Josh Freeman

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Bucs Win First Game Since Last October

August 13, 2012 at 11:56am by Scott   •  4 Comments »

preseason20121

I finally got a chance to see the Miami preseason game last night since NFL Network insisted on waiting until yesterday morning at 7:00AM to air it for the first time. Add to that the fact that every single write-up about this game focused on the Dolphins with barely any analysis of Tampa Bay and my theory that there is an anti-Buccaneer conspiracy within the NFL starts to make sense. Someone call Jesse Ventura and tell him to get on this.

* Josh Freeman looked pretty sharp, but Dan Orlovsky was on fire. Every pass was on target and his 100% completion rate showed it. He’s really one of the only guys I have to make fun of this season, so if he keeps doing well this preseason, it’s going to really screw me over.

* Greg Schiano and Mike Sullivan were making a point with his play calling. This is a running team and they run when they feel like it. The Bucs ran the ball 34 times and passed it 24. They only got 2.5 yards per carry, but a lot of that had to do with the poor run blocking in the second half. Michael Smith had nowhere to go. But when the starters were in (sans Donald Penn), LeGarrette Blount looked great. One time he was even split out at receiver. Some backups came in and Doug Martin also looked good with a sweet ten yard run showing off his balance.

* Speaking of Michael Smith, his kickoff return for 74 yards was a great display of vision and body control, but I thought he was supposed to be the fastest guy on the field. He got chased down from behind. Here’s a tip: If your greatest asset is your speed, you are not allowed to get chased down from behind.

* Luke Stocker‘s one catch was super sweet and was a great example of the kind of play he can make when they need him to. Between two defenders and behind him, Stocker still snagged it. Go Vols.

* Tiquan Underwood caught all three passes thrown his way, including one that never should have been thrown. The Miami safety should have had that pick, but Underwood kept his eyes on the ball and came down with it when everything shook out. Awesome concentration and hands.

* In the middle of my typing this review, the Bucs defense was called for another offsides penalty. Schiano isn’t going to stand for penalties, especially bullshit ones that are totally avoidable like offsides. Some dudes are going to be running gassers today so they can remember to wait until the ball is snapped.

* Another avoidable penalty: Preston Parker‘s personal foul. It was a scrap with a Dolphins player and might have been overlooked if he hadn’t muffed that punt. Stars can get into fights and get flagged and get away with it. Guys who drop footballs can’t.

* I think the Bucs had more big plays during this game than they did in the last ten games last season.

* Lavonte David is fast. Did you see him make that tackle on punt coverage? He got down there before the ball did.

* Adrian Clayborn is so fast off the ball. He didn’t post any stats in the game, but he’s going to be tough to block this season.

* Myron Lewis started the game but looked hesitant and lost. I’ve heard good things about him in camp, but he was invisible during the game. I’m guessing this is his last chance with the Bucs and he may not survive the cut to 53. But at least he’ll have one more chance with the Redskins when Raheem Morris convinces them to pick him up.

* But Anthony Gaitor looked great. Passes broken up, solid tackling, tight coverage. It’s not even a contest right now if the decision is between Lewis and Gaitor.

* Mason Foster had three tackles and played for less than a quarter. There is a new dedication to stopping the run and it looks like Foster is going to be leading that charge.

I thought it was an impressive showing and a great indication of the direction the Bucs are headed. Your impressions in the comments.

This Is 8-8 Hair, At Best

July 26, 2012 at 10:43am by Scott   •  No Comments »

8-8hair

Arriving for training camp this morning, Josh Freeman looked noticeably slimmer and fitter, the result of his hard work this offseason to get in better shape. But the one area he clearly neglected is obviously the most important one. Freeman kept his frohawk and it’s hard to believe a hard ass like Greg Schiano will let this stand, especially with his reputation for details like this. We’ll see if it changes before the regular season, but if not, he’s basically handing the division to the Falcons. Julio Jones understands — he cut his braids because he knew they were bringing the whole team down. Every time Freeman overthrows his receivers, think about that thing under his helmet throwing off his balance.

