A new style of offense
As Bucs fans around the globe lose interest in the NFL, or at best don't really care who wins (apart from wanting the Pats to lose) I've looked back at a few games from the last NFL season and have started to wonder...could the Bucs run a new style of offense?
The wildcat craze came and, pretty much, went from the NFL after Miami's initial success. Some teams still run it from time to time but that particular style of Offense largely bypassed the Tampa Bay area.
In my opinion with people like Micheal Spurlock and Earnest Graham who are capable of passing the ball the Bucs missed a bit of a trick in not jumping on the Wildcat bandwagon when it came rolling by. But as those two players will be lucky to even be on the roster next year I think we can put that idea back in its box.
The two men that set my mind racing in terms of how best to get the best out of Josh Freeman were Cam Newton and Tim Tebow. Tebowmania is in full swing at present after he took apart the Steelers secondary last Sunday. Watching Tebow in that game as like watching a 10 year old kid play Madden. It was "QB keeper on one" or "All go on one" followed by Hail Mary type passes.
For once he completed ten of them rather than three of them and it gave him some phenomonal stats. However its not Tebow's passing that I'm looking at. Cam Newton too had some incredibly impressive numbers in the passing game this year as a rookie but its the use of him and his physical abilities that I think the Bucs can make use of with Freeman.
We've all seen #5 scramble for first downs, and more in recent seasons. That was until Greg Olsen's shocking play calling and desire to make Josh into a Peyton Manning style pocket passer stifled that side of Freeman's game. Josh Freeman is listed at 6-6 and 248, Cam Newton is listed at 6-5 and 248. Newton runs a 4.60 40 yard dash, Freeman runs a 4.97.
These guys are almost identical in build, speed and (with the right play calling) ability. So why don't the Buccaneers use Freeman like the Panthers use Newton? I'm not suggesting that Josh needs to end the season with 15 rushing touchdowns but his physical capabilities would allow him to do so much more.
When you look at Tebow he hasn't any of the qualities of Newton and Freeman but the Broncos have built an offense to play to his strengths. They run numerous QB keepers and likes during the game and get the best of their mobile quarterback. Michael Vick and Randall Cunningham did it for years and with a lot of success.
Josh Freeman has the ability to be a running QB and some would say he looks more at home and comfortable throwing on the run, or out of the pocket. Cam Newton's success has come using a mixed offense with features from a spread offense but more importantly a college style option offense. If the Bucs can add a speed back to their roster in this off season then there is no reason that Tampa couldn't add an element of option football to their offense.
If the Pewter Pirates are going to get the best out of Josh Freeman, and for that matter Josh Johnson, then they need to allow Freeman to move around the pocket and make plays with his legs. The running QB is this year's Wildcat and this time around I don't think the Buccaneers should dismiss it out of hand.