NFL News: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers are going to need a spark on offense and Robert Griffin III could be the impact player to build around despite my previous misgivings about a franchise quarterback.
Much has been made about with the Washington Redskins struggles at 3-8. His second benching this season in favor of backup quarterback Colt McCoy may allow him to heal from his nagging leg issues. Griffin, who came from a torn ACL, is recovering from a dislocated ankle.
Head coach Jay Gruden hasn’t indicated whether or not Griffin will return, but his injuries and poor offensive play may prevent him from being the playmaker he was in 2012.
Why RG III?
Griffin gives the Bucs more dynamic as a running QB should his legs hold up and that can make up for a lackluster or developing offensive line.
The Bucs are 2-9 under Josh McCown and Mike Glennon, granted one of those victories came at the expense of Griffin and Washington. Neither quarterback have “led” the team despite their own shortcomings. With each having a victory under their belt and head coach Lovie Smith returning the job to McCown following his thumb injury, patience might be running out on Glennon.
McCown’s performance has also fallen short, but his familiarity with Smith might curry him favor for a spot so the rookie QB can have ample time to perfect the skills. If Smith and Licht draft Florida State’s Jameis Winston or Oregon’s Marcus Mariota to start, the Bucs are likely to either keep McCown or Griffin, should they sign him as an insurance policy.
There’s no really comparing Griffin to McCown given that McCown’s not getting any younger at 35 and in his 10 years of playing experience in a 12 year career never produced anywhere near Griffin’s two full seasons. Griffin’s averaged 3,200 passing yards and 18 passing touchdowns while McCown topped 2,500 yards once early in his career with the Arizona Cardinals and 13 TDs last season with the Chicago Bears.
How Likely Is It Going to Happen?
The possibility becomes very real for Washington to give up on Griffin when you consider the ego of owner Dan Snyder. Gruden’s loyalty to Griffin may be as far as Snyder’s patience despite the draft picks given up.
The Bucs need an explosive player, but may be inclined to give up a third round or mid-round pick in the 2015 draft and draft Winston or Mariota. Whomever the Bucs draft at QB, the rookie can learn under the veteran. The Bucs would be wary to invest any higher picks to trade given Griffin’s leg issues.
Griffin and Winston/Mariota could be an open competition for the starting job. If Griffin can’t return to his rookie form, then he can work his way back up spending a year to get better at least until another team takes a chance on him.
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