Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Garcia all but certain to start at QB for Bucs

TAMPA — Jeff Garcia says he is not a savior. A survivor, maybe.

Benched after the Week 1 loss at New Orleans, demoted to the inactive third quarterback for three weeks, limited by calf and ankle injuries that put the brakes on his mobility, Garcia overcame it all.

So with starter Brian Griese unable to throw a football because of a sore elbow and shoulder, Garcia is almost certain to get the start Sunday against the Panthers.

"For me, it's an exciting time because I feel like there's an opportunity that might be presented there," Garcia said.

"I just want to be able to get back in and be the guy that I was for this team last year; the guy I feel I'm capable of being. And if I'm given that opportunity, hopefully I can run with it and make the most out of it."

Griese said an MRI exam revealed no structural damage from the hit he took Sunday on a third-quarter blitz by Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey.

"I haven't tried to throw, and I don't expect to try (Wednesday),'' Griese said. "I'll continue to get the treatment on it and then later in the week address that.

"I couldn't give you a percentage (of playing)."

After practice Wednesday, coach Jon Gruden all but confirmed Garcia, 38, would be the starter with Luke McCown the probable backup.

"If you can't throw, you have a hard time playing," Gruden said of Griese. "I don't want to make any concrete statements until we get a chance to meet and see how Brian is and how Jeff feels and the whole crew of quarterbacks."

Sunday in Denver, Garcia shook off the rust after two failed drives and marched the Bucs 90 yards for their only touchdown in a 16-13 loss, completing seven passes in the process.

He said he has put to rest all of the negative events of the offseason — the lost playing time bonus, the flirtation with Brett Favre and the benching.

"If given the opportunity, I want to battle for this team," Garcia said. "I want to give them everything I have to give. I want to have that same electricity, that same enthusiasm that I played with last year. I'm not going to focus on any of the things that have taken place in the last six months. That's all negative energy. I don't need that energy within myself, and I just want to create a positive situation here."

Looking back, Garcia said his mobility was severely limited by the array of injuries.

"I'm a lot more healthy at this time," he said. "I'm not favoring anything. I feel like the speed is back, the explosion within the pocket, the mobility within the pocket. So those things are definitely better than they were going into the first week. Not to say that was an excuse because it wasn't. But when you haven't practiced a whole lot and you're coming off an injury, you haven't been able to work on your explosion like normal.

"I found that when I watched the film of that New Orleans game, there were opportunities where I had chances to run and just didn't have that explosion or getaway that I normally have had in the past. So I feel like that's back for me."

That will come in handy Sunday against a defense that has not allowed an offensive touchdowns in nine quarters.

"I think mobility is an asset," Gruden said. (Denver's Jay Cutler) makes two great scrambles and wins them the game last week. It changes the field position. Third and 12, he gets a first down by himself. To keep the ball alive and maybe get down the field, your mobility oftentimes allows you to do that."

While the Bucs have three quarterbacks on the roster who have won for them, Gruden said he would prefer to settle on one.

"I've had a lifetime of injuries," Gruden said. "It's hard to describe in a short little press conference here, but it's hard.

"You've got a lot of things you've got to deal with, obviously, and no one plays the position the same. Nobody likes this play as much as this guy or this thing as much as this guy and no one has the same style. Obviously, it's tough on you."

Rick Stroud can be reached at stroud @sptimes.com.

Garcia all but certain to start at QB for Bucs 10/08/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 9, 2008 7:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Steelers' Villanueva apologizes, says he didn't intend to stand alone during anthem (w/video)

    Bucs

    PITTSBURGH — Alejandro Villanueva just wanted to get a glimpse of the American flag, the symbol he wore on his military uniform during three tours in Afghanistan before beginning an unlikely journey from Army Ranger to the NFL.

    Alejandro Villanueva stands alone during the national anthem at Soldier Field in Chicago. [Associated Press]
  2. Rick and Tom podcast: Bucs' Gerald McCoy frustrated with disrespectful fans

    Bucs

    Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss Gerald McCoy's latest comments on disrespectful fans who attack his teammates, Donald Trump, protests by DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans, and his respect for the …

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) warms up before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
  3. NFL owners' unity with players might be short-lived

    Bucs

    The image was striking — several owners of NFL teams locking arms with their players on the sidelines Sunday, and the Cowboys' Jerry Jones on Monday night, in a dramatic statement of defiance to a president who ridiculed their sport and condemned players for refusing to stand during the national anthem as a …

    Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, currently without a team, has cited racial injustice and police brutality among the reasons for not standing during the national anthem. [Associated Press]
  4. Anthem protest, the latest: Jerry Jones joins Cowboys on field in show of solidarity

    Bucs

    As President Donald Trump continued tweeting Monday about his displeasure with NFL players for staging demonstrations during the national anthem, the Cowboys took a knee on the field just before the anthem was performed on Monday Night Football. Dallas players were joined by owner Jerry Jones, and they quickly …

    Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, center, joins the team in taking a knee before the national anthem Monday night. They stood and linked arms for the anthem.
  5. Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says players who kneel have team's support

    Sports

    TAMPA — Receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson were the only Bucs players kneeling during the national anthem before Sunday's game against the Vikings, but DT Gerald McCoy said the team supports their protest "100 percent."

    Bucs tight end Cameron Brate pulls in a touchdown catch as Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo (34) hits him in the back of the head.