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.

REAR ENTRIES: D-Line And Hair Line

June 11, 2012 at 11:19am by Scott   •  3 Comments »

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DLINE WOES: With all the optimism over the new regime and the focus on discipline and details, there’s always someone who wants to piss on your Corn Flakes and tell you something about the season that’s going to suck. Today, Roy Cummings is your pisser and the defensive line is what’s bringing us down.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik still dreams of fielding a defensive line consisting of ends Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers and tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price.

Dream is about all he can do.

While the article is mostly about Price, Bowers is the only real issue here. He thinks he’ll be back for part of the season, but we’ll go ahead and scratch him off until 2013 and if he does happen to come back early, fine. But Michael Bennett is no slouch and George Johnson is supposed to be an up-and-comer, so I don’t think the left DE spot is going to suffer terribly. Price is in California training and expects to come back stronger than ever, but you’d never know that from this article.

If Price is not ready for this week’s three-day mandatory minicamp, Schiano said he hoped Price would be ready for training camp in late July.

Those are hardly encouraging words, especially about a player who admittedly played at about 60 percent last season while recovering from surgeries to reattach his hamstrings to his pelvis.

The fact that Price played at all last year is pretty amazing, let alone that he did well. He’ll be in Tampa for training camp because it’s a new coaching staff and new system and he needs to learn it. If they take it easy on him and don’t make him practice as much as everyone else, it’s not the worst thing in the world as long as he’s in shape for the season. And he seems dedicated to that goal. How about we wait until at least July before we start casting doom and gloom on the season.

SAPP SCHOOL: When Gerald McCoy was first drafted, Warren Sapp spent some time with him and Brian Price to try to get them to adopt an attitude of dedication. Maybe it worked, but it didn’t translate into much effectiveness. So now it’s time for Sapp to actually share defensive tackle techniques that could help in, you know, a game. But only a couple.

“When I come back from L.A. this time, me and him are going to get on the field together. I just want to see what he’s thinking, get his mind right, maybe just a couple little tips here and there. This ain’t rocket science. I’m not going to give him the formula to become the next tyrant on the field. But I promise you, you’ll see a much more improved and a much more complete player on the field this year.”

Why wouldn’t he give him the formula to become a tyrant on the field? Sapp wants the Bucs to win, right? He wants McCoy to be the best he can possibly be, right? THEN TELL HIM EVERYTHING! Give him every possible tool he could need to be successful and then let him synthesize them into his own style. I understand the merits of figuring things out on your own, but it’s not like McCoy is going to turn into a Sapp clone as soon as Sapp bestows these secrets on him. McCoy will still have to work and practice and watch film in order to be successful at it. What’s the purpose of holding back, unless Sapp thinks McCoy will overshadow his legacy if he tells him everything he knows. That would be pretty shitty, even for Sapp.

UNACCEPTABLE: Josh Freeman took a break from his football camp at Wesley Chapel to talk to the media about Greg Schiano‘s running game. It’s an interesting article and you should read it to get excited about the possibilities in the backfield, but that’s not what this entry is about.

Do you see the banner pic? Do you see that fucking hair? That, my friends, is a frohawk. And it is decidedly non-championship. True fact: No Super Bowl winning quarterback has ever sported a frohawk. Do you think Joe Montana could have won with that? No fucking way. Hell, even superdouche Ben Roethlisberger never went that far. If Johnny Unitas were alive, he would take a flight to Tampa just to smack Freeman in the mouth. You have less than three months before you start playing games that count, Josh. Abandon that failed boy band look and grow your shit out NOW. Remember this guy?

Josh Freeman as we all know and love him.

That’s a winner. That’s championship hair. Anything less than that and you’re just not trying.

