“The Bucs Can Do Better — And They Should”

April 3rd, 2020

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Blaine Gabbert, really?

Bruce Arians obviously has a comfort level with the 30-year-old quarterback, who apparently will back up Tom Brady this fall. But for an organization that is proudly proclaiming itself “all in,” this seems like risky business.

Tom Brady has been amazingly durable during his two decades under center, but he will turn 43 in August. He’s not as mobile in the pocket and at his age, any injury will likely take longer to heal.

That’s why it’s important for Tampa Bay to have a reliable reserve behind Brady who can win a few games in a starting role. If Brady is hurt and Gabbert goes 0-2, that could be the difference between a 13-year playoff drought and a lengthy postseason run.

This fascination with Gabbert eludes me.

Blaine Gabbert’s return, reported here in February, was made official yesterday.

The Jaguars moved up six spots in the 2011 draft to select Gabbert at No. 10 overall, but it never worked out for him in Jacksonville. With Dirk Koetter serving as his offensive coordinator, Gabbert suffered through a brutal rookie year.

You can’t say head coach Jack Del Rio was surprised, because he couldn’t believe the Jags chose Gabbert with a premium pick. Former Jacksonville GM Gene Smith didn’t even bother to keep Del Rio informed on draft night.

“My son and I had ranked all the quarterbacks and we liked Blaine, but he was like third or fourth round,” Del Rio said last year, looking back. “He wasn’t a first-rounder, he wasn’t a guy to trade up to get. So that was not part of coaching, that was not part of me. That was my first indication that my time there was running short.”

Del Rio’s instincts were correct. He was fired 11 games into Gabbert’s rookie season and by 2012, Koetter was calling plays for Mike Smith in Atlanta.

The Jags soon lost faith in Gabbert, who spent three years in San Francisco before joining Arians in Arizona in 2017.

When injuries to Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton gave Gabbert an opportunity to start and resurrect his career, he went 2-3, throwing six touchdowns and six interceptions while being sacked 23 times. In those five games, the Cardinals averaged only 18 points.

Then it was onto Tennessee as Marcus Mariota’s backup.

Ghastly Gabbert stats, writes Ira Kaufman.

Overall, Gabbert is 13-35 as an NFL starter, averaging a ghastly 6.1 yards per pass attempt. The Bucs placed him on injured reserve last September with a dislocated shoulder, but he’s back, this time for a Buc team that has raised expectations significantly with the addition of Brady.

And what happens if Brady is sidelined for a spell? Good luck.

“You’re just naïve, or deluded, if you think you can get by anymore with just one guy,” says Andy Reid. “It doesn’t happen that way. You’d better have someone in whom you’ve got faith, that you feel very comfortable with, and that you know can go in and perform. If you don’t have someone like that, then you’re playing with fire, and eventually you’re going to get burned.”

Reid should know. When Patrick Mahomes suffered a knee injury last year, Matt Moore stepped in and played very well against two NFC playoff teams. The Chiefs lost 31-24 to Green Bay before Moore orchestrated a 26-23 victory against Minnesota.

In those two starts, Moore threw three TD passes and zero picks.

Guess what? Moore’s a free agent, looking for a job. So is Joe Flacco. Both veterans have enjoyed more success than Gabbert at the pro level. Perhaps money is a factor. It shouldn’t be.

Bad Gamble

We’re talking about the most important position on a football team. In this case, a football team with big-time aspirations and a short window to get it done.

Let’s be realistic. If Brady is out for a significant length of time, it probably won’t matter who is behind him on the depth chart. The 2020 Bucs would be toast. But having someone who can keep the team afloat for a few weeks is critical.

Arians obviously has confidence in Gabbert, but the numbers and the results don’t support that conviction. The Bucs can do better — and they should. If Brady remains healthy, the point is moot. If Brady’s hurt, the point is monumental.

Is this franchise really willing to take that chance?

Ira with his good friend Sean Sullivan, general manager of Bill Currie Ford, Tampa’s first family of Ford. Sean will help you personally in any way he can. It’s the Bill Currie way.

45 Responses to ““The Bucs Can Do Better — And They Should””

  1. Clean House Says:

    It’s BA’s version of Jaquiz Rogers

    I imagine he’s there as a translator

  2. 2020 Year of the GOAT Says:

    “The Bucs Can Do Better — And They Should

    Well said …. Couldnt agree more …. Its a real head scratcher… he always looks horrible when he gets his chance……..

  3. Sport Says:

    Fair points Ira. I’m can see a late round draft pick this year as part of the development plan.

    Agreed, if he goes down, your season is mightily at risk. That’s normally the case for every NFL Team. There aren’t 96, 64 or even 32 great NFL QB’s, we just landed the best of all time. That in itself is astounding.

