In fact, Jackson's confidence is downright laughable.
Jackson, who is entering his first season in Tampa Bay, spoke highly of his new Buccaneers squad on Monday, but it's his comment regarding Freeman that has virtually everyone else on the planet shaking their head in bewilderment.
"We were a little more flashy as far as the names go [in San Diego], but I think we're just as talented here all the way across the board.'' Jackson said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. "We have tight ends, running backs and obviously, Josh Freeman, and he's a quarterback I think should be mentioned among the top five in the league.''
Top five in the league? Maybe if it's opposite day. Maybe if we're talking about the top five at some activity other than NFL quarterbacking. Maybe if it's 3:30 in the morning and we decided to boost up Freeman's attributes in a Madden franchise. Then, maybe. Just maybe. After hearing this bold statement, someone might want to take a urine sample from Jackson, because it's comments like those that make you begin to question someone's sobriety.
Freeman showed two seasons ago that he can play at a high level in the NFL. His numbers weren't gaudy, but he finished the year with a very efficient stat line. He tossed 25 touchdown passes and just six interceptions while starting all 16 games for a surprising Bucs team that finished 10-6 and just outside of a playoff spot. The second-year quarterback also featured a flair for the dramatic, leading Tampa to five comeback victories.
All of this considered, it would have been realistic to tab Freeman as a top-10 quarterback going into last season, even if he fell well short of the top-five label that Jackson has bestowed upon him. After last season's debacle down in the Sunshine State, however, Jackson's comments are now well beyond the realm of what is even slightly comprehensible.
Jackson followed up his smooth second season with a horrendous Year 3. While his completion percentage actually increased slightly and his passing yards went up (as was the case with a lot of the league's quarterbacks), his touchdown total dropped to 16 and he threw 22 picks. That's the second-worst interception total in the NFL and a touchdown mark equal to that of Rex Grossman and Matt Moore — two guys no one is exactly clamoring to have lead their offense.
Freeman's QB rating, meanwhile, went from 95.9 in 2010 to 74.6 in 2011. He sat amongst the illustrious likes of Kyle Orton, (77.8), Matt Cassel (76.6), Colt McCoy (74.6) and, yes, Tim Tebow (72.9). Talk about future Hall of Famers.
And this stunning resume came while Tampa Bay fell flat on its face with a 4-12 record, which included losing its final 10 games. That's vomit-inducing for most Bucs fans.
Now, is Freeman as bad a quarterback as last season's numbers seem to indicate? Probably not. His impressive 2010 season shows there exists the possibility that last season was simply a hiccup in what could be a solid NFL career. But when it comes to tossing around words like "top-five" or "elite," players like Jackson need to start dialing back the confidence level.
Talking about a teammate in a positive light is one thing. But lying straight to his face is just plain mean.
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