“When Do We Stop Making Excuses?”January 14th, 2013
Former Bucs offensive lineman and current sports radio personality Ian Beckles has made a name for himself as something of a player assassin.
If there is a Bucs player who Beckles feels is dogging it or not playing up to the hype, Beckles is not bashful in bringing this subject up, and like a bulldog, not letting go until changes are made.
It was Beckles who famously carried the flag to run linebacker Barrett Ruud out of town. It was Beckles who claimed defensive end Gaines Adams was a wasted draft pick until he was finally traded.
Of late, Beckles is doing his best to see that Bucs Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is wearing a different color uniform. Beckles and has reached in his attempts to disqualify GMC’s honor bestowed upon him by fellow players, as well as NFL coaches.
Now, it seems that Beckles has another Bucs player in his crosshairs and will likely unload with both barrels if said player doesn’t perform well next year.
That player appears to be quarterback Josh Freeman.
Last week, speaking with former Bucs quarterback Shaun King (who not only is only one of three Bucs quarterbacks to lead the team to an NFC title game, but is one of only three rookie quarterbacks in the history of the NFL to rally a team from a halftime deficit to win a playoff game), Beckles let loose on Freeman, sort of giving listeners a taste of what to expect come this fall.
“When is it going to get to the point that we stop making excuses for Josh Freeman? It is always a new coordinator. It is always a new coach. It’s a new system. [The NFL] has people coming in as rookies that are successful. Brad Johnson rolled up in here and Jon Gruden put a new system on him and he got it right away. When do we stop making excuses? If the Bucs go 1-3 in their first four games next year, do we pull the plug or do we wait this thing out?”
Beckles raises, in Joe’s eyes, fair questions. Probably the worst thing that could have happened to Freeman happened this season. Not only did he meltdown in four games beginning in December when the Bucs were in position to grab a playoff berth, quarterbacks younger than Freeman and many drafted later than Freeman shined in the playoffs.
So while Freeman struggled and got rattled in big, important games down the stretch (yes, Freeman put up wildly successful fantasy football numbers, but in the NFL, wins are what counts), Bucs fans watched Colin Kaepernik, Robert Griffin III, Andy Dalton, Christian Ponder and Russell Wilson perform in big games to qualify their teams for January playoff games.
Bucs fans watched this young crop of talented quarterbacks and said to themselves, “If these guys can do this, why can’t Freeman?”
Lest Joe’s readers believe Joe is anti-Freeman, consider that weeks ago Joe advocated the Bucs sign Freeman now to a team-friendly, incentive-laded pact.
That might be best for both parties, and likely good for Beckles’ job security as well.
After Beckles’ tirade against Freeman, King replied that if Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik hired him as the new Bucs quarterback coach, “I’d be the best thing that ever happened to Josh Freeman.” King added this is unlikely to happen because, in so many words, King is not on Dominik’s Christmas card list.