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[Bucs] Walker May Unseat Steussie At Tackle

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  • [Bucs] Walker May Unseat Steussie At Tackle

    From The Tampa Tribune
    Published: Oct 12, 2004






    TAMPA - The switch to Brian Griese at quarterback may not be the only change the Bucs make to their starting lineup for Monday night's game.
    The Bucs also may name a new starter at right tackle, where incumbent Todd Steussie and Kenyatta Walker seem to be headed in opposite directions.

    Steussie, an 11-year veteran who received a $4 million free- agent signing bonus, has started every game but struggled in his transition to the right side. Sunday, he was beaten for the first-quarter sack that injured starting QB Chris Simms.

    Walker's reps have increased steadily the past two weeks, and he played every offensive snap in Steussie's place after the sack that knocked out Simms.

    On Monday, Coach Jon Gruden refused to name a starter, saying he will let the players' practice performances decide their fate. He added that the competition has been especially good for Walker.

    ``I think Todd Steussie has brought out the best in Kenyatta Walker,'' Gruden said. ``And that was our intent all along - to let the best man play.''

    BRAD STAYING PUT: Though he wouldn't go as far as to name Brad Johnson the No. 2 quarterback this week, Gruden stressed the former starter is a ``big part of this team, and he's going to continue to be that.''

    Johnson has declined to comment to the local media since his benching, but he said in an interview with SI.com that he would be open to a trade if it was the ``right situation'' and ``the sooner, the better.''

    ``We are not going to trade Brad Johnson,'' Gruden said, addressing rumors that have been circulating since Johnson was demoted last week for Simms. ``I am not going to answer all of the rumor mill.''

    Griese, this week's starter, has been in a similar situation as Johnson. His first year as a starter in Denver, the Broncos began the season 0-4 and he was benched. Griese also dealt with a shoulder injury and can empathize with Simms.

    ``I know exactly where Brad is right now and how he feels,'' Griese said. ``I know exactly where Chris is and what he feels. I've been in that situation as well.

    ``Right now it's a situation where we need to go out and win some games so whatever the quarterback position, the three of us need to go out and do it and we'll all be cool for each other.''

    THE SOUND OF SILENCE: Gruden won't be listed on the injury report this week, but he could be. He's suffering from a case of laryngitis so bad that the Bucs considered bringing in a backup play caller during Sunday's game.

    ``We brought [quarterbacks coach] John Shoop out of the press box just in case he had to call the plays,'' Gruden said in a voice even more raspy than usual Monday.

    ``Maybe we should have brought him out and let him call the plays. It's so loud and when you are screaming and the quarterback can't hear it's irritating. It's rough. But we made it through it.''

    Gruden, who cut short his postgame news conference after just a few minutes Sunday, made it through his Monday media address without any problems. He did, however, skip his weekly radio show.

    BUCS BITS: The agent for free agent TE Byron Chamberlain confirmed Chamberlain will be in Tampa today for a tryout. Chamberlain is a former Pro Bowler (2002) who was in camp with the Denver Broncos this summer. The Bucs are also expected to look at TE O.J. Santiago, who was also with Denver during training camp. ... The Bucs, who will face the Rams for the fourth time in a Monday night matchup, are 9-6 on ``Monday Night Football.'' They have won six of their past eight MNF encounters and are 3-0 vs. the Rams. ... WR Michael Clayton ranks first among NFL rookie receivers in receptions (23) and receiving yards (301). ... P Josh Bidwell ranks fifth in the NFC in gross punting average with a 43.7 mark and third in net punting average with a 39.2 mark. ... WR Joey Galloway is expected to start running pass routes in practice this week, Gruden said. It's unlikely that Galloway will return to the lineup until after the Oct. 31 bye week.

