Difficulty picking up the offense continues to plague Josh Freeman


Josh Freeman was released on Friday after just six weeks with the Giants, and his biggest problem in New York this offseason appears to be the same as his biggest problem in Minnesota last season: He struggles to learn the offense.

Shortly before Freeman was released, Jordan Raanan of NJ.com reported that Freeman had been pulled from a practice session in place of fellow backup quarterback Curtis Painter after Freeman lined up the offense incorrectly.

At the end of the 2013 season, USA Today reported that Freeman was late for numerous meetings and often among the last players to the facility. Said one unnamed Viking, “You could tell Josh did not know the offense.”

In fairness to Freeman, the Vikings threw him into the starting lineup less than two weeks after he arrived, while the Giants gave him less than two months of the offseason. He has not had much time to learn the offense in either of his last two stops. And Freeman is only 26 years old, and showed promise in Tampa Bay, topping 4,000 yards in 2012 and throwing 25 touchdowns and only six interceptions in 2010. He has the tools to be a good quarterback.

But it will take some work for Freeman to get there, and after washing out in two different stops, there is now a real question whether any team will give him another shot.

75 responses to “Difficulty picking up the offense continues to plague Josh Freeman

  1. The Giants started each practice, stating to Freeman the following 2 lines: “this is a football” and the “team with the ball is the offense”. It went down hill from there.

  2. A lack of work ethic will never overcome talent. Guys come out every year that have talent and my Jags saw that a couple of years ago with Gabbert. What separates these guys in the NFL is the guys willing to put in the time to study and work hard vs the guys that have been entitled and never earned the job. It took 3 years 2 GM’s and numerous HC’s to finally get rid of Gabbert because they kept thinking his talent would override his lack of perpetration and work ethic.

    Yes Freeman has talent so do many QB’s that come out every year like Locker, Ponder, Gabbert, Sanchez etc. But how many of these guys are leaders? How many spend the hours watching tape? I bet very few.

  3. His wonderlic score (27) was higher than the average of starting NFL QB’s so its not a lack of intelligence. But I have never considered Josh to be a ‘first in, last out’ type. Perhaps a bit more time in the film room would serve him well.

  4. Watching that horrible Monday night game in which he started with the Vikings was among the worst football performances I’ve ever seen in my life. It was like watching a deer in the headlights of a freight train just before the train got crashed into by an airplane. It left such a lasting negative impression with many people about him as a player that he’s going to have to win a Super Bowl in order to completely erase it.

    This kid has to learn that if he wants to be an NFL player beyond this summer, he needs to work harder than anybody else. They don’t just hand out quarterback contracts to people because they have talent. You have to be able to lead and in order to lead, you have to work harder than anybody else.

  5. Being healthy and getting cut before OTAs are done in favor of third string QBs is a huge strike on his record. I was thinking Freeman may have a “who cares” attitude going into NY. After all, he went from the hardest working player in Tampa Bay in 2012 with great promise…to being absent from his football camp, team photo, late for meetings, etc. The Bucs chose to lose $6M a cut him rather than bench him and keep him. I read when Freeman was picked up by the Vikes ($2M more) he commented “they got a guy” (Ponder) and he was going to “tap the brakes” for while. This isn’t blame Schiano or Frazier anymore. Coughlin and the Giants didn’t even want him holding Eli’s clipboard. Wow! Hope Free sorts it out.

  6. I think some QB needy team should take him as a backup this season. Give him an entire season before washing him out. Raiders for instance. Maybe even the Chiefs who have no real need for him this year but if his main issue is slow learning of the playbook could be ready for 2015 if needed.

  7. Talent alone can NOT take you all the way to the top. You have to be gifted with high aptitude AND the drive to work your tail off, or eventually you will come up short.

    Freeman’s at that point now. It’s a shame because he’s obviously so talented that he’s made it this far and even had some success.

  8. From 1st round pick, starting QB and ProBowl to being cut from his third team in 10 months… pulled off the field during OTAs in favor a third string QB. Doesn’t look good for Free.

  9. He thinks he is much better than he is, and he doesnt work hard. Next stop Canada

  10. I don’t think you can use that excuse (doesn’t know the offense) for his QB with the Vikings. Anybody who watched the Vikings play more than one game already knows the offense; hand off to Peterson to the left, hand off to Peterson to the right, throw an incompletion in the dirt on third down and then punt. Repeat when you get the ball back.

  11. There shouldn’t be any more sentences that begin with ‘In fairness to Freeman’. None. This man torpedoed the Bucs last season, had his agent leak personal information to secure his release (don’t expect any updates on that investigation anytime soon), stole money from two different teams and let’s not even address the rumors as to how he went from a promising franchise QB who has all the physical tools to a nobody who was cut in favor of Curtis Painter. What a disgrace.

