Changing QBs Won't Make A Difference
Martin Fennelly, The Tampa Tribune, published 11 December 2006

The Tim Rattay Era has begun. Didn't you hear the pin drop?

There was practically no one left in Raymond James Stadium on Sunday when the tectonic plates shifted in Jon Gruden's head and he decided that the Year of the Gradkowski had ended. Or had it?

"We will address that in the next couple days," Gruden said. Can you have a quarterback controversy when no one cares? Can you have a quarterback controversy when you don't have a quarterback?

Tim Rattay came in and responded with a dramatic scoreless drive. Bruce Gradkowski's spleen has put out feelers to Chris Simms. The Bucs have inquired about obtaining the territorial rights to Plant High's Robert Marve.

This is like changing ice machines on the Titanic. Neither of these two are going to make a difference in this season. Armed with a historically bad offense, the Bucs are safely in the pipe for 3-13 after Sunday's 17-6 loss to Atlanta. Even the funky Falcons can't out-funk these clowns. But Gruden had to do something, right?

It must have pained him to admit it, just like when Dr. Frankenstein stitched together his creation only to find out it didn't play well with others. Bruce Gradkowski was his discovery. Bruce was his baby. It's never easy putting the baby back on the doorstep. The lesson of this season - and Bears backup Brian Griese will be a friendly reminder of it as the Bucs go to Chicago (that'll be fun) - is that you need two quarterbacks.

None is a whole lot less than two. "We're going to look into the Chris Simms situation, obviously," Gruden said. "We'll look at Bruce Gradkowski. If you're a quarterback out there in America, we're looking into you as well."

Sounds like a threat. The move to Rattay makes sense only if Gruden thinks three more losses will turn Gradkowski into a vegetable. Right now, all that's missing is the hollandaise on top.

The kid is a mistakes machine. Also, he doesn't make plays. He held onto the ball too long in the third quarter, was sacked and fumbled. Said fumble was returned by Atlanta for a touchdown. By the way, thanks for playing, Anthony Davis!

This is a truly horrible offense. It hasn't scored a touchdown in 11 quarters. It hasn't scored a touchdown in six different games this season. It can't score. It simply can't score. So what does the quarterback matter?

Trying to save Gradkowski's psyche is the only way to justify this move. But Rattay probably won't be here next season. What kind of waste is that?

True, Rattay did throw for 417 yards in a game two seasons ago. And he marched the Bucs at the end Sunday, completing nine passes before piling harmlessly into the pack at the Atlanta 2-yard line as time expired. Should have kicked the field goal. Sign Chris Simms. Yesterday. Look for a backup. Today.

And now back to another episode of "What The Hell is He Talking About?"

"We've got to find a guy who can dominate," Jon Gruden said. "Not a guy who can run a game or help us score here or there. We've got to find a guy in Tampa, Fla., who can dominate in the NFL, be a superstar quarterback. That gives us a chance for us to do what we want to do. And until we do, we're going to be looking."

America, you've been warned.