Josh Freeman

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Calm Down People

October 08, 2013 at 09:52am by Scott   •  20 Comments »

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There’s been a lot of talk about the state of the Bucs and the how this team is spiraling out of control and how Greg Schiano needs to be fired now and blah blah blah. It’s all over sports radio and the web that this team is already dead and buried and it’s Schiano’s fault. I don’t know how we became so impatient that a coach needs to be successful immediately in order to not get fired.

I realize there are arguments to be made that Schiano isn’t doing well. The Bucs are 0-4 to start the season and they have that record with a ton of talent on the roster. They seem to be regressing in certain aspects of their game. And there are more leaks and drama on the team than there has ever been in the past. But I’m going to lay most of that on Josh Freeman. We all knew Freeman was inaccurate and made bad decisions coming out of college (like, for example, coming out of college). We discussed it on this site and so did every other outlet. But he was big and strong and mobile and Raheem Morris really liked him and he was finally a chance for the Bucs to have their first true franchise quarterback in decades. And with the youth movement, there’s no way they were going to stick with someone like Jeff Garcia or Brian Griese. So I get it. But three and a half years of starting games and never finding consistency is long enough. You can blame the multiple offensive coordinators and quarterback coaches if you like, and there’s some validity to that. But when you combine his lack of productivity with his apparently lackadaisical approach to team obligations, it just wasn’t going to work.

This write-up by Roy Cummings gives an account of the last few weeks of the Josh Freeman era. Missed obligations by Freeman followed by leniency by the Bucs led only to more missed obligations. I had always heard that Freeman was a hard worker and forced other players to be accountable. Whether that was always exaggerated or used to be true but fell off in later years, I’m not sure. Whatever the case, Freeman ended his tenure as a Buccaneer as a slacker. And if Greg Schiano is intolerant of anything, it’s being a slacker.

(As much as I’ve ripped on Cummings over the years, that is a very even-handed look at the situation. But if you don’t trust Cummings, maybe you’ll believe Ronde Barber’s assessment of the situation: “The best thing that they did was release Josh. Somehow, someway that situation had to end. It had gotten toxic from both sides. Josh was manipulating, everybody felt like Coach was manipulating, but I don’t feel like Greg was that kind of guy. Greg wants what’s best for this team. I think he can get the locker room back. I want to see him get the locker room back.”)

Now that Schiano has Mike Glennon, the quarterback he wanted, he’s on the hook for the team now. But he’ll still need a couple years to groom Glennon. And this bullshit about Mark Dominik being on the hot seat has to end now. This team is stocked with talent at every level of both the offense and defense. Everybody keeps pointing at his drafts like they’re failures, but he has found some excellent players over the last couple years. The top end of the 2012 draft looks especially awesome. And it’s not just drafts. He also signed some free agents that have produced good numbers. It’s Dominik’s job to give Schiano the pieces he needs to succeed and I think he has done that. Glennon is really the only unknown piece (and unfortunately the most important one). Everywhere else — running back, offensive line, linebackers, secondary, wherever — he’s got legitimate stars.

The only issue now is that all three of the main guys — the general manager, the head coach and the quarterback — are all tied together. If Glennon fails, the team fails and that will fall on Schiano who will have not been able to succeed with tons of talent and his own quarterback. And if Schiano fails, that will fall on Dominik who will have hired two coaches who couldn’t get it done. But again, I think Glennon needs to have the rest of this year and all of next year to be tested before any real assessment can be made of any of them.

So listen, the Bucs aren’t going to the playoffs. They can’t win the division unless Drew Brees spontaneously combusts and I can guarantee there will be two teams better than them when the wildcards shake out. So the pressure is off, and you’ve got to watch the games with that attitude. When Glennon makes a mistake, look at it as a learning experience for him. Watch Gerald McCoy get better every week and watch the defense go from good to great. If they win, hey that’s awesome. If they lose, that’s a better draft slot next year. If you’re a Bucs fan from way back, you’ve been through this before and you know the possibilities are wide open. But continue to watch and continue to support. They’re still our team.

Banks Signs

May 25, 2013 at 01:03am by Scott   •  No Comments »

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The Bucs’ top draft pick, the easy-to-pronounce-but-silly-to-spell Johnthan Banks, signed his rookie deal yesterday, leaving only third-round quarterback Mike Glennon still unsigned. It’s a little unusual to have your last unsigned draft pick be a third-rounder, but Glennon’s agent may think he deserves more because he’s a quarterback, which I think is adorable. In the end, he will get whatever Mark Dominik decides to give him. If he’s lucky, Glennon won’t have a clause in his contract that compels him to bow whenever he passes Dominik in the hall. He’s done it before.

