In the midst of their four-game winning streak earlier this season, quarterback Josh Freeman was playing lights out and deserved consideration for the Pro Bowl.
That's how good No. 5 was playing for the Bucs.
But now the Bucs are in the middle of a four-game losing streak and fans have started calling for Freeman's head, especially after his atrocious performance against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday; a game in which Freeman threw four interceptions and lost a fumble.
At first glance, Freeman's numbers aren't bad at all. The former first-round pick has 3,471 passing yards with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions this season. However, dig a little deeper and one starts to see bigger problems with Freeman's game.
Freeman is currently ranked No. 34 in the NFL with a paltry 54.7 completion percentage. Only Chad Henne and John Skelton have a worse completion percentage than Freeman this season.
Tampa Bay's signal caller is also regressing after a starting the year out well. In his last four games, which the Bucs have all lost, Freeman is just 77-of-149 (51.6 percent) with just four touchdowns and five interceptions.
At a time when the Bucs needed him to be at his best as they fought for a potential playoff spot, Freeman has played his worst football of the season.
Look, Buccaneers101.com is not saying all the blame should be placed on Freeman. The Bucs have a terrible secondary; one that is about to go down as the worst in NFL history.
But Freeman hasn't pulled his weight and he is hurting his pockets in the process.
With his rookie contract set to expire after the 2013 season, Freeman is playing for a new deal. He has shown flashes of greatness in 2010 and at times this year, but do the Bucs really want to throw tens of millions of dollars at a guy whose career record as a starter is just 23-31?
Listen, Freeman will be the Bucs starting quarterback next season. Don't expect the Bucs to go out and get Alex Smith or Tim Tebow. They aren't walking through the door, folks.
But Freeman needs to finish this season out on a strong note or he may not get that lucrative contract offer we all thought he deserved just a few weeks ago.
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