    I am hopeful we don’t see Gabbert (or any backup) play a down, thus making the point of this article moot.

    In BA I Trust!

  4. adam from ny Says:

    yeah you want a borderline starter waiting in the wings…

    not a borderline screw up…

    lucky for gabbert that BA loves the guy for whatever reason

  5. adam from ny Says:

    let’s talk about tom gravy moving into the uber plush jeter digs

  6. adam from ny Says:

    the interesting thing is:

    with griffin waiting in the wings this long, and if he stays learning behind brady…

    can he become a super seasoned vet at some point who comes in 2-3 years down the line as the heir apparent ???

    it’s something to seriously consider…

    granted he has a semi weak arm, but has been learning the pro qb position for many years…

    can extended learning time under brady for a few more years prepare him for a full time role after like 10 seasons of clipboard holding???

    this is something to really consider…

    or is a jacob eason a better answer?…can ryan griffin realistically be the future veteran bucs qb that sort of comes out of nowhere???

  7. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Some here chided me for my rallying cry of FIRE LICHT FIRE LICHT , more evidence that I am spot on correct-GABBERT FREAKING SUCKS

  8. NutterBuccer Says:

    Trade for nick mullens…the guy is intriguing

  9. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I hope the Washington QB Jacob Eason falls to us.

  10. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    They are drafting a QB. Only thing that makes sense. Unfortunately we ARE talking about the Bucs here.

  11. Formally Tampa2 Says:

    I remember watching Gabbert in preseason last year and Griffin played much much better. I have a harder time grasping the idea of Leftwich calling the plays for Brady.

  12. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Yep, this baffles me as well. Maybe Arians feels because there is a possibility of a shortened training camp that Blaine Gabbert is already familiar with the playbook. But even if that is the case Ryan Griffin has had a season to study as well. So given Blaine Gabbert’s unimpressive body of work to this point I’d would rather we take a chance on Ryan Griffin’s clean slate. Hopefully Arians will give Gabbert true competition at least, and not just gift the backup job automatically.

  13. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Also now that we have 3 QB’s on the roster I don’t think they will select a QB this draft. At least not until after the fourth round

  14. '79 Defense Says:


  15. Hawk Says:

    So, if the Bucs replace Gabbert (#2 QB), then they will start this “All-In”, season with *2* QBs that are learning the playbook? I don’t even have to look at the cap space to know that would not be a good idea. Would it be smart insurance to have a better QB as your 2nd? Yes. Is it the best thing to do in this situation? Time will tell.
    One thing I do know… Griffin should have a realtor on speed-dial on draft night.

  16. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    ” Perhaps money is a factor. It shouldn’t be.”

    But, it is…..

  17. WhatTheBuc Says:

    Gabbert more than likely will not make the team. They just want a guy in camp that can help teach the offense in the QB room. It’s also good to have a guy on the street that knows your system in case something catastrophic happens during the season. If we lose one of the QBs for the season, the Bucs can call Gabbert back to be the backup.

  18. Defense Rules Says:

    WhatTheBuc … Excellent points. Your reasoning is the only one that makes any sense.

    Gabbert cost us $1 mil. Ryan Smith cost us $1.75 mil. Duh. Does anyone REALLY think that Gabbert will end up being the PRIMARY backup on this year’s Bucs’ team?

  19. Defense Rules Says:

    Seriously Joe? Another vanilla comment into the dungeon? That’s now 4 straight into ‘moderation’.

  20. Defense Rules Says:

    Make that 5 straight into moderation.

  21. Defense Rules Says:

    Fun game.

  22. PSL Bob Says:

    As that Jerry Reed trucking song goes, we’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there. Gabbert ain’t the insurance we need to make sure we get there on time. Someone like Flacco makes much more sense. The only argument I can see for BA’s infatuation with Gabbert is that he knows the offense. That seems to be a big plus for BA. Apparently, he doesn’t think another QB can learn it quickly.

    And that brings us to Ryan Griffin. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why this organization keeps him on the payroll (even though he’s cheap), rave about his performance in preseason, and then refuse to let him play a backup role. I guess just to run the practice squad.

  23. Bucs Fan Since ‘76 Says:

    Hawk, I was thinking the exact same thing. I also think they should bring Griffin back.

  24. D-Rome Says:

    I guess with Bruce Arians you have to take the bad with the good. I am not convinced that Gabbert is a better QB than Ryan Griffin. Gabbert has never looked sharp in pre-season or the regular season.

    It’s stunning to me that XFL QBs, Marcus Mariota, and Blaine Gabbert have a job before Jameis Winston. Jameis is a bust and I have always said he was a bottom tier QB in the NFL (unlike the mouth-breathers that think he’s a top 15 QB) but that’s among starters. It makes me wonder if there is something else about Jameis Winston the public doesn’t know about (yet).