Freeman Lite

May 10, 2012 at 11:04am by Scott   •  1 Comment »

Hell, those sweatbands are probably five pounds each by themselves.
According to Mark Dominik, Josh Freeman is 20 pounds lighter this offseason, which would be great news if he were inclined to pull the fucking ball down and run from time to time.

“You’ve seen a guy who’s completely committed to getting his season back on track and hitting the reset button and getting his game back to hopefully to more of what we saw in 2010 as a young 22-year-old,” Dominik said. “The last couple years, he’s been playing around 255-260. Right now, he’s sitting downstairs weighing about 235-238. He’s getting his body right, working on getting more mobility and better conditioned and buying in, heart and soul, to how and what Mike Sullivan is and wants to be as offensive coordinator.”

I know Freeman wants to be a complete quarterback and not scramble around all the time, but when he’s that big and that fast, it’s not a sin to tuck the ball away and just run from time to time. I don’t want them to move to the college option or anything; I just don’t want our quarterback to force balls down the field when there’s a perfectly good eight-yard pickup right in front of him.

By the way, I have been given assurances from the team that none of those 20 pounds are from his hair.

Down On The Up Escalators

March 12, 2012 at 10:29am by Scott   •  4 Comments »

Cap 1

As I’ve said before, I don’t care how much money the Bucs actually spend. It’s none of my business and I’m not going to cry for them if they overspend. But when it comes to cap figures, that’s when it affects their ability to sign new players and be competitive, and then I care. Pat Yasinskas has some interesting numbers involving escalators that various players earned over the last season that will affect the salary cap this season and beyond. According to the article, the escalators haven’t been figured into the $67-million cap number we’ve been hearing.

That will eat into early reports that had the Bucs heading for the start of free agency with around $67 million in cap space.

Even after everything is figured in, the Bucs will still be sitting pretty for free agency, but it’s interesting to see what these guys earned.

Quarterback Josh Freeman kicked in a $5.5 million escalator by meeting certain playing time and statistical requirements in 2010. Freeman now is carrying an $8.545 million cap figure for this season.

$8.5-million for a franchise quarterback is still a deal, but considering Freeman’s output last year, it’s a little scary. But wait, there’s more.

He also already has kicked in a $7 million escalator for 2013 and that number could end up going as high as $9.455 million if he meets more escalators this season.

I’m reading that as $7-million plus whatever his salary is plus the pro-rated portion of his signing bonus. If Freeman has another year like this year, you’d have to think that Mark Dominik will start to talk about a restructure to put that cap number more in line with his production. If Freeman meets certain marks in 2012 that $7-million figure goes up, but of course if he’s performing to that level, we won’t care.

Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy earned a $5.1 million escalator based on his 2010 performance and now is carrying a $9.443 million cap figure for 2012. McCoy also has kicked in $6 million in escalators for 2013 and $7.7 million for 2014.

They’re already talking on shows about the draft how the Bucs need to fortify their defensive tackles because McCoy and Price have been hurt too much. And it’s hard to argue with, although I still think it’s too early to give up on them. But $9.4-million for McCoy is steep considering how much he’s on the field. And what were those marks that kicked in escalators for 2013 and 2014? They couldn’t have been playing time marks since he was hurt. He didn’t have a bunch of sacks. Maybe he got a bonus for the number of OCNN reports he did. McCoy seemed to always be pimping that shit.

Cornerback E.J. Biggers earned an $875,000 escalator with his 2010 performance and is carrying a $1.455 cap figure this year.

Biggers got a ton of playing time and $1.5-million still isn’t too bad, but he just doesn’t seem worth it. Let’s hope the Bucs add some quality at corner both in free agency and in the draft because if Ronde Barber retires and Aqib Talib gets suspended or cut, Biggers will be the best corner on the team. Let that one sink in.

Receiver Sammie Stroughter earned a $435,000 for this year based on his 2010 performance. His cap figure for this season is $1.012 million.

Bye Sammie. Sorry it didn’t work out. There’s no way they keep you for that cap number.

