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Bucs QB Ryan Griffin on possibly playing: I want to show I belong

Bucs quarterback Ryan Griffin (4) has a thought at the line of scrimmage during a preseason game against the Jaguars. (Times file)
Bucs quarterback Ryan Griffin (4) has a thought at the line of scrimmage during a preseason game against the Jaguars. (Times file)
Published Dec. 26, 2018

TAMPA — Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said this week that he will look for an opportunity to give Ryan Griffin the first regular-season snaps of his NFL career in Sunday's series finale against the Atlanta Falcons. The game scenario must first call for it, and while Griffin's waited through six pro seasons of backup duty for this chance, it's still not guaranteed.

"Beggars can't be choosers," Griffin said with a smile on Wednesday. "I'd like to get out there. However it happens, it happens. … That would be sweet. Obviously, I want the team to win and have success. It would be nice to get in there, too."

Griffin, who has been the team's No.3 quarterback for the past three seasons, was the No. 2 quarterback in Sunday's loss in Dallas. He didn't play, but Koetter said the team would like to see Griffin in game action before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. Sunday offers one final opportunity.

The 29-year-old has taken the news in stride, saying he's eager to show the Bucs what he can do in a real game. He completed 68 percent of his passes for a total of 518 yards and four touchdowns this preseason, compiling a 105.3 quarterback rating, though the team would like to see how his improving skills translate in a real game. And so would Griffin.

"In the offseason, it kind of comes down to the whole thing has been whenever I talk and get the evaluation after the season, it's that I don't have any experience," Griffin said. "It's big to get in there and get some time just to show you can do it. … It means a lot, and that's something I want to prove whenever I get in there, if I have a chance, is to prove them right.

"They've kept me and believed in me and I want to prove them right and show I deserve to be here. It's tough, but it's part of the job. You talk about being a professional, it's one of the things that it takes is sometimes you know you're not going to get into there but you still have to go in and do your job and focus and prepare like you are."

Despite never playing in a regular-season game, Griffin has supporters in the Bucs' locker room who would like to see his work in practice get rewarded with game snaps.

"Personally it would mean a lot because I know he's been prepared every game regardless of whether he's active or not," wide receiver Adam Humphries said. "To finally come in the last couple games and have to dress out and to have a chance to get in there would mean a lot to him and would mean a lot to us as a team too. We have a lot of faith in him and a lot of respect for him, and I think he'll do a good job."

Contact Eduardo A. Encina at eencina@tampabay.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.

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