Josh Freeman

Posts Tagged ‘bears’

At Least They Got A Vacation Out Of It

October 25, 2011 at 10:29am by Scott   •  9 Comments »

London 1

So much for that thing about getting to London early and getting all settled in. The Bears barely arrived before kickoff and they looked fresh as fucking daisies. The Bucs just don’t travel all that well. Last season looked good with wins in San Fran, Arizona and Seattle, but last year all those teams really sucked. With the level of competition knocked up a notch this year, the travelling thing becomes an issue again.

Are we allowed to say that Josh Freeman has regressed? Is that allowed or are the Bucs too invested in him to let even the slightest doubt creep into the public discourse? I understand that since there was no running game, the Bears could key in on Freeman and play the pass. But Freeman is FORCING the ball several times per game. I’m dumb as shit and even I can see it. Ten passes defensed in addition to four interceptions is a lot. He’s staring guys down and making bad decisions. All this can be corrected, but if he doesn’t have an effective running game to take some pressure off of him, there aren’t going to be a lot of good decisions out there to make.

And even when Freeman makes a good decision and gets the ball to the right guy, his receivers are dropping more balls than normal. Are they that surprised that the ball touches their hands? And is it just me, or did a lot of receivers seem to hit the ground awfully fast after they made a catch? That may have just been my imagination, but it really seemed like guys would catch the ball and then just kind of sit on the ground.

Kregg Lumpkin is not the answer at running back. I know it’s a controversial statement, but I’m making it. He’s not good at anything. If you follow the SEC, you’re not shocked by this. I know the mentality these days is that you can just grab a running back from a D-III school and plug him into your system and he’ll be fine, but that’s not turning out to be true. The position isn’t as plug and play as the draft analysts would have you think. There’s a reason why players like Matt Forte can still excel even with a shit offensive line. They’re actually good. Some kind of real depth will have to be acquired in the offseason. In the meantime, the Bucs need a reliable stopgap since Earnest Graham is out for the season. You know who would be good? Cadillac Williams. Oh wait.

I just got an email that mentioned Tiki Barber as a possibility. I’m deleting that person from my address book. Tiki may remember enough to get in a rushing linebacker’s way and be a decent pass-protector, but I wouldn’t count on him rushing for any significant yardage, and that’s what the Bucs need. A real running game will solve a lot of problems. When does LeGarrette Blount come back again?

Did Arrelious Benn dress for the game? He’s on the starting roster, but Freeman looked to him exactly once. With Mike Williams sucking ass this season and admitting as much publicly, it seems like to would be smart to look to other guys. Benn is the best YAC player on the team. Put the ball in his hands and let him do good stuff with it.

Dezmon Briscoe played a lot instead of Benn. Maybe Benn was hurting? Briscoe looked good, but even he dropped his first pass. Nice touchdown, though.

Aqib Talib‘s fourth quarter personal foul may be the dumbest penalty I’ve ever seen. Holy shit, that was stupid. Talib needs to take the entire defense out to dinner for holding the Bears for three more downs. It didn’t get back the time that was wasted, but at least they had a shot.

And Ronde Barber owes Talib a kick in the balls for making that sack irrelevant on the first third down. Barber almost took the snap from center, that’s how fast he came off the ball. It was an incredible play that was completely overshadowed by Talib’s loose cannon. That was Ronde’s 27th career sack. He’s a cornerback. That’s insane.

Oh, and Ronde got the first safety of his career on Sunday, too. It was a big day for him. The Bucs did a write-up on it here.

How many tackles did Quincy Black miss? A thousand? Start Dekoda Watson. He has the physical specimen thing down and he is a more sure tackler.

Adam Hayward is mad at the world for some reason and he’s taking it out on opponents, which is awesome. He laid a couple dudes out on Sunday.

Adrian Clayborn owned his blocker. Some players have regressed since the preseason, but Clayborn is one of the few that has gotten steadily better. I wasn’t sold on him during the draft, but I’m becoming a believer.

This game seemed pretty typical of the Bucs this season. Start out slow and count on Freeman to pull out a miracle at the last second. I think we’ve all said that they can’t keep that up forever, and it looks like we’re right. It’s not a recipe for long-term success and that’s the mantra this team has been chanting for three years now. Building from the ground up so they can have a consistent winner. But winning consistently comes with playing consistently and scoring consistently, not sucking for three quarters and then magically scoring four touchdowns.

