Josh Freeman

Archive for June 2012

REAR ENTRIES: Just Get It Done

June 29, 2012 at 10:13am by Scott   •  4 Comments »

Rear Entry 133

TRAINING CAMP: I guess I never posted the Bucs training camp schedule. Here are the dates that are open to the public. The non-public dates are when it turns into a fight club.

MARK BARRON STILL UNSIGNED: The Bucs still haven’t agreed to terms with Mark Barron, but no one thinks it’s a big deal and none of the top eight picks have signed yet. Stephen Holder seems to think the issue is how guaranteed money is paid if the player gets cut or traded within four years. Way to believe in yourselves, boys. “If I suck, I want to make sure I get fully compensated for sucking, and then I want to have the ability to get paid by another team for sucking for them during the same season.” Somewhere at the bottom of an aquarium of purple drank, JaMarcus Russell is smiling.

ERIC LEGRAND: Here’s a happy way to end the week. Eric LeGrand has his own rookie football card! And he’s also set to release his biography in September (with a separate version for kids). And he is preparing to host a weekly radio show in the Fall in addition to some television work. And he’s about to graduate with this degree in labor studies. Oh, and he is in practically constant physical therapy and can now sit up on his own. What have you done today?

Arron Sears Update

June 28, 2012 at 11:30am by Scott   •  2 Comments »

We'll never know how good he could have been.
Arron Sears left the Bucs abruptly in 2009 and no one would ever really comment on the reason other than it was “personal” and obviously had something to do with a mental or emotional issue. I have a special place in my heart for Sears who is a former Volunteer, a former Buccaneer and by all accounts a really nice guy. So this update by PFT from a lawsuit filed against the NFL saddens me because it definitely isn’t encouraging.

“Sears has almost total loss of function, is unable to care for himself and cannot take [care] of his day-to-day activities,” the lawsuit says, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “Further, Arron Sears has extreme displays of temper and anger with the appurtenant risk of causing harm to himself and others.”

I’m not going to use this entry to vent my opinions on concussion issues or how much responsibility the NFL or the individual has for those issues. I just want to wish Sears recovery. Or, if that’s impossible, at least some peace. Good luck, big guy.

REAR ENTRIES: NIT Hair?

June 28, 2012 at 10:42am by Scott   •  3 Comments »

Rear Entry 132

BUCS WANT SELL-OUT OPENER: The Bucs are pulling out all the stops to get fans to buy tickets for the regular season opener. Well, maybe not all the stops or else beer would be free and the halftime show would involve strippers and Jell-O. But this is still a pretty good attempt.

Fans attending the game will be treated to a commemorative Ronde Barber gym sack, while also receiving 50% off all concessions (excluding alcohol) in both General and Club levels, and being offered free parking in select lots.

It’s a gym BAG. I have never heard it called a gym SACK in my life and now that I have I don’t like the sound of it. The free parking is a great enticement because that’s usually the first thing out of people’s mouths when they start adding up the cost of a game. The game will be used to commemorate Barber’s 200th consecutive start, so let’s all hope he doesn’t tear an ACL in camp and blow this whole idea out of the water.

THE KID CAN PLAY: Pewter Report has a good article on Tiquan Underwood and his struggle to make the team. He seems to think he’s in a pretty large pool of equal receivers.

“It brings about competition. Once you get past V-Jax (Vincent Jackson), it’s just a bunch of younger guys trying to make a name for themselves in this league.”

I’m going to say Mike Williams feels pretty good about his chances, too. But I do think Arrelious Benn may get overshadowed by some of the younger (can you believe Benn is older than some of them?) receivers.

I’m still trying to figure out if Underwood’s hair is championship material or not. I dig the retro look, but the hair needed to have been cool at some point in history to give it credibility. This would be like a white guy showing up with a Flock of Seagulls haircut. Yes it’s retro and bold, but still…

CAPTAIN FEAR NEEDS A BIGGER PADDLE: So I hear you guys had some rain recently? I’ll see your hurricane and raise you 106 degree heat. Someone go apologize to Al Gore and beg him to tell us how to end this shit. But nothing that involves me giving up my spotted owl egg omelets. God, those are awesome.

