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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

It's Tim Rattay's job now



Rattay_1 Tim Rattay will start at quarterback this Sunday in Cleveland, coach Jon Gruden announced Monday. (Click image at left to enlarge.)

The Bucs overcame a 21-point second-half deficit Sunday and forced the Chicago Bears into overtime before losing 34-31. Rattay threw for 268 yards, with three touchdown passes, in just more than a half of play.

Bruce Gradkowski was benched in the second quarter. By the time his devolution was complete, the Bucs had failed to scored a touchdown in 42 consecutive offensive possessions or almost 15 quarters of football.

The choice was not a tough one, Gruden said.

"It's just common sense right now based on performance and who gives us a better chance to win a football game," Gruden said. "We'd like to finish the season as strongly as we can. I think Bruce is struggling to a degree now and I thought Tim did some good things the last couple weeks when given the chance to play."

Gradkowski has now been benched in consecutive games. After last week's home game against the Falcons, Gruden put the quarterbacks on notice and said he would prepare both to play at Chicago in case Rattay was needed for a second straight week. After the Bucs fell into a 24-3 hole at Chicago, Gruden decided the time had come.

Gruden on Monday continued to defend his decision not to opt for Rattay earlier in the season.

"I've given a lot of thought to the quarterback position this year," he said. "But Bruce has done some good things at times. . . Yeah, we've contemplated using Tim. We've also been very committed to helping a young guy (Gradkowski) get better. Right now, we're going to go with Rattay."

The Bucs play at the Browns at 1 p.m. on Ch.13.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:43pm]


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