Okay, I’ve waited long enough to post this. Your thoughts in the comments.

REAR ENTRIES: Time For A Little Strajiddy

October 21, 2011 at 10:09am by Scott   •  11 Comments »

Rear Entry 98

(HT Bugs Bunny)

LEGARRETTE BLOUNT STILL OUT: Earnest Graham should get the start again since LeGarrette Blount didn’t practice at all this week. Something I didn’t mention but should have is the signing of Chad Spann, a rookie running back who went undrafted out of Northern Illinois. I’m not sure what this says about Mossis Madu, but it’s not good. Madu looked decent in the preseason, but evidently not good enough for games that count. Spann is on the active roster and considering the depth at the position, may actually be active for the game. Spann is listed at 5-8, 202 and runs about a 4.5 40. I’m sure he has other characteristics as well, but they don’t mean as much to me right now.

INJURY UPDATES: Mason Foster and Michael Bennett returned to practice today after sitting out with some injuries earlier in the week. The Bucs’ site says there’s “reason for optimism” concerning their availability for the game, so they’re in. Gerald McCoy is did not practice this morning and is said to be a “game time decision”. Sammie Stroughter will probably not play this Sunday. Kellen Winslow practiced yesterday, but the Times felt the need to list that fact like this:

TE Kellen Winslow (chronically sore right knee) also practiced.

Asses.

GUESS WHO THE BUCS WON’T KICK TO: In a strategy straight out of Sun Tsu’s mouth, Raheem Morris has revealed a key to winning Sunday’s game: Keep the ball out of their best player’s hands. Try not to pass out from overgasping.

Coach Raheem Morris said he hopes punter Michael Koenen can knock the ball out of bounds and boom kickoffs through the end zone to avoid the Bears record holder.

Devin Hester set the NFL mark with his 17th kick return for a touchdown last week.

I’d like to remind everyone that this is only Hester’s sixth season. And he spent at least one season not returning kicks because the brain trust in Chicago wanted to “save him” for the offense. You know those records people say will never be broken? At the end of his career, we’ll be saying that about the number of kicks/punts he returned for touchdowns. So yeah, don’t kick to him.

“No. Devin Hester will have to go against our Pro Bowler, hopefully, our Pro Bowler, a grass skirt guy if we can get him into one, in Michael Keonen,” Morris said.

I stared at that for about 20 seconds before I realized what Morris was saying when he called Koenen a “grass skirt guy”. In the context of the whole quote, it makes sense even though it’s awkward, so I’ll let it go. Too bad. It’s been a while since we’ve had a real quality Raheemism. Some reporter out there needs to mention underwear in a press conference question and see where he goes with it. He may just need a push.

The Bears Won’t Be Sightseeing

October 18, 2011 at 10:33am by Scott   •  No Comments »

I just realized that the 49ers beat the Bucs worse last week than the Patriots did here two years ago. Wow.
While the Bucs took off for London seemingly right after they showered from the Saints game, the Bears aren’t leaving Chicago until Thursday evening.

“It’s a business trip for us,” Lovie Smith said Monday of the decision to go later in the week. “We didn’t go over there early because we want to go through our same game week routine, our practice field, our equipment, our meeting rooms. (We want to) do what we normally do when we play a road game. Go out at the end of the week and play the game. That’s how we are looking at the game.”

Wait, that’s an option? I thought the teams had to go over there early for league business and to do shitloads of media and mingle with the limeys. I had no idea they could just mosey on over there whenever they damn well pleased. You’d think the Bears would have been the team to go early since they haven’t been there before. The Bucs were just there two years ago — it hasn’t changed all that much. Big Ben still ringing? Check. Busses still have an upstairs? Check. Is there anything else left?

“I think the plan we have is great,” Bears defensive end Israel Idonije said. “We’ll get in, we’ll practice, the guys will be well rested. We’ll be good to go. I’ve traveled internationally quite a bit. You just have to make sure you sleep when you are supposed to sleep and make sure your clock isn’t thrown off. If you do that, you’ll be all right.”

I guess that’s the difference. The Bucs will be more acclimated to the time change and weather and the awful shit they call a playing field, whereas the Bears will be doing things normally up through Thursday afternoon and then be taking a “business trip”. But if the San Francisco game taught us anything (besides not to underestimate Frank Gore), it’s that if you just show up somewhere far from home and try to play, it’s fucking hard. The Bucs will be more in their element by the time Sunday rolls around. Advantage: Bucs.

