Simms or bust
The question has often been asked the past couple weeks whether the Bucs would try to acquire another quarterback given Chris Simms' struggles.
Here's the answer: sounds great in theory, but almost impossible in reality.
The list of available quarterbacks isn't exactly a who's who at the position. It's a handful of journeymen you've never heard of and washed-up veterans no one wants. That isn't the answer. One possibility was to bring back Jay Fiedler, who was waived before the season. Problem is, his shoulder injury is not progressing, and he has elected to have additional surgery. He's probably not the guy you want to hand the reigns to.
So, why not orchestrate a trade for an experienced quarterback? Because a team that considers itself in contention isn't likely to even think about dealing its backup quarterback, one of the most critical positions on the team. The talk this week has been about the Bucs being interested in Jacksonville backup David Garrard, but a scenario involving Garrard being traded to Tampa Bay is very, very unlikely -- not unless the Bucs are willing to pay dearly for him, as in a first-round draft pick. With Jacksonville looking like a team that could go deep into the postseason, the last thing management will want to do is part ways with one of the better backups in the NFL, particularly after Garrard saved the season when Byron Leftwich missed five games in 2005 with an injury.
As for the Bucs' own quarterback options, playing rookie Bruce Gradkowski is not a prudent idea -- yet. He isn't ready for the sophisticated schemes he will see, regardless of what he did against the base defenses he faced in the preseason.
As for injured backup Luke McCown, his future will have to be decided in a few weeks when he comes off the Physically Unable to Perform List. Right now, he makes no promises about his ability to play this season after offseason knee surgery to repair a torn ligament. Though he feels good, he admits, "The doctors will always tell you that you'll feel like you can do more than you should." He added, "I could sit here and say I will (be able to play), but that's just me saying that."
The moral of this little spiel is this: Simms is the Bucs' best, and possibly only, option to be competitive in 2006.
Maybe you disagree. Feel free to share your thoughts below.