Anyway, someone caught Captain Fear doing his Marcel Marceau bit during the storm last week. Pretty funny. But get all that stuff cleaned up by next week because that when I get there and I don’t need a bunch of debris and washed-up syringes messing up my visit.

Bucs Having Arrest-Free/Boring Summer

June 27, 2012 at 10:07am by Scott   •  1 Comment »

No Arrests 1

Had to take yesterday off to get some stuff/human beings moved out of the house, and so little happened regarding the Bucs that the Times actually wrote an article about how players aren’t getting arrested.

But in light of what is unfolding in Detroit, it’s prudent to point out that things have been quiet lately on the law-and-order front in Tampa Bay. Not to suggest that avoiding arrests is worthy of applause, but it is fair to point out that no players, coaches nor front-office members have been arrested since former defensive end Alex Magee‘s arrest for marijuana possession on May 9, 2011 — 13 months ago.

Detroit Lions are being arrested all over the place lately, mostly for drinking and drugs which is completely understandable since it’s Detroit. But how lucky are those reporters in Detroit? Every day dislike Christmas when they check the blotter and have at least two days worth of stories to write about the most recent jackass who drove a car while under the influence of tire fire smoke. Shit’s boring in Tampa where the only fresh arrest is coming from the son of a guy who played 30 years ago.

But everybody give their best golf clap to Stephen Holder and the Times who actually took the time to recognize that players are staying out of trouble. Most of the time they just circle One Buc like vultures waiting to pick clean the bones of whoever got too shooty or punchy or drunk and not spending nearly enough time on the positive. Negative articles practically write themselves (which is why I love writing them so much), positive is harder and takes more effort and it’s nice to see one now and then.

REAR ENTRIES: Getting It Together

June 25, 2012 at 09:50am by Scott   •  1 Comment »

Rear Entry 131

JAWS ON FREEMAN: Ron Jaworski is one of the better analysts on television. He provides a knowledgable perspective from a player’s point of view but also knows how to speak, a rare combination. And he’s one of the only guys who can stand up to Jon Gruden‘s energy without getting sucked into his chaos, kind of like Pat Summerall did with John Madden, but without as much scotch. All that said, fuck Ron Jaworski.

“In 2011, Freeman threw four red-zone interceptions,” Jaws noted. “No quarterback threw more. It was part of a season in which Freeman took a step back. He struggled all year with his decision making. He tried to make too many throws that were not there.

“In addition, his ball location was not precise enough. Throws that you have to make became turnovers. Freeman has a lot of work to do. … I saw a lot of deficiencies that plague young quarterbacks. Poor decision making, lack of confidence. The physical talent is there, the consistency is not.”

All of this is 100% true. That’s not my problem with it. My problem is that it’s all common knowledge and was blindingly evident to anyone watching the games. It’s why every article about Josh Freeman‘s future has the question of “Which Josh Freeman will we see?” When I heard Jaws had studied tape on Freeman, I expected to hear how he needs to alter his footwork to get a wider base or how his throwing motion needs to be at a different angle or how he needs to be able to use his eyes better to manipulate defensive backs or SOMETHING more precise than “poor decision making”. Fans who only get their game reports from the braille edition of the newspaper could have told me that.

STOCKER NEEDS TO PROVE HIMSELF: Luke Stocker started every game at Tennessee from late into his freshman year until he graduated, was never injured and was always dependable. So it’s a little weird to hear him slapped with the “fragile” tag now that he’s a Buccaneer, but facts are facts and the fact is that he has either been out or played below 100% since his plane touched down in Tampa for the first time. And that shit’s gotta stop.

“His role will be defined when training camp starts, but I think with Luke right now, the focus is just to get better and learn the offense and define his role,” tight ends coach Brian Angelichio said. “Your role can always change for better or worse. He’s in the process now of improving on the fundamentals and techniques and doing what it takes to become a complete tight end in this league.”

The translation there is that Stocker will be competing with lesser tight ends because he’s basically starting at the ground level. I hear good things about both Zach Pianalto and Chase Coffman, both of whom could easily take snaps from Stocker if he doesn’t get his ass in gear this season. Stocker is already a willing blocker, but to secure his place on the team he needs to be an excellent blocker. He’s already got great hands and knows how to get open, so if he can become that rare “complete” tight end everyone keeps saying they want, he’ll secure his spot on the team for a long time.