Derrick May Just Be Done

September 15, 2009 at 10:22am by Scott   •  1 Comment »

Derrick Brooks - the black Thurston Howell III
The Bears talked to Derrick Brooks yesterday and after briefly considering the future Hall of Famer and one of the best linebackers of all time not to mention his leadership and off-the-field contributions, decided to go with a couple guys you probably don’t know.

Hunter Hillenmeyer, a seventh-year player from Vanderbilt, will start at middle linebacker Sunday against Pittsburgh. Nick Roach is expected to start on the strong side if Tinoisamoa can’t play.

Tim Shaw, who adds linebacker depth and can play special teams, was signed Monday. Shaw, in his second year, was recently released by Jacksonville.

This is the third team so far that has considered Brooks only to pass him over for relative unknowns. And it’s not like these were teams just looking for some veteran leadership; they really needed some linebackers. I don’t know if Brooks is making some kind of money or playing time demands that these teams aren’t willing to meet, but something is causing all of them to pass him over despite his credentials. Teams are going to lose more players throughout the season, so someone may be willing to finally sign him if they get desperate enough, but it’s sure looking to me like he’s about done with playing football. I mean, who the fuck is Tim Shaw and why is he better than Brooks?

Chicago Talking To Derrick Brooks

September 14, 2009 at 03:42pm by Scott   •  2 Comments »

Briggs ain't giving up #55 for anyone. Brooks will be in a different color AND number.
In case you hadn’t heard, Brian Urlacher is out for the year after hurting his wrist in last night’s choke-a-thon. Adam Schefter is reporting that the Bears are now talking to Derrick Brooks about coming to Chicago. Schefter is kind of thinking the same thing I am.

He’s more weakside LB, which means Lance Briggs might have to move inside.

Not just Brooks’s body type, but also the fact that in Chicago, Urlacher makes all the calls, so Brooks would probably be lost there for a while learning terminology and checks if he was put in the middle. It makes much more sense for Briggs to slide to the middle and let Derrick work the weakside. As Bucs fans have been saying for years, he might work even better on the strongside where he doesn’t have to run as much, especially considering that he hasn’t been playing.

“He’s ready to go,” Barnes said. “He’s been training just like normal. He could play Sunday. In the defense, he would be able to come in and assimilate quickly.”

Yeah, well, there’s a big difference between working out and getting into “football shape” in the gym and getting smacked in the mouth for three weeks in training camp. I have no doubt that Brooks has been training hard, but maybe sticking him on the strongside, at least for a couple weeks, would be the way to go here.

Oh Thank God This Is Over

April 03, 2009 at 09:43am by Scott   •  6 Comments »

Jay Cutler: The NFL's only goth.
When I was getting texted about the Jay Cutler trade last night, I was working up in my head how I was going to skewer Pat Bowlen for letting his quarterback complain his way out of town and how Bowlen’s wife might as well consider herself a lesbian now.

But holy shit, did you see the package he got for Cutler? In exchange for Cutler and their own 2009 fifth rounder, Denver received Chicago’s 2009 first rounder (#18 overall) and third rounders (#84 overall), their 2010 first rounder and Kyle Orton. That’s a haul. Plus keep in mind that Denver gave St. Louis a third rounder in 2006 to move up four spaces to get Cutler in the first place. How many draft picks is this one diabetic worth?

There’s a lot of speculation now about what Denver will do about their quarterback position. Not many people consider Orton or Chris Simms as true starting-caliber quarterbacks, so the popular theory is that Denver will package together their two first rounders to get Mark Sanchez (Southern Cal) because he won’t make it to #12. And after seeing a lot of Sanchez’s pro day, I have to admit I’m liking him more than I did a month ago. Matthew Stafford (Georgia) should have gotten some advice from Sanchez on how to conduct a pro day before he had his. After Sanchez completed his script, he actually took requests for throws from observing NFL coaches who wanted to see him throw under duress (into the wind, rolling in different directions, etc.) Sanchez made every single throw.

The only reason this affects the Buccaneers is that there is one more quarterback-needy team that has a pick before the Bucs now, so if anyone out there was hoping for Sanchez, forget it. His value just shot up because of this Cutler thing and even a team that doesn’t need a quarterback could leverage their slot to scare someone like Denver or San Francisco into trading up to get him, maybe even as high as #2. That would put a premium on Josh Freeman (Kansas State) who is the only other quarterback to get a first round grade (which wouldn’t be the case in any other year) and very likely put Freeman out of reach for the Bucs as well. That would be great news because then all this bullshit talk about drafting a first round quarterback could end and we could concentrate on getting the defensive lineman we so desperately need.

