A lot of news has come and gone recently across the NFL circuit. Here are some takeaways from the latest tidbits.
Ray Rice is on life support with the Baltimore Ravens
There was a time when the word offense didn’t start for the Baltimore Ravens without Ray Rice being right next to it in all caps. The former Pro Bowl running back has gone from the go-to guy to suddenly being the in the worst kind of situation: in decline, in trouble and in a competition. If his diminished production and high-profile elevator incident weren’t enough, the fact that journeyman runner Justin Forsett started ahead of him in OTAs sent a loud and clear message. Rice is down to his last strike, and he may not even get to swing the bat.
Josh Freeman may be done in the NFL
It’s amazing how fast the demise was for Rice, but it may have gone even faster for quarterback Josh Freeman. Once considered the cornerstone of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise, the once Pro Bowl alternate is watching his career sink like a torpedoed battleship. His public breakup in Tampa Bay was bad enough, but a terrible stop in Minnesota followed by a quick exit from the New York Giants has put him in position to seek a fourth team in the space of a year. That sends up all kinds of red flags. At just 26-years old, his career may already be done.
Josh Gordon doesn’t have a drug problem, he has an intelligence one
Perhaps the biggest tragedy of the off-season is what has transpired for the Cleveland Browns. Once in a position to upgrade their offense considerably, the wind was taken out of the balloon when news hit that star receiver Josh Gordon might see a lengthy suspension for yet another substance abuse violation. If that weren’t bad enough, Gordon inexplicably compounded that mistake by getting pulled over for speeding and having a passenger get cited for marijuana possession. This incident doesn’t reinforce that Gordon has a drug problem. No. It shows, quite clearly, that he has an idiocy problem. For all his natural skill, Josh Gordon is another million dollar body with a ten cent brain.
Houston Texans missing key ingredient for Patriots style offense
No one can blame Bill O’Brien for wanting to emulate the New England Patriots offense as he prepares to guide the Houston Texans. The Pats have had one of the most consistently excellent systems in modern NFL history. It has led them to five Super Bowls dating back to 2001 and made them regular contenders for over a decade. The problem isn’t the desire to copy it, the problem is the Texans are missing a vital ingredient to make such a complex system work. They don’t have Tom Brady. His work ethic, intelligence and competiveness are what drive the machine and it’s hard to see Ryan Fitzpatrick, T.J. Yates or Tom Savage reaching that level anytime soon. So while the Texans are within their rights to aim high, perhaps it might be better to scale it down a bit.