  12. He’s still the best option for that horrid team in Minnesota. My guess is that they’ll bring him back and pay him $3M for 3 hours of work again this season.



  13. What happened to this guy? It’s like he doesn’t want to play anymore. Whatever happened down there in Tampa must have messed him up good. Seems like a decent person and the talent is there but he needs to get his mind right and frankly I think he’s about out of chances… at least in this league.

  14. When he was drafted in the first round, I thought to myself “have these guys watched his tape from Kansas St.?” Prototypical size, good arm and just plain average at QB. Missed receivers, poor reads, you name it. Instead of watching him at the combine, put on the tape from games and take a closer look. It’ll save the embarrassment that comes a couple of years later when everyone knows you wasted a high draft pick.

  15. Wonderlic doesn’t really paint the most accurate picture of someone’s overall intelligence. Bottomline is this guy doesn’t want to work. He did top 4k passing yards, but those of us who went to every game, we know it was because were always down and had to throw the whole game. Freeman made terrible reads on the regular, from his lack of football intelligence and preparation. He was handed the keys in Tampa and maxed out his potential, he’ll never start again and it’s his fault.

  16. Schiano tried to replace him with Carson Palmer before the Glennon draft. Horrible game day coach, but he knew talent.

    Not only does Free have zero work ethic, but he has zero ethics. After he was benched it was his own camp that released his drug record, and then pointed the finger at the coach to force his release.

  17. Lol Gabbert was just plain terrible. No amount of work could’ve fixed that horrible decision.

  18. It took Aaron Rodgers three years of sitting on the bench behind Brett to learn and internalize the Packers’ offense.

    That investment of time was obviously worth it.

  19. If you can’t pick up your own offense how are you going to read the defense?

    He’s not going to make it….

  20. He is a better QB than Kaepernick. I still don’t see Josh landing anywhere unless he is willing to put a team before himself for a change.

  21. How can you not pick up the offense?? Maybe he needs to go back to school, that’s hopeless.
    No wonder he’s been on several teams, go to the CFL perhaps he can understand that better!!

  22. Wasn’t that the Monday night game when the giants defense was pounding there chest saying they were back because AP couldn’t run against them?i wonder why! When you put 11 guys in the box naturally you won’t be able to run!And who was the quarterback that night?

  23. Perhaps teams believe a 6 year veteran QB should have at least a base level of understanding of NFL offenses and be able to pick things up quickly enough to run a scripted practice.

  24. Whenever I saw Freeman during his Vikings tenure, he legitimately looked tweaked out. He’s known to take ritalin, which can do that, but who knows…

  25. As an Eagle fan living in Tampa, he sure made out with that first rd draft money. He appears to have a drug problem. (rumored) Hope he invested his money wisely.

  26. Oh well…good luck to him. I was actually looking forward to seeing him preform in preseason after his last outing on Monday night. To me this says more about his character than his intelligence. Obviously you have to have above average intelligence to be a starting QB in the NFL for multiple years. But a true competitor would have been so embarrassed by being cut then playing badly in Minnesota…he would be so prepared for his next opportunity it would be strikingly obvious.

    That’s what the good/great ones do.

    Good luck in Oakland dude.

  27. It doesn’t seem like Freeman has a passion for the game. Very hard to compete in the NFL without that, regardless of talent level.

  28. He’ll be out of the league before the investigation on him and his agent leaking the info gets released. Not that it ever will but that’s the point of course.

    And in hindsight, how dumb was that decision? If he rides the pine all last year and becomes a FA this offseason, maybe he does a lot better. For his sake he’d be wise to go to the CFL and learn how to be a QB first. Talent is nothing without the work ethic and smarts to back it up.

  29. Not to make excuses for his behavior but I know for myself I learn far better visually seeing what I am being told to learn rather than having data being shoved down my throat with nothing to relate it to visually. And I can turn off anything thereafter that doesn’t.

    Reportedly, down here in the Tampa area, it appeared that Freeman is not one who can learn from x’s and o’s only. He needs visual input. He was repeatedly shown after-play pictures of the offense/defensive line-ups during games by former Offensive Coordinator Greg Olsen. This was down on the field where you usually don’t expect an OC. When Freeman was traded Olsen was relocated back up to the booth where a normal OC should be. So we know Tampa made adjustments for Freeman that maybe other organizations would not.

  30. I’d trust the Giants on this one. Seems like Josh needs a couple years to learn an offense and has a questionable work ethic. He has a good arm.

  31. Some folks say go to the CFL. Why? He can go to Wal-Mart for pete sakes, but if he doesn’t want to work, it won’t matter. He’s been a successful starter, team captain, pro-bowl, top 10 QB (2010). He knows how to play. He had it all it’s all gone downhill. That’s ALL on Josh, and no one else. If he doesn’t want to work at it, he’s done.