Marcus Hamilton Helped Beat The Bears Again

October 15, 2008 at 09:49am by Scott   •  2 Comments »

Guess who you don't see in this picture.
Marcus Hamilton was brought up from the practice squad when Aqib Talib was hurt and Elbert Mack was suspended for the game against Chicago. He did a decent job; had a couple passes defensed and made a good tackle. But when the Bucs tried to sneak him back on the practice squad, the Bears claimed him off waivers. They liked him that much.

Now, as a Bear, he was a key player in the fascinating choke job they had against the Falcons in the last seven seconds of that game.

The key to the play was Hamilton. Instead of sinking to give [Mike] Brown enough cushion on the play, he bit up on the flat route. In a situation like this, a corner in any Tampa 2 scheme has to know that when there is a flat route in front of you there is most certainly a Dig (15-yard square in) or a 7 Route behind you. Atlanta couldn’t run the dig route with the amount of time left on the clock, so the only thing they had in that play was the hope that Hamilton would chase a flat route that had no bearing on the outcome of the game.

And he did.

One thing that separates NFL players from college players is their preparation and understanding of the situation. Hamilton has to know, as a pro, that there is only one route that Atlanta can run in hopes of getting to the sideline with time left to spare. It might look like Brown was too deep on that play, but Hamilton left him out to dry at the most inopportune time. Given the depth Brown aligned at due to the requirements of playing “Loose 2,” he has no chance to make that play. If the corner doesn’t sink, this is an easy pass to throw, and [Matt] Ryan threw a rope.

Hamilton doesn’t have a lot of in-game experience, so it’s not surprising that he bit on the route, but the fact that it was a rookie quarterback that executed the play doesn’t make him look any better. And so far, I’ve seen that particular pass replayed about 300 times in the last three days. And sure enough, he gets beat every time. It’s too bad, too, because he could have really helped his former team out by making that play and putting Atlanta a game and a half behind the Bucs.

On a different note, I really like Matt Bowen‘s writing style and technical explanations. He was a safety with Washington for a few years, so he knows about covering receivers and what to look for. And since he’s not in the league anymore, chances are good he also knows about biting on routes and getting beat. It would be nice if Tampa reporters could offer this kind of analysis and depth. You can’t tell me there’s not a former Buccaneer out there with decent writing skills that wouldn’t jump at the chance to have his own column. Come on, Tribune… get it done. I’ll even fly down to Tampa to help Martin Fennelly pack up the shit in his office.

Guess Who Claimed Marcus Hamilton Off Waivers

September 23, 2008 at 11:06pm by Scott   •  1 Comment »

The Bucs tried to get Marcus Hamilton back on the practice squad, but to do that he would have to first clear waivers. He didn’t because the Bears picked him up and put him on their active roster. According to NFL rules, he has to stay active for three weeks. For being Hamilton’s first regular season NFL game, he didn’t do too bad, especially considering that Ronde Barber was having a real hard time with the Bears as well.

Elbert Mack is due back from his suspension tomorrow and Aqib Talib‘s injury isn’t supposed to be that serious, so things should be more back to normal in the secondary this week. Still, it’s always nice to have quality guys in the practice squad. No word yet on who the Bucs will replace Hamilton with.

One of the better plays by a cornerback during last week's game.

Football Is Bad For Your Nuts

September 23, 2008 at 11:03pm by Scott   •  1 Comment »

I re-watched the second half of the game this evening and forgot just how many times Chicago had to put the game away. The Bears had chances for two inteceptions that were squandered and Bears receivers had perfect passes fly through their hands. But the biggest break the Bucs got was the personal foul penalty on Charles Tillman after he flew into a pileup late and then got into a scrap with Michael Clayton.

At the time, the game announcers were watching the replay and saw that the bottom portion of that pileup was made up of Jeremy Trueblood throwing wild punches at Adewale Ogunleye. “Oh, Trueblood should have been penalized for that,” they said. Not so fast.

“One thing I don’t stand for is somebody grabbing you in your genitals,” he said. “I don’t know who it was, but whoever was beneath me paid the price.”