In other news, the Bucs have a tight ends coach named Angelichio. I could not have told you that for any amount of money ten minutes ago.

ROSTER MOVE: The Bucs signed Mike Ingersoll, an offensive tackle, and released LB Antonio Leak. Ingersoll is a second-year player out of UNC (who played under Butch Davis) who came into the league as an undrafted free agent. He was on the Bucs’ practice squad for a while last season.

I first saw this roster move on the NFL Network news ticker during prime time. That’s how slow late-June is for real news.

Earnest Graham Is Probably Done

June 23, 2012 at 01:59pm by Scott   •  6 Comments »

Earnest Graham in his prime.
The new Buccaneers regime decided against signing Earnest Graham to another contract and no other team has really sniffed around him, so it’s not out of the question that Graham could be done. And he’s okay with that.

“Right now, honestly, I’m going to focus on being a free agent, but I definitely understand that it is likely that I may have already played my last game,” said Graham, who lives north of Tampa with his wife and children, ages 9 and 6.

Fans love players who work hard and are humble, and Bucs fans definitely loved Graham for those reasons and more. Graham was willing to do anything he was asked. Backup, starting running back, fullback, special teams… hell, he’d have played defense if his coach had told him he needed him to. He never complained when year after year they tried to bring in other players to replace him. Granted, he did hold out a little in 2008, but it didn’t last long and he wound up signing a deal that was remarkably team-friendly. And his charity and community work was exceptional. Graham was everything player want in a teammate and everything fans want to root for.

I’m sorry to see him go, but running backs are considered over the hill at about 26-years old these days, so at 32 and not being considered elite by anyone, he’s proabbly not going to get much a look. But I have to admit that I’m glad he won’t wear any other teams colors. That would be weird to see. Thanks for everything, Earnest.

This Is Not An Apology

June 22, 2012 at 10:39pm by Scott   •  6 Comments »

If he wants to apologize, he should start with everyone who he made look at that jacket.
Warren Sapp said on the Toucher & Rich show the other day that he apologized to Jeremy Shockey about the whole outing him as the source of the initial Saints bounty investigation information. So read what he said and tell me if it sounds like an apology. Or what he’s saying at all because I have no fucking idea.

“I saw Jeremy about a week after it all went down at a Heat game … and I told him, I said, ‘I apologize for putting it on the street level and making it derogatory towards you.’ The information that was passed to me, I stand by my source, but I hate that I put it on a level, that wasn’t the way it should be. … That’s what I apologized for, because I put it on a way lower level than it should’ve been. It was something serious that never shoulda went on and stuff like that. So that’s the problem I have with myself and what I said to him.”

For the record, that’s not an apology. That’s like saying “I’m sorry you feel that way.” You’re just inserting “sorry” in a sentence. It reminds me of this:

But at least Mel strung words together that make sense as a whole. What the hell does it mean to not intend to put something at street level? Is the NFL Network considered street level now? I think I might need to smoke about a pound of weed in order to understand what he said and I’ve been out ever since Sam Hurd got busted.

On a side note, I’ve been waiting six years to be able to put Fred Toucher in a blog entry. He’s one of the top radio personalities in the country and conducts some of the best interviews you’ll hear. Atlanta misses you, Freddy T.

REAR ENTRIES: The Midnight Special

June 22, 2012 at 12:13am by Scott   •  6 Comments »

Rear Entry 130

FLEXIBLE RECEIVERS: Remember when Jon Gruden made the claim that he couldn’t put Joey Galloway and Antonio Bryant on the field at the same time because they were both X receivers? It was one of the dumbest things I’d ever heard, and I live in Georgia. Apparently Mike Sullivan has no such hang-ups because he is perfectly happy to move receivers around to do whatever he needs to get the best players on the field.

“The great thing about this offense is that everyone can play every position,” P.J. Fleck said. “So when you’re thinking about the X (split end), Z (flanker), and all these different (positions), they all can play every position.

“That’s how we’re going about teaching our system and our scheme. Everyone learns the same fundamentals, and then we go right into the scheme and everyone is learning as a whole. It’s not, ‘Hey, you’re just learning X or you’re just learning Z.’ That gives us the flexibility to move everyone around.”

