The Bucs will most likely be without starting quarterback Jeff Garcia this weekend when they go to New Orleans. Garcia injured his back on the first drive of Sundays win over the Washington Redskins. Today on 620 WDAE's Ron and Ian Show, Garcia said that at the moment he isn't even thinking about picking up a football and throwing it. He was on his way to One Buc Place to have treatment done and you could tell by his tone that he is in a lot of pain. Since the Bucs season would be over if they were to be without Garcia for an extended period of time, they would be smart to let him get healthy.
If Garcia can't play on Sunday than Jon Gruden will have to decide on who the Bucs starting QB will be against the Saints. On a normal team the choice should be the back up, but it is not that easy for the Bucs. Bruce Gradkowski has been the backup to Garcia all year and came in for Garcia last week when he was knocked out of the game, but he is more backup by default rather than skill level. Gruden admitted to the media that due to the fact that Jeff Garcia gets over 90% of the snaps during practice they made Gradkowski the backup due to the fact that he has more game experience than McCown. They now have time to give McCown the snaps in practice and should due so.
The game against the Redskins was deja vu of last season. The Bucs could not move the ball when Garcia went out of the game and it got progressively worse as the game went on. The Bucs gained 16 yards of offense in the second half with Gradkowski leading the way. We had to sit through the bad offense for most of last season until Gruden finally put veteran Tim Rattay into the lineup and the offense finally got going. Gradkowski is not an NFL quarterback and no matter what Jon Gruden wants to believe, he never will be. He simply does not have the arm strength to make the throws that are needed down the field and cannot read a defense to save his life.
Although Gradkowski has more game experience, it is not like McCown is a rookie quarterback. This is McCowns 4th season in the NFL and he did get some starts when he was with the Cleveland Browns. McCown has been around Gruden's offense longer than Gradkowski has and he is physically more talented. McCown can make the throws down the field that is needed for the Bucs to move the ball and has the mobility that Gruden likes in a quarterback. He was the number 2 QB all through training camp and the pre season because he showed that he was the better quarterback between he and Bruce.
We all know what we have with Bruce Gradkowski, an offense that cannot run the ball because the defense stacks 8 men in the box and no passing game because the QB cannot get the ball to the receivers. McCown offers better mobility, a stronger arm, and more knowledge of the play book. I for one cannot stand to watch an offense like we saw last year and last Sunday again, and if Bruce is in the game that is exactly what will happen.
If the Bucs lose to the Saints on Sunday they will only be one game up on New Orleans and will no longer own the tie breaker. The game is pretty important to their playoff hopes and they are going to need an offense to win the game. The Saints are vulnerable to the passing game, especially the deep ball. In order to exploit that vulnerability the Bucs need to have a quarterback that can make those throws and Gradkowski just can't. We all know what we have with Bruce, lets see what Luke can do.