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Sunday, December 14, 2008
Decision to go with Griese a short-term fix

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

ATLANTA -- For anyone who thinks the Bucs already have their quarterback of the future, think again.

GarciaGriese

Jon Gruden's decision to start veteran Brian Griese instead of Luke McCown today is a pretty strong sign the Bucs aren't anywhere close to being sold on McCown. With Jeff Garcia sitting with a calf injury, McCown got most of the first-team work in practice this week. But the Bucs are turning to Griese, who only returned to full practice in recent days after dealing with an elbow injury.

Clearly, this is a case of Gruden choosing to go with a veteran in an important game and there's some solid logic in that. But it's also pretty logical to assume that McCown isn't viewed as the long-term solution if he's not even the short-term answer.

And don't even bring rookie Josh Johnson into the conversation. He's a project and that's all. He has some talent, but he's nowhere close to being ready to play.

So it will be back to Square One for the Bucs after the season. They'll be searching for a quarterback -- again. Garcia's 38, his contract is up and he and Gruden have had their clashes. Garcia will play somewhere next year, but it won't be in Tampa Bay.

Griese might stick around, but primarily as a backup. Gruden tried to go out and get a big name (Brett Favre) before this season and it didn't happen. It's a pretty safe bet that Gruden will try to get a big-name quarterback again.

I've thrown it out there before and I'll throw it out there again. It looks like Donovan McNabb will be available. After swinging and missing in the Favre fiasco, I don't think the Bucs will have any limitations in their next quarterback search.