“Incredibly Difficult”April 17th, 2014
The Buccaneers’ quest for a franchise quarterback (yes, Mike Glennon Mob, the team still yearns for one) is a puzzling effort for a few reasons:
First, offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford’s offense is a complete mystery. So the type of QB the Bucs covet is unknown. Second, Lovie Smith guaranteeing 34-year-old journeyman Josh McCown $5 million after cutting him a few years ago adds to the confusion. And third, it’s unknown what kind of commitment Lovie Smith is willing to make to the position.
Lovie got to a Super Bowl with Rex Grossman but traded two first-round picks and Kyle Orton to Denver for bratty Jay Cutler. Is Lovie now somewhere in between those extremes when it comes to valuing a quarterback?
Joe really recommends the audio linked here of NFL Films’ 30-year guru Greg Cosell talking about QB evaluation with Doug Gottlieb of CBS Radio yessterday. Cosell dives deep into how NFL teams look at prospective quarterbacks and draft picks and talks about how Johnny Football’s success or failure is nearly impossible for him to predict.
“You know what, I think, and I’m not copping out, I think it’s incredibly difficult. I think he’s going to be a function of team, in all honesty,” Cosell said. “I think if he can go to a team that has parts and has pieces, and he’s willing to intuitively understand all that, and I actually think he’s a pretty smart kid, I think if he can intuitively grasp that, he’ll be able to play. I don’t think he’ll be able to play the way he played at [Texas] A&M. I’m not sure that’s really viable in the league.”
Of course, regular readers here know Joe would love to see the Bucs draft Teddy Bridgewater or Johnny Football, primarily because they represent significant upgrades in talent over what the Bucs have now. Those two guys have a shot at elite status.
But not knowing what Tedford wants makes it awfully hard to predict the Bucs’ moves at QB. Why did they even pounce on Mike Kafka like a stray cat on a mouse after he was out of a football for a year?
Cosell says Derek Carr might be his No. 1 QB on a draft board but says Carr will need to learn “a whole different way of playing quarterback” because he didn’t play in a pro-style system at Fresno State. Cosell cautions that teams would be in trouble asking Blake Bortles to do things he’s not ready to perform.
“You’ve got to think about adaptability to your team, to your whole system. How is that going to play out over time? Because this is a process [developing a quarterback.]” Cosell explains.
Of course, that’s the catch: urgency. Teams feel pressure to win immediately, but most rookie quarterbacks need time and must be managed effectively. Lovie is on an ultimate honeymoon for NFL coaches with his Tampa status right now. He’ll get at least three years to put the Bucs in the playoffs. He’ll also get a couple of years to develop a quarterback with Tedford.
This is why Joe is certain the Bucs will draft one in 2014. Lovie knows he’s got the time to do it right, and his table is set with mentor McCown and guru Tedford in place.