Yardbarker Horiz

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Freeman's Thumb Clearly An Issue

Josh Freeman has stated several times his thumb injury is small, not a problem, and no big deal.

I have to disagree.

According to Freeman via Rick Stroud of the Saint Petersberg Times, the thumb is has affected his throwing "a little bit". I believe it has affected his throwing a great deal.

Rewatching the Texans game from this past Sunday, Freeman mostly threw high (like above the receiver's head) and never achieved a tight spiral like his throws in 2010.  A high throw means his release point has changed as his hand comes over after windup, a sign of a lack of grip on the ball.  Bad grip (or a bad "feel" of the ball as it's released) makes for inaccuracy. Freeman put on clinics week after week last season on technique, ball speed, distance, and accuracy.  Clearly not the same thing this season.

A review of the Chicago game never showed Freeman gripping his hand or grimacing as the Buccaneers threw on their final six offensive plays to end the game.  In the post game press conference, the first 10 seconds shows Freeman's hand with no type of wrap, bandage, or support.  In fact, he unbuttons his jacket one handed using the thumb in question.  Nor does Freeman mention it during questioning.

So what is going on here?  What type of injury occurred in the Chicago game where there is no visible swelling, no sign of pain, yet requires a near-cast for a week and tape support during game time?  Is it a hairline fracture?

If the injury is significant, which apparently it is, why are the Buccaneers calling 33 pass plays versus just 16 rushing plays against the Texans?  Or 37 pass plays and only 16 running plays against New Orleans the week before?

Either Freeman and offensive coordinator Greg Olson are in denial about the injury, Freeman is having a "sophomore slump" type of season, or quarterback play is going to be down somewhat until the thumb in healed.

None of those cases bode well for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who already face an uphill climb to the playoffs this season.

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