You are a Bucs fan. You grew up in the worst case scenario.
You know the story of Bo Jackson. You know Bill Parcells stands in Tampa Bay – in two different decades. You know that quarterbacks are born here and are praised elsewhere.
So all the optimism of the past few days has made you nervous. Like playing with the principal’s daughter. Sounds like an explosion, but it can’t possibly end well, right?
And then you see photos of players in informal training this week, and that’s when you find them. There is Tom Brady. And next to him were Ryan Griffin and Blaine Gabbert.
Is it right?
We live in Florida. We have a storm. The storm soared. Sinkhole. We understand the need for insurance.
However, Bucs are not thinking of increasing their reserve quarterback policy?
Don’t mention Gabbert and Griffin. They are millionaire athletes, and I am not. But, um, can you see one of them is Earl Morrall? Or even Nick Foles? Can you see the Buccaneers in the Super Bowl with Brady on the sidelines?
Do you remember? One away win from the Super Bowl in 1992, the dolphins began to heat up in ’93 with four wins in five matches. Then Dan Marino broke his Achilles tendon, and Miami was 5-6.
Go ahead and call me an alarm. After all, Tampa Bay’s defense is on the rise, the recipient is a bona fide star and the coach has guts and gravity.
But to be honest. Brady is the only reason Monday Night Football has a crush on Tampa Bay. Brady is the reason the ticket suddenly sold. Brady is the reason Bucs are on the Super Bowl radar.
Derrick Brooks the recipient recently chided Mike Evans because it says that Brady is a franchise modifier. More than one player is needed to change the fate of the team, Brooks said.
And he is right. Adding one player is not enough to win the Super Bowl.
But what about removing one player?
Do you remember? Entering 2011, the Colts have made nine postseason appearances in a row and won the Super Bowl. And then Peyton Manning underwent neck surgery, and Indianapolis finished 2-14.
The good news is that Brady is durable. Almost strangely so. Playing in one of the most vulnerable positions in sports, he hasn’t missed the start because of an injury since 2008.
The bad news is that Brady is an anomaly. On average, a little less than half the quarterback in the NFL starts every game in a certain season. Sometimes, it’s because of performance rather than injury, but you get the idea.
Which means the opportunity does not support Brady to last all season. Not when he will be 43 years old. And that made Griffin, who was only 30 years old, and had just thrown four passes in his NFL career. Not to mention, Gabbert’s career passer ranking of 71.7 is the lowest in the NFL among active quarterbacks with at least 40 starts.
Do you remember? San Diego was a good choice to reach the Super Bowl in 1983 with the upcoming Hall of Famer and Fouts at quarterback. Then Fouts injured his shoulder in the middle of the season and Ed Luther’s reserves became 1-5.
To be fair, Bucs don’t have many choices when it comes to reserve quarterbacks. The salary limit has been extended a bit, and there are some crazy contracts given to Case Keenum (3 years, $ 18 million), Marcus Mariota (2 years, $ 17.6 million) and Chase Daniel (3 years, $ 13 million) as a reserve.
One possibility is to convince Andy Dalton that he will have the chance to play for Super Bowl challengers while reserving older quarterbacks. That would be similar to a coup in New Orleans where the Saints made Jameis Winston agree to a bargain agreement.
In exchange, Dalton signed a one-year contract of $ 3 million to oversee Dak Prescott’s shoulder in Dallas.
That doesn’t leave much left on the market. There is Mike Glennon. And Blake Bortles. And Joe Flacco is aging fast. All three have better resumes than Bucs backups but do not have the familiarity of Bruce Arians violations as Griffin and Gabbert did.
Do you remember? The Packers have made eight consecutive playoffs under Aaron Rodgers and oddsmakers have made him the No. 1 preseason choice. 2 for the Super Bowl in 2017. And then Rodgers broke his collarbone and Green Bay suffered its first defeat season since 2008.
Of course, the training camp is still two months away. Worrying about Brady’s health in May may seem useless and premature. Worried about the Tampa Bay reserve quarterback seems very fatal.
But you are a Bucs fan. You have been raised to expect the worst.
Consider this Tampa Bay Achilles spelling.
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