As far as Banks, it looks like the worst he’ll end up with is the nickel corner position to start the season. Depending on how training camp goes for Eric Wright and whether Darrelle Revis‘s knee, you know, starts working or not, he could be a starter. The Wright/Banks competition should be one of the more interesting battles this August.

Rookie Minicamp

May 13, 2013 at 01:35am by Scott   •  7 Comments »

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The Bucs held a rookie minicamp sometime in the last month or so. I’m pretty sure it was last week, but the Bucs’ draft was full of relatively anonymous players and I’ve been busy. What, you don’t have a calendar? Pirelli makes more than just tires, you know. Here’s the condensed version of what happened at the camp:

Johnthan Banks: Was on a separate field from the media and no one could tell what he was doing most of the time. Lined up at right CB on Day 2.
Mike Glennon: Big arm, very smart, sporadically accurate, started camp fumbling snaps from center.
Akeem Spence: Strong and fast, needs help with footwork.
William Gholston: Practices hard, has nasty streak, hot and cold practice but a lot of raw potential, played at DT and DE.
Steven Means: Easily overpowered, had relatively poor practice, hard worker.
Mike James: Out of view.

There were a ton of tryout players an undrafted free agents on the field for the minicamp, too. The Bucs wound up signing four. In alphabetical order:

WR Jheranie Boyd (North Carolina): Physically gifted, injury history
OT Jace Daniels (Northern Michigan): Another project tackle, strong.
WR Chris Denton (Mount Union): Projected return man, productive in DIII.
DE Ka’llal Glaud (Rutgers): Went to Rutgers, also plays LB, went to Rutgers.

To make room for the new guys, the team cut three players you didn’t know existed and George Selvie, who seems to have a soft spot in Bucs’ fans hearts since he went to USF.

Round 3: Mike Glennon

April 30, 2013 at 12:50am by Scott   •  10 Comments »

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With their third round pick, the Bucs took quarterback Mike Glennon out of NC State. I knew Mike from his season opener against Tennessee in 2012 (which the Volunteers won, by the way (although they didn’t win many more after that)) and thought he had a great arm but poor accuracy and limited pocket presence. He’s a good leader and is clean off the field, but I honestly didn’t think this was a good value for this pick for what he brings to the table. I’ve heard the comparisons to Joe Flacco and I guess I see the height and arm strength (Flacco still has the better arm) similarities, but Flacco was always more accurate. Glennon reminds me more of Derek Anderson, which makes him a solid backup, but no threat to Josh Freeman.

John Jenkins (Georgia) was still on the board and could have been a good NT to replace Roy Miller. Dallas Thomas (Tennessee) was also available and would have provided solid competition at RT. If the Bucs wanted to improve on Dan Orlovsky, Glennon may eventually be that guy. But I wouldn’t trust a game to him in 2013.

As long as I’m talking about quarterbacks, let me answer the “Why didn’t Tyler Bray get drafted?” question. It definitely surprised me. I thought he had a fifth-round value but that some team would overdraft him because teams overdraft quarterbacks every year. Not this year. They saw that the crop of quarterbacks was subpar and they stuck to their boards. Good for them, but tough for the kid who declared for the draft knowing that teams always pay a premium for a big arm. But Bray is a known jackass. Nothing terrible — mostly college prank stuff — but he doesn’t handle adversity on the field well, either, and that’s the dealbreaker. So the guy who probably had the best arm in the draft went unselected and was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Chiefs. He should have stayed in school. Everyone knew it, except apparently him and his agent.

A Slightly Better Backup?

April 16, 2013 at 11:37am by Scott   •  3 Comments »

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So, it’s been a few days… where to start? Oh, I know.

According to a report by Mike Florio in Profootballtalk.com, the trade talks between the Jets and Tampa Bay for cornerback Darrelle Revis have included the possibility of the Bucs assuming Mark Sanchez and his contract.

You might think I’m about to rag on Sanchez and say the Bucs shouldn’t take him. And you’d be half right because Sanchez is awful. Not an awful person since I don’t know him (although I’ve heard he’s a douche when you meet him) but an awful quarterback. But if the Bucs can restructure Sanchez’s contract so it’s more in line with what a likely backup makes and doesn’t include $8.25-million guaranteed, then he’s a better option than any of the other backups that are out there and would actually provide a perceived threat for Josh Freeman. Not an actual threat, of course, since Freeman is ten times better than Sanchez, but for some reason people keep thinking that Sanchez is good. Freeman knows Dan Orlovsky isn’t going to unseat him, but maybe Sanchez gets his attention a little more.

