The QB Blast: Sitting Out Free Agency A GambleMarch 9th, 2010
By JEFF CARLSON
Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes the weekly QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson has TV gigs in the Bay area and trains quarterbacks of all ages via his company, America’s Best Quarterback
I have a 12 year old son stepping up in competition next season. He is moving from the tackle football program at Idlewild Baptist Church to the South Pasco Predators in Land O Lakes. I have volunteered and have been accepted as the head coach of the 11, 12 and 13 year old Junior Midget team.
Of course, I want to be a role model and example for the young men that I will be in charge of and give them a positive experience…..yada, yada, yada. Do I want to win every game we play? Oh yeah!
I train quarterbacks all year long on the proper fundamentals and techniques of throwing the football, and we talk about both offensive and defensive strategies, but I don’t need to worry about all the aspects of what it takes to actually win a football game.
Now, as a head coach, I will be drawing up my ideas of the best way to win a football game and realize more than ever, no matter what I draw up on paper, it won’t matter much unless the horses show up.
This is especially true on defense, because if we can’t stop the other team, our offense must be perfect and that’s a tall order for any team.
Offensively, there is still room for imagination, even at the pro level. The Wildcat, Run-and-Shoot, shovel passes and empty packages are all relatively young concepts. Some have already gone away, some are yet to be designed, but more will come.
I will bring a few new concepts to the little league level to try and win games no matter what players show up the first day. The Bucs, on the other hand, have a roster and know what players are going to show up. They are busy now and for another six months designing up offensive and defensive strategies that they think will be successful for them next season.
In the NFL, the salary cap is supposed to act as the ultimate equalizer, giving everyone the equal chance to spend the same amount of money on the available talent. It has worked to give more teams opportunities to compete on the field and give more teams hope later in the season.
The draft is designed to give the bottom finishers a chance to gain better talent to more successfully compete. The draft system didn’t help teams like the Bucs, Bengals, Bills, Cardinals, Lions, Falcons or Saints for many years, but is being pointed to as the model for success, based on teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Bucs’ one successful run to the title came with significant contributions from free agents Brad Johnson, Joe Jurevicius, Michael Pittman, Keenan McCardell, as well as others and even Keyshawn Johnson’s expensive trade.
The growing labor dispute is throwing a bit of a chink in the system that has been with us since I retired from the game, more than 15 years now.
But, the Bucs are telling us that the model for success on the field is through the acquisition of kids out of college, not the players that have found success at the NFL level and are on the open market.
I’m not saying there aren’t teams that have done better jobs building their own talent than filling holes with veterans than other teams. But with the holes that I would think most of us would agree the Bucs have on both sides of the ball, finding guys that can immediately contribute, would seem to be of pretty high importance. Especially since there are fewer paying folks showing up on Sundays and fewer discretionary dollars for most of us.
It will take some real signs of hope for immediate improvement for those dollars of “joe bucs fan” types (not a stereotype, just a good descriptive name) to be gambled on only the Bucs’ draft picks.
I will have to hope for the best and wait to see who shows up for my little league team in July. The Bucs will have to wait to see who is available before each pick during April’s draft, which is a much bigger gamble than paying players that have already competed at the top level, when improving next season is of top priority.