Every offseason has its big signings, trades and controversy. Sitting in the shadows and working every day to hang on to their NFL dreams are the bubble players who are hoping to stay on long enough to secure a long-term gig, or even just a year long one.
Some teams carry three quarterbacks into the regular season as a means of providing themselves insurance in case their lead signal caller goes down. The worst thing that can happen to a team is for their starter to go down early and have a backup quarterback in with no net to catch the offense if he were to fall.
The Buccaneers currently have four quarterbacks on the roster as the league prepares to enter pre-season. While conventional wisdom says to keep three quarterbacks on the active roster, there have been teams who drew their stock down to just two in the name of providing greater depth at other positions on the field. Here, we’re going to take a look at the two guys who could find themselves on the way out in the name of depth at areas of bigger need.
Ryan Griffin first entered the league as an undrafted free-agent out of Tulane in 2013. Signed by the New Orleans Saints he spent the early part of the year on the practice squad but was added to their active roster in October of that season.
In his rookie year he finished 13th among NFL quarterbacks during the pre-season with 380 yards passing while completing 54% of his passes.
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In the 2014 pre-season Griffin finished 5th in the league and increased his completion percentage to over 60% and had a quarterback rating of 90.3.
Prior to the beginning of the 2015 regular season the Saints waived the young quarterback and he was quickly scooped up by the Buccaneers who were looking to add some depth at the position behind then rookie Jameis Winston and Mike Glennon.
In his three years in the league Griffin has never seen regular season action, but his pre-season performances have led many to think there is a good amount of potential for him to become a legitimate contributor as an NFL quarterback.
In 2015 the Bucs’ top draft choice praised Griffin for aiding him in learning how to prepare like a pro when he said,
“What he really brought was Drew Brees’ work ethic. Me and Mike (Glennon), we just be look and see how Ryan does things because he was around a couple great quarterbacks with Luke McCown and Drew Brees. He knows the routine of a starting quarterback and how he’s supposed to do things.”
Griffin stuck last season with Tampa and he is definitely the favorite to secure the third position if the team carries one into the 2016 regular season.
Dan Lefevour was a 6th round selection in the 2010 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears but was later waived and claimed by the Bengals later in the pre-season.
Including the Bears and Bengals, Lefevour has been on four NFL rosters with the Buccaneers’ being his fifth team in the league.
He’s never seen regular season action in the NFL but does have playing time at the pro level. As a member of the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Montreal Alouettes. In his first start as a member of the CFL Lefevour threw for over 300 yards, ran for over 100 and led the Tiger-Cats to victory.
The remainder of his season wasn’t quite as impressive however and he was not retained by Hamilton at the end of the year.
After a shoulder injury ended his 2015 season, the Bucs came calling to the now 29-year old who was just the second quarterback to throw for more than 3,000 yards and rush for over 1,000 yards in a collegiate season.
He signed on with the team and has been reunited with his offensive coordinator back at Central Michigan, Mike Bajakian, who is now the quarterbacks coach in Tampa.
One looks to have good upside and potential, and the other is a collegiate star getting perhaps his last chance to really stick on an NFL roster. Both will be on the bubble when pre-season gets underway.
With Mike Glennon seemingly a lock to leave the Bucs in free-agency next year (ahem, New York Jets) it would be wise for the team to carry a third quarterback on the active roster in order to groom him for backup duties starting in 2017.
This does not necessary mean all will be lost for the odd man out in the quarterbacks room however, as the team could make a move to keep the fourth guy on the practice squad should he clear waivers.
Bottom line is one of these players will not be making the final cuts. Who do you think will make it, or worse yet will either of them stay on the roster? Sound off below or hit us up on Twitter, or hit me up on Twitter with your thoughts on the Buccaneers’ current quarterback depth.