Bucs' defense not what it used to be

Originally Published: July 8, 2005
Scouts Inc.
As another NFL season approaches, Scouts Inc. breaks down every roster and offers position-by-position breakdowns.

Quarterbacks
Brian Griese revived a dormant career in 2004 and was productive enough, but might not be the long-term answer for Tampa Bay's offense. It is difficult to tell considering that he played behind an offensive line that gave up 44 sacks, and was hit many more times.

Griese also received little support from one of the NFL's worst run games and had only one legitimate target -- rookie Michael Clayton. Coach Jon Gruden plays a chess match on offense, often shifting, running motion and changing formations to dictate favorable matchups. The process requires his quarterback to process information quickly and read his progressions, skills Griese seems to lack. Backup Chris Simms is smart, but his physical skills are just average.

The Buccaneers don't seem entirely comfortable with his leadership and aren't ready for him to play full time just yet. Luke McCown, who started four games in Cleveland as a rookie, has some developmental qualities. Former first-round pick Akili Smith, who has struggled even in NFL Europe, may be out of chances. Quarterback isn't a glaring problem for Tampa Bay, but there isn't a sure-fire franchise player to be found on the roster.


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