Giants cut QB Josh Freeman – Will He make a 2014 NFL Roster?

josh-freeman-new-york-giantsNine months ago, Josh Freeman was going into the NFL regular season as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ fifth-year starter. However, things fell apart after he slept through a team photo, lost his captaincy, was replaced by rookie Mike Glennon as a starter, and had his involvement in the NFL’s drug program leaked by then-head coach Greg Schiano’s staff.

He did get a second chance last season, though, with the Minnesota Vikings. Coach Leslie Frazier made the curious decision to start Freeman early, resulting in a disastrous 20-for-53 throwing performance. That was the last Freeman would see the field in Minnesota, despite being paid a healthy $3 million for a half-season’s work.

A Second…Third Chance

josh-freeman-new-york-giants-2For some quarterbacks, this might have been a death knell to their career. But then again, Freeman still has plenty of talent as he’s blessed with size (6’6″, 240 pounds), an excellent arm, good mobility and a high Wonderlic test score. Plus, he has a wealth of stats behind his five-year career, including 13,724 passing yards, 80 TD passes and 67 interceptions. So it was little surprise when the New York Giants gave Freeman a second chance by signing him.

Starting quarterback Eli Manning and his backup, Curtis Painter, both underwent offseason surgery, so Freeman was signed on April 21st as insurance. However, Manning returned to practice this week and Painter is likely to return before training camp begins. This, coupled with second-year QB Ryan Nassib’s emergence, was making the signal-caller position tight in New York.

So the Giants chose to release Freeman today, putting his NFL future in jeopardy. And who did they replace him with? Roger Gaines, an undrafted, free agent offensive lineman who spent all of last season on the Chicago Bears practice squad. Not exactly the type of “talent” that you’d expect to replace a former first-round pick like Freeman.

Same Ole’ Problems

josh-freeman-new-york-giants-1When Freeman went to Minnesota last year, there was plenty of grumbling surrounding him. For starters, he was said to be one of the last guys into the team facilities and late to team meetings every day. This being the case, it’s little wonder why an unnamed Vikings player said, “You could tell Josh did not know the offense.”

Fast-forward to this spring and it appears that Freeman was having the same type of troubles in New York. One particular play was telling as Freeman lined up the offense incorrectly and was quickly pulled off the field in favor of Painter. We haven’t heard any rumors that the former Kansas State star was late to meetings and practices. However, it’s clear that he is still having a rough time picking up the offense.

New York was the only team willing to take a chance on Freeman this offseason. Given that he couldn’t even beat out Painter, Nassib or a practice-squad lineman who’s never played an NFL snap, the future of Freeman’s football career is quite murky. He could get another shot in the middle of the 2014 NFL season, when injuries start piling up and teams get desperate to fill holes.

But for now, it’s hard to see another team wasting time and roster space on Freeman since, judging from his Minnesota and New York stints, he obviously needs a lot of time to learn new offenses.

Things get Ugly in Tampa Bay with Leak of Josh Freeman’s Drug Program Involvement

josh-freeman-drug-programThe past few weeks have already been miserable for Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman. All throughout September, he was bashed for sleeping through a team photo and losing his captaincy through a team vote. On Sunday, he was officially benched in favor of rookie Mike Glennon. And now Tampa Bay has leaked information on Freeman’s involvement in the NFL’s drug program.

The latter is not only something that reflects negatively on the embattled quarterback, but also on head coach Greg Schiano and the Bucs organization in general. Freeman’s teammates weren’t even supposed to know about him being in the program – let alone the media. So now the NFL is investigating the matter because leaking sensitive information of this nature is a huge violation of league standards.

When news first surfaced about Freeman’s alleged drug problem, people began to connect the dots. A missed team photo, a loss of confidence in him by the coaching staff, losing his job to a rookie third-rounder…it all added up to a major problem. However, the truth is that Freeman voluntarily checked himself into the NFL’s drug program after accidentally taking Ritalin instead of Adderall to treat his ADHD.

The fifth-year quarterback’s actions are certainly not despicable by any means. But the violation of his privacy is, and it’s something that Freeman won’t take lightly. “Since the confidentiality of my medical status has been publicly violated,” he said, “I am choosing to address this matter so that grossly erroneous assumptions about me do not persist.”

At this point, there’s no word on who leaked the info to the press. But Freeman strongly suggested that it’s somebody within Tampa Bay as he said, “Unfortunately, it appears that some people who may have noticed the testing at my workplace have made hurtful and incorrect assumptions, and chosen to disseminate inaccurate and very disturbing information.”

josh-freeman-tampa-bayLeaking Josh Freeman’s involvement in a drug program is just the latest disaster for the Buccaneers. They’ve opened the year with zero wins through their first four games and have looked very undisciplined under Schiano. Many people have already been calling for the head coach to be fired, and now it’s highly likely that somebody from his staff smeared Freeman.

Schiano denied having any knowledge of who’s been talking to the press. But it certainly doesn’t reflect well upon him since he was never a supporter of Freeman to begin with. Now Tampa Bay’s front office has even more ammunition to fire him, beyond a winless start to this season.

Moving past Schiano, Freeman and the Bucs, this situation is bad for the entire league. The NFL has been working hard to ensure that players feel comfortable approaching team officials about personal and substance abuse problems. With the disaster that Freeman has experienced in Tampa Bay, players may think twice about discussing these matters with coaches.

This is especially true if somebody has a more severe problem than mistakenly taking Ritalin. If a player struggles with an alcohol or cocaine addiction, they’d be very wary about the press finding out.

