Oct 21, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Josh Freeman (12) warms up prior to facing the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Days after taking a visit with the Chicago Bears, Freeman will reportedly get a look from the New York Giants. What makes this funny of course is that the Giants are the team Freeman stunk it up against so memorably last season.
But why would the Giants entertain even the prospect of signing Freeman after that giant turd he laid right in front of them? Well, apparently some teams aren’t convinced that Freeman’s bad performance in 2013 was entirely his fault.
In fact, according to Mike Freeman (no relation), there are some NFL executives who still think Josh Freeman is a solid player. These execs reportedly believe that Freeman’s struggles with Minnesota came down to the way he was used, not anything that was wrong with him.
“All I can tell you is what GMs tell me: they feel like Josh Freeman was thrown to wolves in Minny,” Mike Freeman explained in a tweet.
Josh Freeman as you well remember was brought in after being unceremoniously cut by the Buccaneers. The expectation was that he would get a few weeks to learn the playbook and settle in, but for whatever reason, Leslie Frazier and Rick Spielman decided to push it and start him right away in that fateful game against New York.
The result? One of the statistically most brutal quarterbacking performances in recent memory.
So dismal was Freeman’s showing against New York that he was immediately benched, never to return to the field again.
Fans and media naturally became curious as the weeks stretched on with no sign of Freeman in the lineup, but the only explanation the Vikings would offer was that Freeman was still working to get back.
Rumors trickled out that Freeman’s work habits weren’t exactly up to snuff, and by season’s end it seemed the relationship between Minnesota and Freeman was broken beyond repair.
The picture offered through these leaked reports was of an unmotivated player who just didn’t care about getting better. It certainly served the Vikings’ purposes for fans to see Freeman this way.
The last thing Rick Spielman wanted during the debacle of 2013 was further demonstration of his ineptitude in dealing with the quarterback position. So better to let fans think it was all Freeman’s fault.
NFL execs, it seems, are not buying Spielman’s version of events. Of course there is still a nagging question: if other teams like Freeman so much, how come he lasted until so late into the free agent process, and in fact is still not signed?
The Vikings may have “thrown Freeman to the wolves” as Mike Freeman says – certainly there is much to criticize in the way they handled him and their whole QB conundrum last year – but that does not mean the player himself is blameless.
Questions about Freeman’s attitude nagged him in Tampa Bay too, and there’s no question that mechanically he is a disaster. So these GMs who like Freeman may think the Vikings messed up with him, but they must also realize that Freeman is far from being the player everyone thought he was about to become during his good years in Tampa.
And that’s why they’re hedging their bets, and only giving him a look now that all other options are gone.
Clearly, the Freeman mess was a combination of a lot of factors, not just the Vikings mishandling the player. Freeman himself is going to need a lot of mechanical re-tuning before he is ever a good player again. If some team wants to take on that task, good luck to them.
I’ll personally be surprised if Freeman ever re-surfaces as anything more than a backup.