For an experiment to be valid, it usually has to be repeated. But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers aren't ready to follow that scientific principle.
Monday, Buccaneers head coach Sam Wyche announced that the experiment of starting rookie quarterback Trent Dilfer will be put on the shelf, at least for Sunday's divisional home game against the Minnesota Vikings.
The Dilfer experiment, his first start of the season, yielded just seven completions for 45 yards and one interception in Sunday's 41-16 loss to San Francisco.
"We're going to start Craig; it's the best way to go right now," said Wyche. "Craig is our best chance because of the defensive situations we'll face. We'll need more experience going into the football game, and I want to put this football team in a position to win the game."
Despite switching back to Erickson for Sunday's game, Wyche tried to squash concerns of a revolving door quarterback situation.
"I wouldn't quite call it a roulette-type situation," Wyche said. "I'm being very cautious not to get into that kind of situation where the team does not know what's going on. But we are going to work Trent some more; he's going to gain more and more experience. I don't doubt his future."
Wyche said the change back to Erickson does not signal panic, but rather is indicative of the franchise's having a high draft pick that the team had to take a look at.
"The team knew somewhere along the line we were going to put him in. We're in the process of finding out who the long-term quarterback is going to be; we just have to do it this way. But right now we're still trying to get ourselves back to 3-5 and then 4-5," Wyche said.
Dilfer said he understood Wyche's decision and is supportive of Erickson.
"I think a real man can admit that the team is a little bit better off with Craig in there," Dilfer said. "'When Craig's in there the little things get done, all the little details get done.
"I'll be ready to play because that's my responsibility. I want to play. I would love to be the starter against the Vikings. I would love a shot at that defense. But the team is just sharper on the details when Craig goes in."
Dilfer said he learned from viewing film of his woes against the 49ers and will be better for it.
"It was good to see it on film, a couple things stood out that I need to be better at," Dilfer said. "I didn't think I did anything brutal, there were some things that I did well. The negatives are easily correctable."
Erickson, who drove the Buccaneers (2-5) to two late fourth-quarter touchdowns, will go into the Vikings game with a 90.7 quarterback rating, which includes 94 completions in 165 attempts for 1,171 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception. He could not be reached for comment Monday.
Quarterback coach Turk Schonert said Erickson was understanding of his non-starter's role against the 49ers and felt no added pressure about regaining the starting position.
"Craig's not stupid. He knows the writing is on the wall; he knew that on draft day," Schonert said. "But he's a very level-headed player. He's sharp. He understands the political side of it.
"There is no more added pressure. We beat Minnesota with Craig last year and that's what we want to do this year. Craig can make some calls at the line of scrimmage and so it would be good for Trent to see him operate."