This is all assuming that including Sanchez as part of the Revis trade is to make it more equitable for the Bucs. If the Bucs are considering giving ANYTHING additional up for Sanchez, they should walk away now. They probably should anyway.

In other New York news, Da’Quan Bowers pled guilty to a minor charge of disorderly conduct and all the gun charges were dropped. Let this be a reminder to all of you to check your luggage for guns before you start packing for a trip. I suggest just jamming your hand into your bags blindly an feeling around for them.

The Bucs added a chicken nugget of camp meat in Eric Page, an undrafted free agent from 2012 who spend that year at home injured after receiving a settlement from the Broncos.

Did you know Eric Wright has a web site? In this blog entry, he explains the process of his restructure, his injury and conveys his gratitude several times to everyone involved. He’s saying all the right things. As long as he doesn’t take any of the wrong meds, I’m cool with it.

Now Who Will Wear The Baseball Cap?

April 05, 2013 at 01:28am by Scott   •  12 Comments »

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The Bucs released backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky today, leaving the team in about the same quarterback situation they were in yesterday. Orlovsky left the team’s headquarters and headed to his car, but walked a few steps outside the back of the parking lot, just for old time’s sake.

Orlovsky signed a two-year contract entering last season but the Bucs have been trying to upgrade their backup quarterback spot for several weeks. That included their efforts last week to acquire Carson Palmer, who liked the Tampa Bay as a destination but had serious doubts about his ability to beat out Freeman. Palmer ultimately was traded to the Cardinals for a seventh-round pick.

Palmer would have been a good addition and if the goal was to get competition for Josh Freeman, it would have been a decent fit. I don’t think Palmer could beat out Freeman, but he would have pushed him. Now the free agency quarterback class is really picked clean. You basically have Brady Quinn and Matt Leinart who are worth anything. Or if they just need a placeholder, Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich (again) are both available, but I don’t see either of them as an upgrade over Orlovsky. It would be really cool if I thought the Bucs had a plan in place before they cut Orlovsky. But the only other option besides the has-beens and failures I just listed would be someone like Jordan Palmer, who is awful, or spending a mid-round draft pick on a quarterback, who will definitely not push Freeman. Again, a Russell Wilson won’t happen every year. Especially not in this draft class. Or they could trade a draft pick for a backup veteran quarterback, which would be a terrible use of a draft pick. Can anyone help me understand this?

Oh, and the Bucs released D.J. Ware, probably because he didn’t go to Rutgers.

No News Is No News

March 26, 2013 at 01:20am by Scott   •  3 Comments »

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The only Bucs news happening right now is non-news and it involves cornerbacks not doing anything. Eric Wright is on the trading block but it’s silly to think any team will give up anything more than a free buffet coupon for him since there are still a ton of decent corners on the market already and Wright is one Pepsi Max away from a year-long suspension. Also, Ronde Barber told NFL Network today that he doesn’t know if he’s coming back and he has as long as he wants to think it over. Oh, and Darrelle Revis may not even be available for a trade since the Jets have no idea what they want for him. Wasn’t free agency supposed to be more fun than this?

(If that free buffet coupon is from Shoney’s, though, it might be worth it. Good french toast.)

Dashon Goldson Is A Buccaneer

March 14, 2013 at 01:27am by Scott   •  8 Comments »

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The Bucs announced today that they signed their first free agent this season, safety Dashon Goldson, formerly of the 49ers. Did you know they picked him up in their private plane and flew him to Tampa? I did, because it was covered so much that you’d think the story was about the plane ride and not his $41-million contract. How many hookers did they have on that plane to make it so important?

“I was encouraged that we recruited him hard enough to get him on the first flight,” general manager Mark Dominik said of the charter Goldson took to Tampa on Tuesday. “There were times I was nervous and wondering if we were able to make this come together.”

Kudos to Rick Stroud for foregoing the “Struck Gold” pun.

It’s a great signing, but it leaves Ronde Barber in the position of “go corner or go home”. The Bucs would probably welcome him back as the nickel corner since he’s still good at it and the next best corners they have under contract are Leonard Johnson and Danny Gorrer. Seriously. E.J. Biggers is an unrestricted free agent, as is Brandon McDonald. Eric Wright has no future with the team and Myron Lewis is doing exactly what we expected a Vanderbilt player to do in the NFL. So the name of the game tomorrow is, “How do we make Ronde happy?” Remember, an airplane full of hookers is never the wrong answer.

“We’re going to wait and see how Ronde feels,” Schiano said. “I’m going to let Ronde make his decision and celebrate Dashon’s signing and everything that goes with it.”

