Am I a duck? Father, maybe there is something to this getting your hips around thing...

This has gotten far too long and will be continued in Part 2.

#QBCorner #YouMakeTheCalls #YMTC

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