That just seems normal. I always loved Gruden and thought he was a good coach, but that thing about the receivers was just so bizarrely, hit-yourself-in-the-head-with-a-hammer stupid. And Greg Olson apparently followed it too because last year most receivers didn’t deviate from their spots. It’s going to be a nice change for the other team to not be able to guess the route before the ball is snapped.

PROJECTED STARTERS: The Times published what they feel is the starting lineup heading into training camp. It’s pretty much the same thing I published here a while back, with the exception of Eric Wright as a starting corner even though he has missed a bunch of offseason work so far. E.J. Biggers has stepped up as the starter so far and Wright should have to wrestle the position away from him instead of it being handed to him because of his contract. I think Greg Schiano doesn’t give a shit about how much money they make and will put the producers on the field.

CLICKY SHIRT UPDATE: Anyone who is interested in Bucstats T-shirts, read the update in the forum. We can send a man to the moon, but…

Brian Price Punched Mark Barron

June 20, 2012 at 11:16am by Scott   •  3 Comments »

Mark Barron evidently didn't even throw a punch. Was he being classy toward a hurting teammate or was he just getting the shit beaten out of him?
This is old news by now since it happened months ago and got reported on a couple days ago, but it’s worth covering since big dudes are punching each other and that’s always entertaining. At the beginning of an OTA day, the team was gathering in a meeting room for a meeting. Mark Barron was apparently in the seat that Brian Price wanted. Price told Barron to get up and Barron refused. And then, SNAP!

In short order, Barron was getting pummeled by Price. The third-year tackle was said to have gotten in a good number of punches before teammates pulled him off Barron. Both players were removed from the meeting as Barron’s face was said to be bloodied.

And now the mystery of why Price was staying away from minicamp is solved.

A couple points here. First, I don’t think anyone is going to blame Price for losing his shit at anything. The guy has been through more trauma and tragedy in the last few years than most of us will face in a lifetime. The fact that he hasn’t gone Falling Down on the city of Tampa is, frankly, a blessing. But this kind of action cannot be condoned regardless of the excusability of the cause. You can’t have a loose cannon walking around a meeting room with everybody averting their eyes so as to not get a mouthful of his fist. It’s good he’s got a chance to get away and compose himself, but if this kind of thing happens again, he has to be suspended. It has to be team first or the whole system is screwed.

Second, I know rookies are supposed to be the plebeians of the football world and they’re expected to carry pads and buy breakfast and shit, but this isn’t Hell Week and Barron isn’t rushing the Buccaneers. He’s already part of the team and a grown man and doesn’t need to move because a veteran tells him he’s in his seat. That’s what bullies do on the school bus and as we all know you have to stand up to bullies. I like the fact that Barron isn’t intimidated and won’t get pushed around. I’ll bet that shows up on the football field, too.

Talib In the Clear

June 19, 2012 at 04:54pm by Scott   •  5 Comments »

Talib is now free to punch the next person that pisses him off.
According to Aqib Talib‘s attorney, the charges for assault with a deadly weapon have been dropped and Talib is off the hook as far as his legal issues go.

“I guess the district attorney, in preparing for trial, had a chance to evaluate the case,” Talib’s attorney told the Times Monday. “The bottom line is that the complainant is sitting in jail as a repeat child molester and has prior cases of the same nature.”

So it’s not that Talib didn’t do anything, it’s just that his accuser is such a piece of shit that no one cares if he got pistol-whipped. That’s an interesting strategy from his attorney. Because since the charges have been dropped, he could have said anything he wanted about the situation whether it was true or not. “My client was tending to a basket of newborn kittens when the alleged assault took place!” I wonder why he chose to emphasize the fact that his accuser was a child molester and not that Talib was wrongfully accused.

Maybe Talib doesn’t mind having a reputation of beating the hell out of child molesters. Or maybe part of the deal was that Talib not proclaim his outright innocence since that would lead to questions about why he isn’t suing the Dallas PD for wrongful arrest. Or maybe I’m putting too much thought into it and should just shut my mouth. He’s the best corner on the team and he’ll very likely be around for the whole season. I’m not going to punch a gift horse in the mouth.