The quarterback of the future is...who knows?
We haven't spent a lot of time talking about the quarterback position around here lately because the Bucs have a pretty good one onboard.
Jeff Garcia is on his way to the Pro Bowl. No issues there, obviously. He's the guy -- period.
But, per usual, I'm here to deliver some sobering news to you: Garcia will be 38 in two weeks. Hey, I love the guy. He's the best thing that's happened to this team in a long time. But I'll say it again: 38.
So, that leaves the Bucs in a position where they can't realistically expect to get a whole lot out of Garcia down the road. Not saying he can't play a couple more years. Just saying that, as a franchise, you certainly can't expect that and you have to operate as though you don't plan on having him long term.
So, if Garcia gets hurt or whenever his career comes to its inevitable end, what then? Who is this team's quarterback of the future?
I've asked the question and, frankly, I'm still waiting on a legitimate answer. I believe the Bucs like Luke McCown, but I don't get the sense they're ready to commit to him as a long-term answer at the position. He has talent, but there are considerable holes in his game. I think they like Chris Simms, too, but we know they've shown no willingness to hand him the future of the franchise, either. Besides, even Chris will tell you he is going to have to prove himself before anyone makes up their mind about what's next for him. That leaves us with Bruce Gradkowski who, lovable as a he is, isn't much of a factor in this conversation.
So, what's the plan? There doesn't appear to be one at the moment. As a result, I fully expect the Bucs will take a long look at a quarterback somewhere beyond the first round of the draft. Now that Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen are with us through 2011, there's sufficient time to develop a young quarterback. I know what you're thinking: when has Gruden ever developed a young quarterback? That's true.
But is this really a realistic way of doing things, this business of recycling veteran quarterbacks every three years? So long as the Bucs continue to take that approach, the question I'm posing here will keep coming up every couple of years. Just look at the revolving door of veterans in the last five or six years: Brad Johnson, Brian Griese, Jeff Garcia.
Will there be another? Or will the Bucs finally settle down and look for a long-term solution to their never-ending quarterback question?