Tampa BayWatch – My Thoughts on the Bucs

Archive for May 2009

The Race for 53: QB’s

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In the build up to Training Camp and preseason I’m going to take a look at some of the battles for roster spots. First up and possibly the most controversial, whose going to line up under centre in week 1 ?

luke-mccown

Is it his Team ?

The QB position for the Bucs has always been one for debate, and this year it seems even more muddled than normal. The Bucs have 5 QB’s on the roster, including new first round pick Josh Freeman, Brian Greise, Luke McCown, Byron Leftwich and Josh Johnson. Early in pre-season it seemed that the spot belonged to McCown after he was given the big contract extension. When Garcia was let go in Free Agency it seemed even more clear that this was McCowns team. Then, in the weeks leading up to the draft the position got really muddled. Byron Leftwich was signed from the Steelers in FA and the Freeman to the Bucs draft rumours started to gain some traction.

Looking back over the media stories covering McCowns new contract there’s not a great deal that really says ‘Luke is our man and its’ his team’. Raheem was quoted on Buccaneers.com saying

“I know he is looking forward to the opportunity to be an integral part of our quarterback group this season.”

For me that doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement for your new QB, and it looks like there will be a battle royale in Training Camp for the spot. So despite the big contract was the team ever McCowns or is he just baby sitting until Freeman is ready ? This is where training camp will give a real insight into whose team it is and how quickly Freeman is coming along.

I don’t think that the Bucs will take 5 QB’s into camp and Greise will be the first to be let go. Greise does have the veteran nous but for me he just doesn’t suit the Bucs new scheme and with Leftwich being brought in we no longer need Greises’ veteran skills. Leftwich can provide the veteran nous and seems more suited to the new Jagodzinski style than Greise. Leftwich stepped in well during Roethlisbergers injuries and should be the #2 but who will he be backing up ?

Josh Johnson was definitely a project type pick and was a Gruden pick. Whether he’s got the ability or the team feel he can contribute will dictate whether he stays. Johnson was a draftniks dream sleeper pick, small college player with outstanding stats but never tested at the top levels of college ball. In the new Morris led era I just can’t see Johnson making the roster and expect him to be cut after camp. So that leaves Freeman.

Or His Team

Or His Team ?

Certainly there is a lot of hopes pinned on Freeman, but unless he has a Flacco-esque training camp he’ll be handling a clipboard come week 1. McCown has a lot on his shoulders; the pressure of Freeman and on paper the first 7 games look brutal. If the Bucs struggle there will be a clamour to get Freeman on the field.  If we do need a replacement QB it could be a tough call. It’s hard to judge how a player will react in the heat of the NFL, some say just throw them in (Joe Flacco), others it’s better to learn (Aaron Rodgers). If Freeman is ready all well and good but if not keep him on the sidelines learning rather than taking a beating and let Leftwich run the offence.

The season is still a long way off but this is one area of the team that I’ll be watching with interest.

My 3 for the roster are McCown, Leftwich and Freeman.

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Written by UK Bucs Fan

May 10, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Alex Smith Traded to Patriots

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Alex Smith has been traded to the Patriots for an undisclosed pick in next years draft. I liked Smith and what he could have brought to the Bucs offence but felt he was never used to his full potential by the Bucs. Clearly more adept in the passing game than the blocking he never the less found himself in the trenches protecting the QB. Once the Winslow trade was done it was likely that Smith would be the odd man out leaving a TE core of Winslow, Gilmore and Stevens.

Smith, a 3rd round pick in ’05 looked to be a good find after a 41 catch rookie season. He’s not matched those stats since, due to a combination of the Bucs needing more QB protection, our QB seemingly keying on key recievers and the Bucs having a lot of TE’s in the rotation. Had the Bucs had a different style of offence I think Smith could have flourished. Going to the Pats with Brady et al could really help him rediscover that rookie season form. As with all ex Bucs I wish him well

Written by UK Bucs Fan

May 2, 2009 at 12:41 pm