Defensive tackle Roy Miller earned $805,000 in escalators based on his performance in each of the last three seasons and is now carrying a $1.563 million cap figure.

That sounds like a good deal to me. Miller is a solid contributor who provides quality depth. Look at his number and look at McCoy’s. Which one seems more in line with reality?

Huh, that was pretty much the entire content of Yasinskas’s article. So I guess I saved you a trip to ESPN today. Tell your web browser it’s welcome.

REAR ENTRIES: New Coaches And Old Players

February 13, 2012 at 10:29am by Scott   •  3 Comments »

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SULLIVAN EXAMINED: I guess all the stories about Mike Sullivan came from one interview because everyone is reposting this quote from David Carr on how he drills quarterbacks.

“I won’t say his drills are unconventional, but not being a quarterbacks coach before, he has some different drills where it’s uncomfortable movements,” Giants quarterback David Carr told the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger.

“You’re not just dropping back, moving to the left and right, stepping up and throwing the ball, which never happens in the game. You move up, you sprint out, run away from someone and then try to throw off-balance.”

That’s not a standard drill? Don’t all quarterback coaches make their guys throw on the run? If not, then every single QB coach except for Sullivan is a moron. You know what else Sullivan does? He makes his quarterbacks use full-size balls and not the tiny toy ones they sometimes throw into stands at games. What an innovator!

Anyway, there are a couple biographical-type articles out there on Sullivan you can read. This one in the Tribune talks about his background as an Army ranger and a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. So look for Josh Freeman to inspire his team by choking out the receiver that keeps dropping balls in the middle of the field.

GETTING BUTCH ON THE FIELD: Most people change the batteries in their smoke detectors on their birthdays so they remember to do it once a year. I don’t think they need to be changed that often, so I time mine around articles where I agree with Gary Shelton. And I guess it’s time for me to switch them out because just about everything he says here about Butch Davis being an actual coordinator is right on.

On this Bucs staff, Davis could be an anchor. For instance, Schiano has gotten decent reviews, but he has never been an NFL head coach. It’s hard not to like the job new offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan did with Eli Manning while with the Giants, but he has never been an offensive coordinator. A lot of the new assistants will work in the NFL for the first time. That means an experienced defensive coordinator would be terrific, especially when you look at the quarterbacks in the NFC South.

Having Davis in the building working with the coaches is fine, but it’s no substitute for him working directly with players, which he isn’t allowed to do as an advisor. And if Davis is just going to be telling the coaches what to do, why not cut out the middle man?

The rub, of course, is that Davis is in the middle of a $2.7 million buyout from the University of North Carolina that prohibits him from coaching. That’s pretty good money not to coach.

Here’s an idea for the Bucs: Why not pick up the phone? Why not negotiate a settlement with North Carolina? That way the school spends less money, Davis gets his severance, and the Bucs get Davis in the job he should have. Assuming Davis wants to coach, wouldn’t that be better for everyone involved? Money wasn’t going to get in the way of hiring the right guy. Remember?

It’s a good idea. Or just buy out the damn contract and be done with it. I know I’m being free and loose with someone else’s money here, but shit, $2.7 million is what they’d spend on a mediocre free agent. For someone to run the defense, it seems like a pretty good deal.

In other news, the Bucs haven’t hired an actual defensive coordinator yet.

SURE, WHY NOT: This piece is such a work of fantasy that the author should read it at the next DragonCon. But since it was carried on an ESPN site, I figured I’d share it. ESPN author Charlie Bernstein thinks it would be a swell idea for the Bucs to make a play for Drew Brees in free agency.

Although it may be a little early to give up on Freeman, it’s unlikely that he will be better than one of the three quarterbacks in the division much less all three.

That’s a pretty bold statement to just throw out there. This will be Freeman’s third full season as a starter. This is when he’s supposed to make his big leaps forward. And this guy wants to turn him loose now?! After the entire franchise has been built up around him?

