As pointed out at BucsChat.com, the blog on NFL.com by Jason La Canifora about the Buccaneers soliciting trade offers for a QB would not normally be an issue. However, on the heels of our new Head Coach vacillating on his deadline for the naming of a starter, this smacks of not only indecision, but stupidity. Now I love the Bucs. I like very much Coach Morris on the field. I am starting to become increasingly concerned with our Front Office and the impact that ownership may have on that group.
I am not one of the folks mad about losing Haynesworth. I do not think we lost out on a bunch of all pro free agents. I do think that by doing this, you further destabilize the most important position on the team.
We know that Freeman will be the man starting next year. The ONLY thing that could stop that is a tremendous and unexpected performance by Luke/Byron or an injury to Freeman. The “Dream” was to be in the situation San Diego was in, with two starting caliber QB’s. Can Byron have any upside left? Will he ever be even as good as he was in Jax? With Luke, at least there are some unanswered questions. Questions that only playing time will answer. You cannot get to the “Dream” scenario without that effort.You have to bet on a guy this year who could show tremendous upside and be a commodity next year. That guy is not Byron Leftwich.
I called in this afternoon to my favorite AM Station, 1010 AM in Tampa to speak with old friend TKras. He had Scott Reynolds on from the Pewter Report to do the Pewter Pulse, the new afternoon show that came about after 620 AM wet the bed and lost the relationship with the premier Buccaneers periodical in the area. the discussion is about what QB is right for the Bucs and what the impact of them shopping guys that most pundits feel are barely #2 QB’s on the team.
Which QB is Right for the Bucs?
Luke McCown. He is the more accurate passer. He is the better athlete. He has the most potential upside. Stats (other than height and weight that some are posting as critical) all point to Luke. Stats are not the end. Byron has had his run. IMO, he will never be any better than he was early in his career. He has a big arm, I get it. SO WHAT! If I hear someone talk about the “Vertical Offense” one more time my head may split in half! This offense is RUN FIRST and make your big chunks the Play Action. So, after establishing the running game (which we have to do first), you go to play action and look for your open targets. NOTHING has shown us that Luke will not throw down field. When he did that, THE OFFENSE PREDICATED IT! When he had the chance to throw down field (meaning he was actually in the game AND receivers were open (admittedly against a porous New Orleans Secondary)) he delivered the ball! What is so hard about that?
Now Luke could go out and shit the bed against the Dolphins this week and prove all doubters right about his inability to handle the mental side of the game, but I do not believe that will happen. I also do not believe we will SNIFF greater than a 7th round pick for Leftwich, the only one of the three QB’s we apparently are ‘shopping’ that would have any real market value at this point.
“Wait a minute! If you think Luke is better, why would people not want him?”
If you are not in Tampa, you probably do not even know he exists. He is a gamble. An unproven asset. The people looking for what was purportedly offered want a backup. A solid, time tested backup. Josh Johnson is a project (one I like very much). Luke is an unknown (one I think can be very good) and then you have Byron. A decent, journeyman QB who can fill in for a team. There are a pile of teams that could use that who are not in the midst of a youth movement and a rebuilding process.
Sadly, I think most of them are smart enough not to offer anything and wait for cutdown day.
A couple of answers to questions posed AFTER I was off the radio
Why would anyone think Luke is apporpriate for the vertical offense we are implementing?
Why do people always point to the New Orleans game to defend Luke McCown?
We have to (As TKras explained). He has not played since then. If you assert that Jon Gruden was the guy holding everyone else back (not a logical, but a VERY popular stance in Buc Land), why not Luke? Jon liked vets. Jon liked cerebral guys. Hell, maybe Jon just made a mistake. The fact is, you do not know what the next guy cna offer until he plays. He has the physical ability. Find out what we have been paying for and set a value.
We could point to the Jags game. We know the stats there and the missed open receivers by Lefty.
It is not just TKras that is saying Byron is the right guy here. It is the overarching sentiment from the locker room.
Report on it. Point to a quote. Get some game tape? Show him leading the team more efficiently and putting up points. I was at camp more often than most real journalists this year (amazing, but true). I know what I saw and have hashed it out with TKras, Mike Pepper and Scott Reynolds. Now you guys all have a very cool thing I do not. Access to the team (official). Get someone to talk about it. I am trying to! To simply insinuate you have secret knowledge is a ploy of a clown who broadcasts elsewhere (and not at ALL what I think Tom was doing).
TKras, you are on record for 3-13 for the Bucs this year. (and 6-10 for your Jets). I will take the over on the Bucs. Wanna a fun wager?