Chris Simms Is The Rodney Dangerfield Of Tampa Bay

Published: May 31st, 2007
By Bucstats.com weblog

On every Buccaneer-related site I frequent, the general consensus among users is that Jeff Garcia already has the starting job locked up. They dissect Jon Gruden's words to try and get a hint at what he is thinking. One such example is when he was asked about the shotgun.

"We'll see how the roster finishes itself off and if Jeff Garcia has a shotgun comfort level. We'll see if any of our other quarterbacks do or not."

Gruden only mentioned Garcia by name and after he said something about final roster, so he must already be the starter! There are other examples, but they're all just as silly.

So now an Orlando Sentinel interview with Bruce Gradkowski comes out, and who is his mentor?

"For now, my job is to watch and learn from Jeff," Gradkowski said. "He's been a winner in this league for a long time."

Why is Chris Simms getting no love from his own teammate? And why are Buccaneer fans so eager to put a 37-year old quarterback behind center when those same fans were telling Brad Johnson he was too old three years ago? Because Simms had two and a half terrible games last year? I thought he showed some excellent progress in the first Carolina game after he... well, you know... tossed an interception with his first pass attempt. I think if he hadn't been injured in that game that the improvements he made as it went on would have given him momentum and confidence going into the rest of the season. He has shown he can perform at the NFL level.

Just about every other position has potential "franchise" players either starting now or on the verge of starting. The Buccaneers need a franchise quarterback to lead that group of young men to several winning seasons and maybe a championship or two. Simms is the only quarterback on the roster that can fill that role. In order for him to be able to do that, he's got to get the reps. Folks, Jeff Garcia is a bandage. He's a smart quarterback who has had his share of victories, but he's just passing through. This is Garcia's fifth team in five years. Jon Kitna, Charlie Frye, Josh McCown, Kelly Holcomb, Tim Rattay, A.J. Feeley, Ken Dorsey -- all quarterbacks that their teams wanted more than Jeff Garcia at the time. There's got to be a reason, right? I love the idea of Jeff Garcia as a reliable backup. He can be the mentor the young guys have been missing for a while. But for him to start at Simms's expense will cripple this team's prospects in the long run.

Gruden is smart enough to let the whole competition play out before making a decision, so all this microanalysis of his words and non-words is worthless. And I hope he's wise enough to think about the long-term future of the team rather than sacrificing it on the gamble that Garcia can pull out a couple more victories in 2007.

As my own contribution to your respect fund, I won't make any tattoo jokes about you this year.  Unless they're *really* funny.