With a must win game against the Tennessee Titans looming this week, the Indianapolis Colts are in dire need of some solid quarterback play.
With injuries to Andrew Luck, Matt Hasselbeck, and Charlie Whitehurst, the Colts were forced to sign free agents Josh Freeman and Ryan Lindley this week. As of now, it is unclear who will be the starter come Sunday, but if I were a betting man, I’d say Freeman gets the nod.
No offense to Lindley, but just doing an eye test between the two, Freeman gives the Colts a better chance to win. They both have positives and negatives in their respective careers, but Freeman is the more experienced quarterback at this point. Also, Lindley’s atrocious performance in last year’s playoffs can’t help his chances either, at least in my opinion.
Sure, it’s going to take a lot for the Colts to weasel their way into the playoffs. However, they need to win this Sunday to at least give themselves a chance, no matter how slim that chance is. Freeman is the best man for this job.
Freeman’s NFL career has been, in a word, chaotic. He’s had a lot of ups, as well as several downs, both of which I’m sure could be outlined by our friends at the Pewter Plank.
Freeman’s tenure in Tampa Bay was not at all terrible. He threw for 12,963 yards, 78 touchdowns, and 63 interceptions in his first four years with the Buccaneers.
This was showcased by his stellar sophomore campaign in 2010, where he threw for 3451 yards, 25 TDs, and just six interceptions. Along with that he led Tampa Bay to a 10-6 record, their best since the Jon Gruden era. Unfortunately, the Bucs missed the playoffs despite the good record.
The ensuing seasons saw Freeman continue to throw for big numbers including a 4000 yard season in 2012. However, in that two year span (2011-2012) the Buccaneers record was only 11-20. Although Freeman had been relatively clean in terms of turning the ball over up till that point, 2011 and 2012 saw him toss a combined 39 interceptions.
The Bucs fell to 0-3 in the 2013 season and they used Freeman as the scapegoat for their issues. He was benched, and then was released after the Bucs had originally tried to trade him. He went on to sign with the Vikings, and started almost immediately for Minnesota.
Unfortunately, Freeman’s only performance in Minnesota went down as one of the worst of his career. He went 20 of 53 on pass attempts for 190 yards, and an interception. Freeman finished the game with a total QBR of 6.1, and his performance is widely panned by Minnesota fans. It is also regarded as one of the single worst performances on Monday Night Football. Freeman would not see the field again in 2013.
Freeman has not played in an NFL game (preseason excluded) since that 2013 debacle with Minnesota. He was signed by both the Giants and Dolphins, but was released before the seasons started.
Despite his shortcomings of the past few seasons, Freeman still has talent to give. He’s 6’6″ and 240 pounds, which is almost the identical size of Ben Roethlisberger. This means Freeman can stay in the pocket, and does not go down easily on sack attempts.
Freeman is also very mobile. he has 922 total rush yards over his career, including four rushing touchdowns. This means if the pocket collapses on Sunday, Freeman can take off and possibly rip off a big gain.
He has a skillset that could throw the Titans defense off just a bit. The only worry, at least for me, would be if he’s prepared for the game. Remember, he’s only been with the team for a week, and that’s not a ton of time to learn an offense. The last time we saw him learn an offense quickly and play immediately, it was the Monday Night massacre when he was with Minnesota.
Another issue could be if Freeman is in football shape or not. Remember, he hasn’t played in a competitive NFL game since October of 2013! Granted he has played in the preseason with the Dolphins, but still, that was almost four month ago. It does not take long for an athlete to fall out of shape, at least in my own personal experience (and I’m using the word athlete lightly in my case).
Despite his possible flaws, I’ll give Josh Freeman the benefit of the doubt. I mean, the Colts didn’t really have a choice in signing him. Hopefully, we’ll get to see the dynamic Freeman from Tampa Bay, rather than the dud that played in Minnesota.