HOUSTON — The Bucs seem to have their quarterback quandary mostly figured out, at least judging by Thursday's personnel decisions.
Starter Jeff Garcia is not in jeopardy of losing his grip on the job, seeing how the Bucs seem satisfied based on their decision not to play him against the Texans.
And reserve Brian Griese looks to be a shoo-in as the primary backup, based on his inactivity in Houston.
That leaves Luke McCown — Thursday's starter — the presumptive third-stringer and Chris Simms on the way out.
McCown was an efficient 5-of-5 for 52 yards, including a 28-yard strike to Cortez Hankton, ending the quarterback's preseason on an upswing after some rockier outings.
For Simms, he had an uneven 9-of-15 performance, netting 71 yards with a sack and an interception in playing much of the second and third quarters. It was almost certainly his last action in a Bucs uniform, with all indications pointing to his release Saturday, when NFL rosters must be trimmed to the final 53 players.
"I did some good things," Simms, who turns 28 today, said of his preseason. "I'm just happy to get out there and play again. (Thursday), I thought I did good.
"It was a weird night because they played a lot of soft zones and we weren't able to make any downfield throws. But we made the best of it, and I guess I got a little unlucky on my interception. All in all, I think I made some strides this preseason."
The pick was one of the lowlights of the night for Simms, his third-quarter attempt ricocheting off the back of center Dan Buenning before being scooped up by Texans defensive tackle Anthony Maddox.
Regardless of his play Thursday, Simms figures he could have done nothing to change his ultimate fate.
"I would imagine this would be it," Simms said. "It is what it is. I'm perfectly fine with it. It's part of the business. I'll find a place (to play), I think. We'll see what happens. I think there's interest, but we'll see."
The Bucs still appear to have a decision to make at quarterback. There has been no indication of their plans for rookie fifth-round pick Josh Johnson, who played extensively Thursday, completing 8 of 13 passes for 85 yards.
Unless the Bucs were to unload one of their other veterans besides Simms, keeping Johnson would mean having four quarterbacks on the final roster.
Stephen F. Holder can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3377.