  25. Joe in Michigan Says:

    So who do you think we should’ve signed, Sage? At what cost? I agree we could’ve done better, but I’d rather have Suh re-signed like we did than having a $8 million a year backup QB.

  26. pick6 Says:

    Griffin is 30 or close to it. Let’s stop talking about his potential if developed. I think Gabbert is on the Buccannon employment plan, gone as soon as they are remotely confident in some younger player

  27. Destinjohnny Says:

    Makes u wonder if jameis would have said I’ll play for 12 million for 3 years. I bet they would have jumped at it.
    Glazers like the rays love owner watch every penny and then some.

  28. Joe in Michigan Says:

    How much did the Glazers spend this offseason? I don’t know the exact total, but let’s just say a sh!t ton.

  29. Go Bucs 72 Says:

    This article is nonsense, Brady doesn’t miss games. Ira, is obsessed with the backup QB position, every season he writes at least 17 articles about it. I like 99% of Ira’s stories but enough already with the stupid yearly freak out about the backup.

  30. Buczilla Says:

    Good article Ira and I agree. We kept a running.back (Peyton Barber) that shouldn’t have been in the league, so it’s no surprise that we did the same with this terrible quarterback. Head scratcher for sure.

  31. Shaq's Missing 1/2 Sack Says:

    and hopefully one of you guys has the b@ll$ to ask Arians why he went with Glambert

  32. miken Says:

    We are still going to draft a qb or sign another vet so relax.

  33. Joe Says:

    and hopefully one of you guys has the b@ll$ to ask Arians why he went with Glambert

    Baloney! Arians has been asked about this before. A year ago — and he answered.

    Arians likes Gabbert, it is really that simple. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t be on the roster.

    Arians doesn’t believe in a backup quarterback being good enough to be in the conversation about being a full-time starter. Basically, it boils down to the old saying that if you have two quarterbacks, you have none.

  34. Swampbuc Says:

    If Blaine Goobert sees the field……………well typical Buccaneers.

    Rather than wait until the price of a Flacco skyrockets, sign him now. Idiots. Blaine Goobert.

  35. The Coroner Says:

    However I would also add Jameis Winston as a back up at a back up salary.

  36. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    Could not agree more. Gabbert is not a championship quality number two quarterback. His level is more like backup at the Lions or Browns.

  37. Dirks Great Granpappy Says:

    So where would we fit flacco cap wise? I’m sure a super bowl mvp would come in for league minimum right?

  38. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Joe Flacco was 2-6 in 8 games started in Denver. That’s about the same as Gabbert would do if he had to start 8 games.

  39. Mike Johnson Says:

    Agree one million percent here.It truly amazes me how our fans are all hyped up. I get it though. We have been losers for so long. I don’t understand how and why you place all of your eggs in a 43 yrs old can’t run QB. Yes, he has gas left in the tank. But how much? He can’t run anywhere. We had better have an Outstanding line and them some. Because with what we have now, Brady is gonna get hit a lot. How many games has Gabbert played and succeeded in? Its one thing to be delusional but its just stupid to believe Brady will not go down. I’ll be here posting as the Ides Of march when it happens..And it will.

  40. AJ Says:

    Absolutely no issue with this choice. Perfect backup for us CAP space wise. Already knows the system so no learning curve there. And can support Brady with his learning curve. Though I don’t suspect Brady will have a steep curve with his experience. Get a mid-round QB to sit in this room for 2 years is optimal.

  41. sincethebeginning Says:

    I don’t understand why they didn’t just cut Gabbert and hire him onto the coaching staff. He’s certainly only in the locker room to provide an extra translator for the offense.

    Let’s get Ryan Griffin developed and draft a young guy behind him late and see what happens. I’m happy to roll with Griffin as the backup if Brady goes down. I think he’s earned the right, and I’ll bet he can be rock solid with some time with TB under his belt. It’s too bad Ira doesn’t feel that way. I’d really like to know why Griffin never seems to be taken seriously by anybody. What am I missing? When he’s given a chance to get on the field and perform he does nothing but perform well.

    Going after some other more accomplished QB as a backup in free agency would have ruined our chances to re-sign some key guys on defense. We had to roll with what we got right now, but I still don’t get why Gabbert is on the active roster and not just transitioning into coaching at this point because he’s clearly done as a legit QB in the league.

  42. Sydney Says:

    People. It’s all moot. All professional and collegiate sports will be cancelled until 2021.

  43. RODNEY ALLEN Says:

    Honestly we’d be better with Winston as our backup QB 🤦🏻‍♂️💯🤷🏻‍♂️😂😂😂

  44. Dlavid Says:

    #3 still has no job !😂😂😂😂 !

  45. unbelievable Says:

    100% agreed Ira.

    Gabbert has been and will always be garbage. Need someone better when your starter is 43 years old.