Who Should Play QB for Tampa Bay in 2015?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are currently 2-12, and fans and analysts are already looking to the future especially at the quarterback position. Drafting Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston or trading for Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler are options being considered. This article will examine whether or not any of these options make sense and what I think Tampa Bay should do.
Drafting a Quarterback
With their 2-12,record Tampa Bay has a good chance of landing the first or second overall pick in the upcoming draft and getting Winston or Mariota. However, no matter how good a player is in college drafting a player especially at the quarterback position is a risky wager. Most can recall the failure stories of Tim Couch, Ryan Leaf and Tim Tebow to name a few and the first start of former Heisiman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel should still be fresh on everyone's minds. Some may argue that with Josh McCown and Mike Glennon still potentially still on the roster a new quarterback may have a chance to sit and develop. I would argue that teams using the first picks don't draft a quarterback to have him ride the bench, just look at Jacksonville this year. In addition, there is potential for McCown or Glennon to get hurt.
Both Mariota and Winston will have questions about their ability to transition to the professional game and Winston has the off the field issues and distractions that I don't think would be a good fit for the team Lovie Smith is trying to build in Tampa Bay. I think that the Buccaneers would be better off using a first round pick on a player on the offensive line or on the defensive side of the ball.
Those who know my work know how much I opposed the offseason move that brought McCown to the Buccaneers. The only thing that would be worse is trading for Jay Cutler because he is not a great quarterback and because the Buccaneers don't currently have the type of coaching to help Cutler improve. Cutler can't find ways to get the job done, as he is 10-17 over his last 27 starts. Between 2010 and 2013 Cutler never played a full season and has shown in the past to be injury prone, which is part of the reason the team, has McCown. Adding to that is the fact that Cutler has been sacked 93 times in the past three seasons, and the situation probably would not get better in Tampa Bay as the Buccaneers have allowed 42 sacks this season.
Cutler has the talent, which is evident in the fact that he has passed for 27,931 yards and 185 touchdowns in his career and a completion percentage of 60 or better in 2014 and in five other seasons. What Cutler lacks though is consistency. In five wins this season, Cutler has only thrown for 1,242 yards but has thrown for 11 touchdowns and only two interceptions. In Chicago's losses this season Cutler has thrown for 2,398 but has thrown 17 touchdown passes and 16 interceptions including six in the last three games.
If Tampa Bay did trade for Cutler would they trade McCown, which would be interesting, or would the Buccaneers be stuck with two Chicago Bears castoffs. McCown and Cutler were not the right answer in Chicago and there is no reason why Lovie Smith or the Buccaneers should think they would be the answer in Tampa Bay. Lastly, I don't think Tampa Bay should take on Cutler's contact and tie up more money in the quarterback position.
2014 and the Future
McCown and Glennon both had decent seasons in 2014 with McCown passing for 1,944 yards, 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and with Glennon passing for 1,417 yards, 10 touchdowns and six interceptions. Both quarterbacks are reliable options going forward. I think there should be an open competition in the offseason for the starting job. Glennon could and should be the quarterback of the future and Tampa Bay should focus on continuing to develop him instead of continually keeping the quarterback carousel going.