I’ll tell you who it was, Jeremy. It was #93, Ogunleye. Trueblood rolled on top of Ogunleye during the play. Ogunleye’s hand is lost from sight in between Trueblood’s legs for about one second, and immediately after that Trueblood starts swinging. Trueblood is intense and a hothead, but I seriously doubt that the timing is a coincidence. You hear about it all the time; you don’t want to be in the middle of a pileup because that kind of shit happens. I don’t blame Trueblood one bit for pounding the nearest blue helmet with his fist after getting his junk crushed. If you’re that interested in grabbing balls, be a pitcher. I think that’s all they do on the mound. In conclusion, fuck the Bears.

Seriously, you want to grab this guy's balls?  Forget how gay it is, you're probably never going to get that smell off your hands.

Turnovers? Bah.

September 21, 2008 at 10:46pm by Scott   •  5 Comments »

Fuck Dexter Jackson. Fuck him with a rusty claw hammer. Unless the equipment guy is fitting him with roller skates instead of cleats, there’s no reason for him to be falling as much as he does. He is clearly taking dives. And Michael Bennett is still on the bench? Bennett as a punt returner would be about a million times better than Jackson right now. Seriously, Gruden, activate Bennett and sit Jackson.

Ike Hilliard got the start after all. And, of course, he comes through.

Gruden finally had enough of Dexter Jackson’s bullshit and put Michael Clayton in for kickoff returns. Clayton’s best return was 29 yards and Jackson’s was 21 yards. Clayton is pretty slow, but he’s not afraid to get hit.

The defensive line had a pretty decent day. Monte Kiffin seems to have found a nice rotation that keeps everyone fresh. And Jovan Haye stepped it up with six tackles.

You know who else had six tackles? Ronde Barber. That’s not so good. What happened to Ronde when he was matched up against Brandon Lloyd? Holy shit, Marcus Hamilton had a better day against Lloyd than Barber did. Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but not by much. Lloyd must have studied film non-stop during the week and learned all of Barber’s tendencies.

Barrett Ruud continues to be the gold standard for middle linebackers. Not only did he lead the team in tackles, did you see that interception? Ruud didn’t. He just watched Matt Forte‘s eyes and put his hands up at the same time. That’s pure instinct.

Speaking of Forte, it seemed like he was racking up crazy yards, but when I went back and looked, he only had 89 with a long of 11. That shows some good line and linebacker play, but they also made the Bucs respect the run and failed to make Kyle Orton one-dimensional.

Is there a more inconsistent quarterback than Brian Griese? I guess that’s better than being all bad, but I needed oxygen at halftime because I had to hold my breath before every pass. Now, the dude threw 67 passes, so he’s going to have some bad ones. But, wow. Some of those overthrows and interceptions were just awful.

And then the last four minutes comes along and he’s on fire. The Bear defense played off and the receivers got some yards after the catch at the end of the game, so let’s not all pretend that Griese suddenly figured it all out. I’ll give him credit for the win, but all his wins as a Buc happened after overcoming some crippling mistakes.

On the positive side, 67 dropbacks and not a single sack. He got hurried quite a bit, but never taken down. That’s some nice pass protection.

But why can’t we ever have both good pass protection AND run blocking? Nobody got any push and the only real run yards came off of draw plays. And Earnest Graham was practically invisible. Yes, I realize that sometimes the Bears had NINE in the box. I guess that’s why Griese had 407 yards passing. It’s a trade off, but I would have thought that Griese would have had more opportunities for big plays with so many guys in the box.

The wide receivers had a decent day. Even Clayton caught five passes. Maurice Stovall needs to stick to special teams, though. He’s just not that good a receiver.

I certainly hope there’s no one left who is lamenting the dismissal of Ben Troupe and the re-admission of Jerramy Stevens. Stevens makes plays. Sixty-one yards and a touchdown after two games off.

Six penalties for 61 yards is actually an improvement over last week. That grounding penalty, though, was a killer. Griese is in there because he doesn’t make stupid mistakes. That was stupid.

I have mixed feelings about this game. I don’t know that the Bucs deserved to win it, but I’m pretty sure the Bears didn’t, either. It seemed like both teams were doing their best to choke it away. In the end, good teams find ways to win at the end of the game. So, you know, yeah and everything. But but they’ve got a lot of work to do if they’re going to be considered among the better teams in the NFC. Green Bay will answer a lot of questions next week.

Ok, is it just me, or is Ruud's package really pronounced in this photo?  No, I'm not staring.  It's right there!