Rams vs. Buccaneers: Josh Freeman is an enigma, but a good one

Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' enigmatic franchise quarterback isn't performing up to expectations, but expectations are higher for him than they are Sam Bradford.

If Sam Bradford had 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions--was averaging 7.4 yards per attempt--St. Louis Rams fans would be having some kind of debauched party right about now. Josh Freeman is 14 games into his fourth season with those numbers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans are... well, a little disappointed, I guess. Jim Thomas explains on the P-D--Freeman turned the ball over five times last week, part of a late-season slide that's pushed what looked like a breakout season down into a just-a-really-good season.

The Rams' pass defense, of course, has experienced a similarly up-and-down season: After driving their early success, the secondary gave up some big games and proved unable to force turnovers in a midseason slump before turning things around of late.

Freeman and Bradford have each been minor disappointments to their respective fanbases, but in different ways; Bradford has just never looked like the franchise quarterback he was supposed to be, while Freeman has shown surprising flashes of franchise-quarterback-dom that he seems incapable of sustaining.

So far that's advantage Freeman, but Bradford might have disappointed Rams fans just long enough to be underrated--a great position to be in, as a quarterback for a team on the upswing. For all his problems, he's at a career high 6.8 yards per attempt, with 3254 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions, and he has two starts still to make.

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