Assuming that New Orleans doesn’t place the exclusive franchise tender on Brees, there is simply no harm in Tampa Bay making a major play to get the record-setting quarterback.

I like the point the author makes about severely weakening an opponent. I’d love for Brees to be out of New Orleans. But Brees has only a handful of years left in the league. If the goal is to build a winner for the long-term, you have to get a young quarterback to for with. And Freeman is the guy the Bucs picked. It’s sink or swim with him now. As good as Brees is, the team isn’t in the market for short-term answers anymore.

In a potential “worst-case scenario,” if New Orleans couldn’t match the deal then the Bucs would give up a pair of first-round picks for an elite signal caller who just broke the NFL single-season record for passing yardage.

Two first-round picks for a 33-year old quarterback, one of them probably this year’s #5 overall. As much as I like Brees, no fucking way.

If New Orleans is short-sighted enough to not be able to work out a deal with Drew Brees and place a simple franchise tender on them, the Bucs have possession of the dagger that can rip apart the vital organs of the Saints franchise. They need to use it or get used to last-place finishes for the foreseeable future.

New Orleans isn’t that dumb. There’s no way they’re going to allow Brees to walk, so this is all moot. But just having the conversation is silly. Have we really given up on Freeman after one bad season? Everything he was in 2010 that we all liked about him, he still is. One year didn’t make all those grab qualities go away. And now with a new OC and a new QB coach, he has the opportunity to be everything he was promised. If this was the Bucs of 2008 where all they had was Jeff Garcia, of course you make a run at Brees. But the addition of Brees would mean the end of Freeman in Tampa because you couldn’t have them both. And I’m sticking with Freeman.

Your New OC Just Won A Super Bowl

February 11, 2012 at 10:45am by Scott   •  2 Comments »

The gold chain lets you know he's from New York. The fact that it's thin lets you know he doesn't go to Jersey much.
And so it finally happened. After being turned down by literally everyone else, the Bucs have hired Mike Sullivan as their offensive coordinator.

Sullivan, 45, was the Giants receivers coach for six seasons before coaching quarterbacks the past two. Under Sullivan, Manning threw for 8,935 yards, culminating with a Super Bowl MVP performance in a 21-17 victory Sunday over the Patriots.

The good news is that Sullivan is coming from a winning organization and should be able to take some of the credit for what Eli Manning did this season. The bad news is that Sullivan has never led an entire offense before. He hasn’t called plays, either. This is all new for him, so there’s going to be more learning on the job and more first-time mistakes to suffer through. Offensive coordinators are like hookers. Every now and then it’s fun to see what kind of crazy shit a new one will come up with, but when it comes down to it, you really want one who knows what she’s doing and isn’t fumbling around trying to figure out where everything is.

After Sullivan became quarterbacks coach, Manning set a career high with 25 interceptions. But he passed for 4,002 yards and a career-high 31 touchdowns. That prompted him to insist he wasn’t a 25-interception-a-year quarterback and he belonged in the same elite class as the Pat­riots’ Tom Brady.

That 25 interception number made me worry, but Eli improved on it this season by throwing 16 interceptions against 29 touchdowns, so that’s cool. And keep in mind that Josh Freeman will have a quarterback coach, too, so not all the responsibility for his success will rest on Sullivan’s shoulders.

I guess I’m cautiously optimistic about the hire. It seems like the Bucs are trading inexperience for inexperience, just a different kind. But he was, like, their tenth choice for the job and at this stage they don’t have a lot of successful, experienced options, so this is the best they can do. But all the successful coordinators started being successful somewhere and there’s no reason why Sullivan’s somewhere can’t be Tampa.

Offensive Frustration

December 24, 2011 at 10:31am by Scott   •  1 Comment »

Frustration 1

Sorry about no posts yesterday. Who could have predicted that there would be a lot of traffic on December 23rd? I’m going to quickly blow through a few articles that the papers left up before they took yesterday off. Of course, I’ll break them up into separate entries for All-Clicky Week. Remember, Paypal can still deliver in time for Christmas.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman frustrated with offense: Freeman talks about putting the offense in more three-receiver sets.