    Roy Cummings, Katherine Smith

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  • DJRamFan
    [Bucs] Griese Is The Word At QB
    by DJRamFan
    By KATHERINE SMITH [email protected]
    Published: Oct 12, 2004






    TAMPA - Brian Griese walked into the Bucs' meeting room Monday and eased himself into a chair.
    The seventh-year quarterback was a little more sore than in past weeks after significant playing time in the Bucs' 20-17 victory against New Orleans on Sunday. Griese plans on being just as sore next week following the Monday night game at St. Louis, where he will get his first start as a Buccaneer.

    Griese came in at New Orleans after Chris Simms, making his first NFL start, went down in the Bucs' second offensive series with a sprained left shoulder. An MRI revealed no extensive damage that would require surgery, Coach Jon Gruden said Monday, and Simms is listed as doubtful for the Rams game.

    Griese, the former Denver and Miami quarterback who signed with the Bucs in March, wouldn't speculate if the starting job is now his to lose.

    ``I have no idea,'' Griese said. ``I just found out [Monday] morning that I was going to play this week, so I'm happy about that. I'm happy about the opportunity to go out on Monday night. What a great stage, so I'm just excited about that.``

    Gruden was noncommittal on how long Griese would remain the starter.

    ``We're just going to deal with the reality of business. Chris is hurt,`` Gruden said. ``If Chris had stayed healthy and played like he was playing, he would continue to be our starter. He's not healthy. He's hurt. Brian Griese did a heck of a job. He's starting.``

    Griese completed 16 of 19 passes Sunday for 194 yards, finishing with a passer rating of 126.8. He led scoring drives of 41 and 71 yards, the longer drive capped off with his 45- yard touchdown pass to tight end Ken Dilger.

    But the most impressive drive may have been the game's last, during which the Bucs converted two key third downs to run out the clock.

    ``I can't really say that in my years of coaching, that I have seen a guy come in, off the bench, and play that well in a situation where we really needed him to do that,'' Gruden said. ``He sparked us. He ignited us. He made some great plays in the game.''

    Griese likes the responsibility that comes with the quarterback role in Gruden's offense. That was evident during the Bucs' final drive Sunday when Griese threw on three consecutive downs and converted a third-down play with a 14-yard pass to Michael Pittman.

    ``I like how much the offense is put in the quarterback's hands,'' Griese said. ``They really require the quarterback to pull the trigger, put the team in the right play, to make the right reads and to win the game.

    ``I've been in places where games have been taken out of the quarterback's hands.``

    Though Gruden said a decision on who would back up Griese would be made later...
    -10-12-2004, 07:46 AM
  • DJRamFan
    [Bucs] Buccaneers' Simms Doubtful for Next Game
    by DJRamFan
    Oct 11, 1:53 PM EDT

    Buccaneers' Simms Doubtful for Next Game

    By FRED GOODALL
    AP Sports Writer

    TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Chris Simms' first NFL start lasted 19 plays, and it may be a while before he plays again for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Although the second-year quarterback is day to day with a left shoulder sprain, coach Jon Gruden said Brian Griese, who came off the bench to pace Sunday's 20-17 win over New Orleans, will start next Monday night at St. Louis.

    "There will be no surgery. We're going to call it a sprain. He's going to be sore for a period of days," Gruden said, adding Simms will be listed as doubtful.

    Asked if he expects Simms to practice this week, Gruden was not optimistic.

    "It depends on how quick the soreness subsides. I would say that that's questionable at best," the coach said. "Hopefully as the week unfolds, he'll get some strength and mobility back."

    The son of former New York Giants star Phil Simms was 5-of-8 for 68 yards and produced a 3-0 lead before he was hurt when Saints rookie Will Smith sacked him in late in the first quarter, causing a fumble.

    X-rays taken Sunday showed no structural damage, and a MRI exam performed Monday was negative, too.

    Griese, also the son of a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, replaced Simms and completed 16 of 19 passes for 194 yards and one touchdown.

    Gruden shrugged off a question about whether Griese earned the starting job, which was held by Brad Johnson through an 0-4 start, or if Simms would return to the lineup when he's healthy.

