PHOENIX — Jameis Winston may not have any competition as the Bucs’ starting quarterback, but the battle lines for No. 2 have been drawn.
The Bucs are attempting to sign Blaine Gabbert, who started three games in place of Marcus Mariota for the Titans last season.
Gabbert, 29, played for Bucs coach Bruce Arians with the Arizona Cardinals and went 2-3 in 2017.
He will compete with Ryan Griffin, who returns for his fifth season in Tampa Bay but has never taken a snap in a regular-season game.
“Oh I love Blaine,'' Arians said Monday. ”He won two big, big games for us. He’s got a talented, talented arm. He can run. I mean, I’ve always wondered why he hasn’t started for a long time and he did such a great job for us. I have a ton of confidence when he started for us.
"We were so lucky (in Arizona) because we had two great backups in Drew Stanton and him. When Drew got healthy, he went back in. But no, the guy can make every throw. He’s mobile. Your backup guy you want to be mobile. You know, because he can make plays for you and he’s really smart and he’ll be great for Jameis.''
Arians has said that Winston is the starter and he doesn’t want him looking over his shoulder. Gabbert has pedigree. He was the 10th overall pick of the Jaguars in 2011 and has also played for the 49ers, Cardinals and Titans.
With Mariota missing games due to injury, Gabbert did a good job in relief, completing 61-of-101 passes for 626 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions.
But the Titans went another direction, trading for Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
"I love Blaine,'' said Titans general manager Jon Robinson. "I told him when we let him go. Big arm. Good athlete. The guys really like him. I appreciate everything that he did for us, but this situation kind of manifested itself and we had to move on. I sai, ‘If I can ever do anything to help you, let me know.' I said, ‘You’ve got enough years in this league, but if I can do anything for you, put a word in for you, for what you did for this team.’ He won two games for us.’’