The league’s most successful franchises over the past decade — New Orleans, New England, Green Bay, Indianapolis — get the ball out of their quarterback’s hand and spread it around in multiple-receiver sets.

Freeman believes the Bucs could do more of that, perhaps beginning today at Carolina.

Further in the article, they talk about LeGarrette Blount‘s limitations as a receiver and a blocker and how that has inhibited the development of the quick-passing game. He has only caught 12 passes this season and Kregg Lumpkin has caught 32. But Blount gets 11.2 yards per reception compared to Lumpkin’s 7.1. So when Blount gets the ball, he knows what to do with it. I dunno, I keep hearing how Blount absolutely has to come off the field on passing downs, but I don’t think anyone is giving him enough credit.

The best part of the article is Raheem Morris‘s defense of Freeman.

While it’s true Freeman has been guilty of trying to force some throws, especially to tight end Kellen Winslow, coach Raheem Morris believes the receivers simply need time to learn how to read defenses as well as their third-year quarterback does.

Even with 18 interceptions, Morris still doesn’t want to acknowledge that Freeman may just be fucking up. Morris is consistent, I’ll give him that much. If Freeman was caught with a bunch of severed heads in his refrigerator, Morris would insist Freeman was also an important scientist who was conducting experiments on keeping heads alive like in Futurama.

Josh Johnson Still Playing Starter

December 02, 2011 at 10:28am by Scott   •  9 Comments »

Now think of how dazzling that play will look in orange.
Josh Johnson continued to take starting snaps at quarterback yesterday in preparation for his big disappointment when Josh Freeman goes ahead and actually starts the Panthers game.

“We look at the progress,” Olson said of Freeman. “And from where he came on Sunday immediately after the game to (Wednesday to Thursday), there’s been a tremendous amount of improvement. Obviously, you take a player’s pain tolerance into factoring in whether or not you think he’s going to be able to play. Just based upon the improvement … I feel pretty good about it.”

Josh Freeman is quite literally the franchise. If Jesus came to Freeman tomorrow and told him to stop playing football, the team would just pack up all their shit and figure out how to turn One Buc Place back into a mall. And losing to the team everyone just assumed would be at the bottom of the NFC South all season isn’t going to make any of the “job security” talk for Raheem Morris go away. So, yes, Freeman is playing. The coaches really should apologize to Johnson for being such cockteases.

“He … threw a couple of soft throws (Thursday),” Morris said. “He’s getting better. We’ll have to see. He’s a day-to-day type of guy. He’s a big man, strong guy, wants to play, wants to be there for his football team.”

I don’t know what soft throws are, but they sound gay. They should come up with a better name for them. In baseball they call them change-ups. If the long, deep ball is a “bomb”, how about calling the short, soft ones “grenades”? Now re-read that first sentence. “He… he threw a couple grenades Thursday.” Doesn’t that sound cooler?

For his part, Johnson is always the good soldier and continued to be yesterday.

“I’m trying not to get too high or too low; just kind of trying to play on an even keel and be ready if they call upon me,” Johnson said. “I feel real excited to get back out there and play a whole four-quarter game. If the opportunity presents itself, I’m interested to see how it goes.

“I’ve been working hard the past two years for an opportunity like this, and I’m trying to get out there and execute the game plan.”

Johnson will be a free agent next season and the list of teams that Johnson would be an improvement on based on his current highlight reel is pretty small. Arizona, Washington, possibly Buffalo. I don’t think the Blaine Gabbert experiment is over in Jacksonville yet, so probably not there. Yep, that’s about it. He needs to put some dazzling plays on tape to improve his stock and get him in on the competition on one of those teams if he’s ever going to realize his dream of starting for an NFL team for longer than four games. I just don’t think this is going to be the game where he does it.