Questions From A Fan


I recently got an email from a good friend, the infamous David Diaz, who had some Bucs questions to ask of me.  I figured some other folks might have the same questions about the offseason, so I’ll give you my two cents. 

Q:  We’ve got a lot of cap space and unlike the last couple of years, with mid range free agents stealing free agent money, it seems like there could be some viable options out there.  I can’t imagine Jeff Garcia being here next year…who to take his place? I’m thinking Donovan McNabb (if he can handle the heat without puking) has to give Gruden a boner.  Everyone thinks Minny, but more often than not, the most obvious destination doesn’t happen…What other QBs are out there??  I can’t see us going after a Matt Cassel or anything like that.   Maybe David Garrard will be shipped out when Jacksonville fires Jack Del Rio. I would love to see Alex Smith given a shot…but then again I was also clamoring for David Carr and was pissed when Carolina got him. Shows how good my eye for talent is. What do you think?

A:  The QB position will almost certainly be different next year I would think.  Jeff Garcia never got his extension that he was seeking in the offseason, and I’m sure his early season benching hurt his feelings.   I echo your thoughts on McNabb 100%.  Anytime I’ve ever heard Jon Gruden talk about McNabb, it’s been glowingly.  If you think about it, Garcia is kind of a poor man’s McNabb.  McNabb is the perfect fit for this offense, and whether Philly wants to trade him, or release him outright, I think the Bucs will have plenty of interest. 

I disagree though that we won’t have any interest in Cassel.  Cassel has spent a lot of years under great college players and coaches, as well as NFL players and coaches that most people hold in the highest regard.  One thing that has caught me off guard about Cassel and one of the things that I really like about him, is his wheels. He’s completing 64% of his passes and thrown for over 3,000 yards even though he hasn’t played since like 1968 before this season.  If he is available either via trade (because of a franchise tagging) or because they let him walk, in my opinion, the Bucs will be plenty interested. 

I think David Garrard could always be a possibility because when Gruden first arrived here, and even one time the next offseason, the Bucs inquired about a trade for Garrard. 

Q:  I think we could also get a playmaker that Gruden has been asking for years (unless you think Dexter Jackson can turn the corner…HAHAHAHAHAHAH….seems like there will be quite a few out there. Houshmanzadeh maybe, but will he be a stud without Chad Johnson? Boldin wants out, and I would LOVE to have his mindset on this team…same question as to Housh though, can he be a number one without Larry Fitzgerald?

A:  A top tier wide receiver  like TJ Houshmanzadeh or Anquan Boldin is the missing piece of our puzzle at this point outside of a little more explosive QB (we just talked about this though).  I would imagine that answers your question about their ability to be true number ones without their current wide receiver brethren.  They both have a few things in common.  They are top tier run blockers and both play with a controlled on the field recklessness that every coach loves.  The only difference being one is an unrestricted FA, and the other is still under contract for two more years after this one.  It would be hard for me to imagine a scenario where Anquan was moved for anything less than multiple high round picks, I don’t think it would make sense for them.  In today’s NFL salary cap climate, teams can afford to pay their best players, and Boldin is one of those guys.  I think they’ll end up paying him.  Houshmanzadeh is our best target. 

Q:  What will it take to re-sign Antonio Bryant or will he pull a Thomas Jones on us and leave in hour 1 of free agency?

A:   I think that he might enjoy the resurrection to his career that Jon Gruden and his offense have provided him at this stage of his career.  I believe Bernard Berrian got around 22 mil guaranteed.  Antonio is actually a much more proven WR than Berrian was when he got that deal.  I’ll take something around that number and be happy, especially if we couple him with a big time player in FA. 

Q:   I Have to believe that Michael Clayton probably leaves but I would see it as a mistake…some team will turn him into a beast. He does as much for our running game as any O-lineman and I think can STILL be our Hines Ward.  Your thoughts?

I totally agree with you again.   I think he is an integral component of our running game.  The problem will be if we go out and give another blocking possession receiver such as Housh a big deal.  It would be a shame to let a similar caliber player as Clayton walk away, and him re-discover his Hines Wardesque rookie year on another team, at a cheaper rate than Housh.   Housh is a better receiver, period, but Clayton still has a ceiling.  Keeping all three would be ideal, and we have the money to do just that. 

Q:  I still think Greg White, Jimmy Wilkerson, Jovan Haye, Chris Hovan, and Kevin Carter are ALL playing at a better level than your boy Gaines Adams…I’ve been watching and trying to give him the benefit of the doubt and all I can say is he makes hustle plays but nothing else. He’s constantly out of position it seems and it’s pissing me off.

A:  I think he’s still experiencing a learning curve in the NFL.  He no doubt has the ability to make huge splash plays, not just hustle plays (as you stated) but certainly lacks the consistency of most of our defensive lineman.   I think his ceiling is still monstrous, and with the aforementioned consistent veteran leadership we do have, we have the chances to let him learn on the job (where most players need to learn).