New York Giants second-string quarterback Josh Freeman joined the team last week as veteran insurance in case something happens to franchise quarterback Eli Manning, who will almost certainly bounce back after a terrible 2013 season marked by poor decisions, inconsistent route-running, and even worse blocking. All three of those things should improve for the Giants next year, and they also received an upgrade at offensive coordinator in the innovative Ben McAdoo, who has a strong background with quarterbacks after coaching QBs for the Green Bay Packers.
Freeman was once one of the most promising young quarterbacks in the game, as the former first-round pick out of Kansas State broke out in his second season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a rough rookie year. In 2010, Freeman averaged 7.3 yards per attempt with 25 touchdowns and six interceptions, but he struggled the following year as his interception total bulked up to 22. He followed that up with 27 TDs, 17 INTs, and another 7.3 yards per attempt in a quality 2012 campaign, but he fell off of a cliff last season.
I don’t need to go into the gory details, because thousands of words could be written about his spat with Greg Schiano and lack of attempts to bounce back with the confounding Minnesota Vikings organization, who didn’t play him after his putrid Monday Night Football outing against his new team (it was an ill-fated start to begin with and culminated in a concussion).
The Giants present Freeman with an excellent chance to get back on track, and the 26-year-old is still a talented player with plenty of physical tools and five years of experience under his belt. Working with McAdoo and Tom Coughlin and behind Eli Manning gives Freeman an excellent springboard to a starting position, and he certainly realizes that he has a great opportunity. He also believes he’s still a starting-caliber player in this league, and there’s no doubt that he has the tools to start; he just has to prove he is consistent enough and can make the right decisions following his beyond putrid 2013 season.
Freeman told NJ.com’s Jordan Raanan, “I still view myself as a starting-caliber quarterback. I love the situation because I have the opportunity to be around a guy that really had a lot of success, year after year and continues to win and get his team to the playoffs consistently.”
Let’s hope he can make the most of it, and Giants fans will also hope that second-year Syracuse product Ryan Nassib can be a top backup after Freeman leaves.