He’s playing it cool, but Schiano needs Ronde more than Ronde needs the Bucs. They’ll have to use a high draft pick and hit free agency to get the corner situation taken care of. Dunta Robinson already signed with the Chiefs, but there are still some interesting options out there. Was Nnamdi Asomugha overrated in Oakland or just a bad fit in Philadelphia? He could be had for a pretty reasonable price, I think. Derek Cox from the Jaguars just signed with San Diego, so he’s out of the mix. I thought he was a good young prospect. I thought Brent Grimes would be re-signed by Atlanta after they let Robinson go, but he’s still out there. DeAngelo Hall is still only 29 and not nearly the douchebag he was when he was with the Falcons. One of those guys plus a first (unlikely) or second (more likely) rounder will keep the Bucs from depending on guys who simply aren’t ready to start yet.

Schiano Eases Up

February 27, 2013 at 12:13am by Scott   •  5 Comments »

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Greg Schiano explained at the combine that he is going to loosen up some of the rules that he had been enforcing last year, turning the dial down from “dictator” to just “dick”. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a dick. We saw what happened when the Bucs had a buddy as their coach.

“We had one big thing we had to do. We had to establish a culture in the building,’’ Schiano said. “Sometimes, you have to go overboard one way or another to get that culture established. But I think at this point, our football team understands who I am and how our football program is going to be run. I think that happened as the season went on.’’

I like the fact that he knows he was going overboard and that it was for a purpose, and now he knows when it’s time to stop. He needed to weed out the Kellen Winslows of the team who wouldn’t buy into a more disciplined philosophy. And now Schiano is relaxing stuff and Winslow is unemployed.

“Oh, just some mandatory things I don’t think grown men need,’’ Schiano said. “Take mandatory meals. If a guy is meeting his weight — we have goal weights a guy has to meet each week — if a guy is meeting his weight, I don’t think they need any of our staff making sure they check in for breakfast and for lunch. They’re grown men, they’re professional athletes. But again, we had to establish a culture of accountability. But now they understand. And if your weight isn’t where it’s supposed to be, you will get checked in.’’

I spent a few minutes trying to think of a way to make fun of this, but it all sounds very reasonable. If he doesn’t give me some material soon, I’m going to have to start in on the gap in his teeth, and that’s just childish.

Oh You Jackass

February 18, 2013 at 11:52pm by Scott   •  4 Comments »

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Because falling from the first round in his draft because of his knee and then missing the first six games of last season because of his Achille’s wasn’t challenging enough, Da’Quan Bowers thought he’d make his NFL career a little more interesting by carrying a loaded gun into a New York airport.

Bowers had a loaded .40 caliber firearm in his carry-on bag as he was attempting to get on a US Airways flight to Raleigh, North Carolina.

The story is that Bowers forgot he had the gun in his bag and then, once he remembered it, told TSA workers and made them aware of the situation. Which is what he should have done in that situation. But what would have been better is not being so cavalier with his guns that he forgets he has one is his carry-on bag. My question is, where did he confess? Had he already passed through security and been cleared? Here’s how it’s worded in the original article:

He was about to board a US Airways flight to Raleigh, North Carolina.

That makes it sound like he was at the gate, right? So let’s all take a moment to thank a TSA worker for pulling 88-year old women aside in order to inspect their colostomy bags while not noticing a loaded handgun in a bag. And I’m not a fan of profiling, but if you hold up a headshot of the old lady and a headshot of Bowers and ask 100 people, “Who is more likely to hijack an airplane with a handgun?” I’ll say 101 will say Bowers because the guy asking the questions will say, “I know, right?” after every person gives the obvious answer.

Oh, and congratulations to Bowers for picking New York to pull this stunt right after they signed new gun laws into effect, one of which is a magazine limit of seven rounds. Bowers’s weapon was reported as a .40 caliber handgun. The Glock 22, a popular .40 caliber handgun, has a standard magazine capacity of 15 rounds. He should have flown out of Dallas where they issue guns to you like headphones and peanuts.

Mark Dominik had no comment about this situation, but DL line depth is pretty shitty, so I’m going to say this isn’t going to affect Bowers’s status on the team. Maybe there will be a fine or something, but certainly nothing more than a suspension. And that’s how it should be. He actually surrendered the gun when he figured it out, which is a whole lot different than trying to sneak it past everyone. It was dumb — really fucking dumb — but not malicious. And completely different than Plaxico Burress‘s thing where he shot himself in the leg while carrying a loaded handgun into a night club and, you know, SECURED IT IN THE WAISTBAND OF HIS SWEATPANTS. If Bowers gets the same two years in prison that Burress got, then the justice system in New York obviously isn’t the well-oiled machine I remember from The Warriors.