Taking all of this into account, you can bet that Rodger Goodell and league officials will take this situation very seriously. At the least, somebody is getting suspended when the NFL finds out what happened. And now Schiano has to worry even more about the status of his job.

Lacy, Jackson headline NFL Week 2 Injuries, Freeman out in Tampa Bay?

NFL: Green Bay Packers-OTAIt’s been a dangerous day to be an NFL running back. Two prominent starting backs were forced out of action in Week 2, as both Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy and Atlanta’s Stephen Jackson headed to the locker room early.

Lacy was the fist to go out after he got drilled by Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather. Lacy suffered a concussion on his only carry of the game – a 10-yard run – when he jumped over a defender and was hit by Meriweather on the way down.

The rookie was taken back to the locker room and wouldn’t return, giving way to backups John Starks and Jonathan Franklin. This is no doubt a rough start to the season for the University of Alabama product, who was projected as Green Bay’s feature back. Lacy gained just 41 yards on 14 carries last week and had a fumble. And this week saw him knocked out on his first carry.

stephen-jackson-falconsJackson is off to a much better start than Lacy since he gained 122 yards from scrimmage last week. Unfortunately, his momentum will take a big hit since he suffered a thigh injury earlier today. The veteran was hurt on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Falcons QB Matt Ryan in the first half. Jackson left for the locker room immediately after scoring his first TD with Atlanta.

Moving away from injuries, Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman may be seeking a trade. Trouble has been brewing in Tampa after teammates essentially stripped Freeman of his captain status through a vote. Things got worse when he missed the team photo shoot, later admitting that he overslept.

It doesn’t help Freeman’s case that he’s been pretty inconsistent since being drafted in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft. In his four years with Tampa, the K-State product has compiled 13,173 yards, 79 TD’s and 64 INT’s. These are certainly good numbers, but they haven’t translated into a lot of victories for the Bucs. And Freeman has never really been regarded as a clutch player.

josh-freeman-tampa-bayTaking all of this into account, Tampa Bay took quarterback Mike Glennon in the third round of last year’s draft. Insiders claim that Glennon is head coach Greg Schiano’s guy, while Freeman is merely finishing out the last year of his contract.

All of this makes the five-year veteran seem expendable on a team that’s looking for a leader under center. If Tampa Bay’s season starts off badly, it’s very possible that Freeman could be shipped out before the October 29th trade deadline. Potential suitors could include the Oakland Raiders, Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee Titans, who all have question marks at the quarterback position.

Biggest Stories from 2013 NFL Draft Combine

manti-teo-nfl-combineNFL head coaches and GM’s recently got a nice look at the top prospects from the 2013 NFL Draft class. And as usual, certain players shined at the 2013 NFL Combine while others hurt their stock with disappointing performances. That said, let’s check out some players who excelled and those who failed to impress at this year’s NFL Combine.

1. Manti Te’o provides more Questions than Answers with 40 Time

To nobody’s surprise, Manti Te’o was the biggest story of the Combine because of the press conference/interview he underwent. And Te’o did a solid job of answering all of the questions about the online girlfriend hoax surrounding him. Unfortunately, he left plenty of answers on the field after running a slower-than-expected 4.82 forty-yard dash. Entering this year, many people expected Te’o to be a top 10 pick. But following the uninspiring 40 time, it’s debatable as to if he’ll be selected in the second round.

2. Injured CB Dee Milliner comes though at the Combine

Nobody would’ve blamed Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner for not running the 40-yard dash. After all, he has a torn labrum that needs surgery, and it couldn’t be comfortable sprinting with this kind of shoulder pain. Nevertheless, he came out and ran a 4.37 forty, which tied him for sixth place. What’s more is that he should easily be the first cornerback taken as well as a top five overall pick.

star-lotulelei3. DT Star Lotulelei not cleared to participate

One of the most notable exclusions from the 2013 Combine activities was Star Lotulelei. The Utah defensive tackle’s stock had been rapidly propelling in recent weeks, and some experts thought that he might end up being among the top five picks. However, Lotulelei’s world came crashing down when an echocardiogram revealed that his left ventricle wasn’t pumping enough blood. The question now is if this is a serious issue, or just a minor heart problem arising from extreme weight loss over the past few days.

4. Running Backs and Quarterbacks fail to impress

Every year, there’s an emphasis on running backs and QB’s for the obvious reason that these are major impact positions. However, the 2013 NFL Draft class is particularly weak at these spots, and there’ll be few first rounders among football’s two marquee positions. Running back is especially thin, geno-smithwhere Wisconsin’s Montee Ball (4.63 forty), Oklahoma State’s Joseph Randle (4.63 forty) and Giovani Bernard (4.53 forty) didn’t exactly show breakaway speed. As for quarterbacks, West Virginia’s Geno Smith figures to be a mid-first rounder while NC State’s Mike Glennon may be the only other first round QB pick.

5. The Number One Overall Pick is Anybody’s Guess

Outside of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, there wasn’t much debate about who the top players were in last year’s draft. However, it’s anybody’s guess as to who will be called up to the podium first in April. Many thought that Texas A&M OT Luke Joeckel could be selected number one by the Chiefs; however, his sorry 5.3 forty time leaves some doubts. Alabama guard Chance Warmack is also in this position because a 5.41 forty hasn’t done him much justice. Other potential top picks include Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson, Alabama CB Dee Milliner, Brigham Young DE Ziggy Ansah, Oregon DE Dion Jordan and LSU DT Sheldon Richardson.

Come April 25th, we’ll finally get some answers to burning questions like where Te’o will be drafted, who the number one pick is going to be, and if the QB’s and running backs will have any significant impact in the 2013 Draft.