    "We're just going to deal with the reality of business. Chris is hurt," Gruden said. "If Chris had stayed healthy and played like he was playing, he would continue to be our starter. He's not healthy. He's hurt. Brian Griese did a heck of a job. He's starting."

    Meanwhile, Gruden said the team will not trade Johnson, who has lost 13 of 20 starts since leading the Bucs to a Super Bowl victory in January 2003.

    "I'm not going to answer all the rumor mill," Gruden said. "There's a lot of inaccuracies out there. Brad Johnson is a big part of this football team and will continue to be that."
    -10-11-2004, 01:13 PM
  • DJRamFan
    [Bucs] Griese will start vs. Rams
    by DJRamFan
    By Associated Press
    Published October 11, 2004

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    TAMPA - Chris Simms' first NFL start lasted 19 plays, and it may be a while before he plays again for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Although the second-year quarterback is day to day with a left shoulder sprain, coach Jon Gruden said Brian Griese, who came off the bench to pace Sunday's 20-17 win over New Orleans, will start next Monday night at St. Louis.

    "There will be no surgery. We're going to call it a sprain. He's going to be sore for a period of days," Gruden said, adding Simms will be listed as doubtful.

    Asked if he expects Simms to practice this week, Gruden was not optimistic.

    "It depends on how quick the soreness subsides. I would say that that's questionable at best," the coach said. "Hopefully as the week unfolds, he'll get some strength and mobility back."

    The son of former New York Giants star Phil Simms was 5-of-8 for 68 yards and produced a 3-0 lead before he was hurt when Saints rookie Will Smith sacked him in late in the first quarter, causing a fumble.

    X-rays taken Sunday showed no structural damage, and a MRI exam performed Monday was negative, too.

    Griese, also the son of a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, replaced Simms and completed 16 of 19 passes for 194 yards and one touchdown.

    Gruden shrugged off a question about whether Griese earned the starting job, which was held by Brad Johnson through an 0-4 start, or if Simms would return to the lineup when he's healthy.

    "We're just going to deal with the reality of business. Chris is hurt," Gruden said. "If Chris had stayed healthy and played like he was playing, he would continue to be our starter. He's not healthy. He's hurt. Brian Griese did a heck of a job. He's starting."

    Meanwhile, Gruden said the team will not trade Johnson, who has lost 13 of 20 starts since leading the Bucs to a Super Bowl victory in January 2003.

    "I'm not going to answer all the rumor mill," Gruden said. "There's a lot of inaccuracies out there. Brad Johnson is a big part of this football team and will continue to be that."

    [Last modified October 11, 2004, 13:44:07]
    -10-11-2004, 01:19 PM
  • DJRamFan
    [Bucs] The present is Griese's, if only for one week
    by DJRamFan
    By GARY SHELTON, Times Sports Columnist
    Published October 11, 2004

    NEW ORLEANS - Yesterday belongs to someone else. Tomorrow has already been promised.

    All Brian Griese has is today.

    For him, for now, it is enough.

    He does not instill faith, the way an old starter does. He does not carry hope the way a young one does.

    All Griese provided was a victory.

    For the Bucs, for the time being, it was plenty.

    When it came to saving the day, was anyone looking toward Griese? When it came to a lifeguard dragging a season out of choppy water, did anyone look his direction?

    In a season that came down to a choice of Brad vs. Chris, he was the overlooked quarterback. No one pleaded his case. No one called his name. He was just another son of another quarterback-turned-analyst, another passer who was interesting enough to notice but not inviting enough to debate.

    Until Sunday, that is, when Griese quietly and efficiently dropped his name into the Bucs' quarterback debate.

    Griese came off the bench to win the game for the Bucs on Sunday. On a team that has been erratic, he provided efficiency. In a situation bordering on chaos, he supplied calm. He was precise, poised, polished. In other words, against the Saints, he out-Bradded Brad.

