There have been few weeks as brutal as the last two for the starting quarterback. His team has lost six of seven games, he's thrown for 9 interceptions and completed under 55% of his passes. He is blamed for ruining a promising start to the season and there are questions about his accuracy, his leadership skills, ability to read a defense and whether his team will ever be a consistent winner with him at the helm.
Some have gone as far to claim he's a bust like Ryan Leaf and Trent Dilfer.
His name is Eli Manning and in 2006 he didn't have a Super Bowl ring. He just had legions of doubters and people who were certain they had seen enough of the younger Manning.
After their week 16 game in which Eli completed just one of the worst games of his Pro career and the NY Daily News proclaimed in a huge headline: "THE ELI MISTAKE".
He would go on to finish a disappointing fourth season with a 56.1% completion percentage, 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions - a QB Rating of 73.9 - his worst since his rookie season.
His QB Rating had yet to crack 80 and he hadn't had a season where he completed more than 57% of his passes. After all, you can't teach accuracy right? You either have it or you don't.
Indeed, there's plenty a Bucs fan who are ready to toss Josh Freeman to the curb. He doesn't have that "IT" factor -whatever "IT" may be. Eli didn't have "IT" either, until he finally matured and the football team around him got better. Two Super Bowl rings and multiple trips to the playoffs, plus not a single season with a QB rating under 85 followed (until this season).
Of course, Eli is just one guy.
Surely big brother Peyton dominated from the outset.
Indeed, like Josh Freeman, Peyton experienced some early success, particularly in his second season as a starter. But even for the elder Manning, his fourth year was the worst since his rookie year. Manning threw 23 interceptions and 26 touchdowns in route to an 84.4 QB rating.
What about Drew Brees - who is breaking all kinds of records? In Brees fourth season starting at least seven games (he started just one in his rookie year), Brees struggled, too. Throwing 15 interceptions and managing 8 fumbles against just 24 TD passes. The Chargers had such a lack of faith in Brees, they drafted Phillip Rivers in 2004 (two years before Brees would leave).
Josh's game has been compared most to Ben Roethlisberger - who has two Super Bowl rings on his finger. However, Big Ben had a great year in his fourth season but in year five not only did he just throw 17 touchdowns but he threw 15 interceptions and fumbled the ball 10 times.
Phillip Rivers has been playing for nine years and has gone from one of the most consistent, dominant quarterbacks in the game to an inconsistent wreck.
In Josh's own draft class - we all know how Mark Sanchez imploded with the worst season of his career and Matt Stafford has seen his QB Rating plummet from 97.2 to 79.2 while throwing just one more touchdown pass (17) than interceptions (16).
The list goes on and on, folks. Top notch quarterbacks who didn't really have that light turn on until years five, six or seven to become the players they are today.
Good read to the Free debate!
Get ya toes off the line, so Schiano can put his AZZ on it #PostSchiano