  32. “In fairness to Freeman, the Vikings threw him into the starting lineup less than two weeks after he arrived”
    That statement doesn’t apply at all to this discussion. He was put in a game to see what he could do, the offense was simplified to the extreme to give him a chance, and he was pathetic.
    What this latest info is telling us is that he is not someone who picks things up quickly, is not someone willing to work hard to compensate, and he is someone who has decided that the lazy approach is OK as long as you have athletic ability.

  33. He’s done. You might think after two teams dumped him, he would feel a sense of urgency; the proverbial fire under his hind section.

  34. I don’t know anything about how this works, so I’ll just ask and hope no one mocks me.

    Is two months enough time to learn a new offense? Like everything — the plays, the terminology, etc etc?

    It seems like it would be, but the writer pointed it out and I am curious to learn if that is enough time or if maybe he needed a little more time to get it together.

  35. I think his best chance for success at this point is the Raiders. In 2010 when he put up his best numbers, Chris Olson was his offensive coordinator. He obviously could grasp that offense. Now Olson is the OC for Oakland. Freeman’s agent should be on the phone with Oakland’s GM.

  36. Two months ought to be enough time to know the offense well enough to be lined up correctly. All of this year’s Viking quarterbacks are learning a new offense and they’re doing just fine at OTAs.

  37. there is no room in freemans head for learning a playbook his mind is already filled with thoughts of how he got 5 mil from minnesota last year!! on a more serious note it appears he is just not that dedicated to the game when he runs out of money my guess is he will be like vince young ready to promise anything for a chance to get more money not just a chance to play!!

  38. Josh Freeman is starting to look a lot like J’Marcus Russell only without the weight problem.

  39. I keep hearing about all of the “talent” that Freeman has. Talent for what? He has no talent! Sometimes the player just stinks and gets worse instead of better.

  40. I always laugh when people here say he needs to go to the cfl. If he can’t pick up an 11 man offense with only one man in motion at a time he will never make it in the 12 man game with everyone in motion. Big field extra guy on D, many guys fail thinking it’s a cake walk up here.

  41. Don’t you think the teams involved know how long Freeman was there when they made their determinations that he couldn’t pick up their offenses? And that they were making their judgements based upon where a typical player should be at that point in their development?

  42. You know it’s bad if a QB like Bridgewater has to use both hands to throw an overhead spiral and Freeman can’t make a team. The Vikings prefer a grown man with childlike hands over another with NFL experience. It must be bad.

  43. The guys is a substance abuser. He likes to party way too much that it is getting in the way of his profession. New York was the worst place he could go.

    Maybe he does have a learning disability and that is sad, but when you are getting paid money like that, there is no room for sympathy, only results.

  44. That’s plenty of time to at least know how to line up the offense correctly.

    The Bills had QB’s coming in weekly last year and they picked up the offense.

    Rookies have picked up the offense.

    That is zero excuse.

  45. A high Wonderlic score doesn’t mean that he has the ability to read the Defense and make the correct calls. Any university professor could get a high Wonderlic, but they wouldn’t be capable of playing QB in the NFL.
    Dan Marino got a low Wonderlic but he could read the Defense and make adjustments.
    Josh Freeman has a good arm and a high Wonderlic, but he is no Dan Marino.
    Josh is now looking for his 4th team in a year – I’d say he is now on borrowed time.

  46. he took down probably 3-4 mill after tax last year.. I wouldn’t exactly be rushing to get beat up in the nfl after those paychecks.

  47. Let’s not overlook the fact that he was pulled in PRACTICE because they had enough when he couldn’t get the offense lined up right. It’s not liked the defense rolled from cover 2 to cover 3 and he made a slow read. I just don’t think he cares.

  48. Curtis Painter still had a job and Freeman is out of work yet again. Hmmm…..Painter is white and Freeman is black. What could possibly account for the difference in treatment?

  49. It’s not rocket science….., he is a drug addict, and all the $$ & talent won’t change that….. Until he decides to get clean, he will fail and or struggle

  50. He was known to be a major partier during his time in Tampa. He missed the team picture during his last season in Tampa. Was late…or did not show at all, there are conflicting reports, for his own football camp for kids where teammates had to cover for him.
    I find it extremely hard to believe that someone that wants to….with football being his number one priority… can’t learn a playbook in 2 months.

  51. 2010 is now four years ago, and this is a “what have you done for me lately” league. The fact that Tampa is now trying to do it with inaccurate McCown and big receivers tells you something – even the new leadership there does not want him back. He always was regarded as physically talented coming out of KC. Problem is, that is only half of the equation. He may not be dumb, but his lack of work ethic at each stop shows (if the reports are true) that he has lost the will to fight to learn and win a job. If that is the case, he is done in the NFL and will never see the light of day every again.

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