Late Friday afternoon, I noticed that “Josh Freeman” was trending on Twitter, and I immediately cringed. At this point in his career, when you see Freeman’s name in the news, you know it’s not for anything good. Did he show up to OTAs weighing 300 pounds? Did he fail another drug test? What’s the latest chapter in the increasingly depressing Freeman saga going to be?
Yes, Josh Freeman was released from the Giants less than two months after joining the team. If you thought that wretch-inducing performance against the Giants on Monday Night Football last season was the absolute low point of his career, you were sadly mistaken. At least then, he had the excuse of being new to the Vikings’ system and getting thrown into a game way too soon. There was at least a glimmer of hope that in a Schiano-free environment, Freeman could get his groove back, and become a productive quarterback, or at least a high quality backup to Eli Manning. Instead, we are forced to deal with the harsh reality that Josh Freeman just sucks now.
I would love to see footage of Freeman’s performance during the Giants OTAs. He must have been sub-Tebow for the Giants to pull the plug this early. Remember, training camp doesn’t even start for almost two months! The Giants were so convinced of Freeman’s awfulness that they didn’t even think it was worth it to give him one third quarter of action in a preseason game. It’s hard not to think of Bart Simpson’s stinky performance as the starting QB when Homer took over his pee-wee football and wonder if Freeman was somehow worse than that. Was his only completion to a guy on the sidelines?
The dramatic downturn in Freeman’s career over the past year has been disappointing because, for a while there, it really looked like he was going to be good. He showed flashes as a rookie on a terrible Bucs team, then in 2010, the Bucs went 10-6, and Freeman looked like a potential superstar. Since then, everything with him has been one huge bummer. There was the nine-game losing streak to end the 2011 season, followed by a slight recovery in 2012, then the epic shitstorm that was 2013. So, what the fuck happened here?
It’s hard to know what exactly caused Freeman’s decline. One would be tempted to cite the terrible coaches he played for in Tampa. When the coaches tasked with developing you into a productive NFL player are Raheem Morris and Greg Schiano, there’s a good chance you aren’t going to live up to your potential. There have also been hearsay suggesting that Freeman was lazy at certain points, and didn’t work as hard as he could to learn the offense in Minnesota, which could have also happened with the Giants. But that doesn’t totally explain all of this. Freeman’s failure to match his 2010 campaign was one thing, but over the past year, it’s like he completely forgot how to play football. He completed less than 50 percent of his passes in all four games he started last year, and apparently, his performance with the Giants was so unrelentingly horrid that they pulled the plug in two weeks.
There’s a decent chance that some team in need of a backup quarterback will give Freeman a shot, but his future is pretty bleak, and he’ll likely join Vince Young (who also once looked like he might be really good) as vagabond QB, frequently joining new teams who think he might be able to get some of the old magic back, then quickly jettisoning him when they realize that’s not going to happen. Somewhere along the way, Josh Freeman lost whatever it was that made him a good quarterback. And that fucking sucks.