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Wait, Josh Freeman is only Six Months Older Than Ryan Tannehill?

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Image via Football Schedule.

Josh Freeman was born in January of 1988, while Ryan Tannehill was born in July of 1988. This was shocking to me when I figured it out. Just for fun, here are their season summaries from PFR which lists both as being 24 years old for the 2012 season:

Ryan Tannehill 2012 Summary

Year Age Tm Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD TD% Int Int% Y/A AY/A Y/G
2012 24 MIA 282 484 58.3 3294 12 2.5 13 2.7 6.8 6.1 205.9
Career 282 484 58.3 3294 12 2.5 13 2.7 6.8 6.1 205.9
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/4/2013.

Josh Freeman 2012 Summary

Year Age Tm Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD TD% Int Int% Y/A AY/A Y/G
2012 24 TAM 306 558 54.8 4065 27 4.8 17 3.0 7.3 6.9 254.1
Career 1101 1873 58.8 12963 78 4.2 63 3.4 6.9 6.2 227.4
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/4/2013.

Freeman was ahead of Tannehill in the category that correlates most highly with winning football games, which is AYA. It’s true that Freeman was probably throwing to better receivers than Tannehill, and it’s also true that Tannehill was a rookie and probably was facing a steep learning curve regardless of age. But to me the interesting thing is that Josh Freeman had a season at 22 years old that would have been much better than Tannehill’s 2012, and also featured Freeman throwing to no receivers of any note. His best receiver was rookie Mike Williams.

I have two primary thoughts as it relates to this information. First, I think it’s interesting that Miami is likely much more optimistic about their QB situation than TB is, even though their QBs are similar in age and TB’s QB had the better 2012. The other thought that occurs to me is that forecasting the future for QBs isn’t linear at all. If you had forecast forward from Josh Freeman’s 2010 season, when he was just 22 years old, you would have expected him to be a top five QB by this point. I might be willing to give him a little slack for just being 24 years old, but that’s a long ways from being a top five QB. So pretty much be careful how you use the recent past to forecast the future.

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