    Considering that Griese had been stuck between forlorn and forgotten, he had a pretty spiffy day.

    Who would have figured Griese would steal the show? Sunday was supposed to belong to Chris Simms, boy wonder. Griese was just another unpicked player in the Dating Game.

    When the Bucs benched Brad Johnson earlier in the week, they looked right past Griese. Why not? In his career, Griese has been called everything but special. In the game of Who's-Your-Daddy, you would have expected Phil Simms, the old Giant, to have had the warm father-son chat on Sunday evening. Instead the call went to Bob Griese, the old Dolphin.

    For 20 plays, Simms looked like exactly the right choice. Of the Bucs quarterbacks, Simms has the most voltage, and there is something to his play that seems to energize his team. He moved well in the pocket, and he threw fastballs.

    Then Simms was sacked, and the muscles in his left shoulder were twisted into braids. That was when Griese rose from the ashes and said hello. He hit 16 of 19 passes, and he controlled the game like Bobby Fischer at a chess board.

    And now for the big question:

    Who starts now?

    If you are Jon Gruden, the answer lies in Simms' sore shoulder. If Simms' shoulder isn't damaged, it's an easy decision. You made it last week.

    Provided Simms somehow wakes up over the next few mornings and, whillickers, his shoulder is all healed, then he should start against the Rams. None of his 20 snaps against the Saints were an argument...
    -10-11-2004, 01:18 PM
  • DJRamFan
    [Bucs] Garrett Makes Move From TV To QB
    by DJRamFan
    Published: Oct 14, 2004






    TAMPA - After Sunday's game against the Saints, Jason Garrett wandered into the Bucs' locker room.
    Having just left the broadcast booth where he helped call the game for Fox, Garrett was catching up with his former teammates when the subject of what he was doing this week came up.

    After starting QB Chris Simms suffered a shoulder sprain in the Bucs' 20-17 victory against New Orleans, Garrett's services suddenly were in demand.

    ``I was waiting to go to the airport, and they were getting on the bus,'' said Garrett, the veteran backup QB who was in training camp with the Bucs but was cut in preseason. ``They started talking about the possibility of me coming back because they didn't know how severe Chris' injury was.''

    Simms said Wednesday he's feeling better and regaining some mobility, but with his left arm in a sling there's not much he'll be able to do this week. Garrett's signing was necessary to help take some of the snaps at practice, specifically with the scout team.

    For Monday night's game, former starter Brad Johnson will be the backup to Brian Griese, who is making his first start as a Buccaneer.

    ``Out of respect for that position, we felt it was necessary to bring a guy back who knows our stuff,'' Coach Jon Gruden said.

    Last week at this time, Garrett was preparing for his first NFL game as a broadcaster, studying the players and memorizing names and numbers. This week, he's reacquainting himself with Gruden's terminology.

    ``It was a funny couple of days for me,'' Garrett said, ``there's no question about that.''

    UNDER PRESSURE: The statistics don't reflect it this season, but St. Louis coach Mike Martz said the Bucs are one of the few teams who can get pressure on the passer with a four- man rush.

    Through five games last year, the Bucs had 13 sacks, led by DE Simeon Rice with seven. This season, the Bucs are down to six through five games, including one for Rice.

    What doesn't show up on the stat sheet is the number of quarterback pressures.

    ``We've had a few mobile quarterbacks this year, guys that have escape ability,'' SS Dwight Smith said. ``So the stats might [look like] we're not getting a lot of pressure, but our D-line has been getting a lot of pressure.''

    Smith said that pressure is evident in how well the secondary is playing. The Bucs are ranked third against the pass.

    ROSTER MOVES: In addition to Garrett, the Bucs signed former Denver WR Adrian Madise. The Broncos' fifth-round draft pick last year was released Monday, following a four-game suspension for violating the league's banned-substance policy after testing positive for steroids. Madise claimed he was unaware steroids were in the supplements he used.

    In 11 games...
    -10-14-2004, 04:28 PM
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