NFC South: Bruce Gradkowski
Any time there’s talk of movement at the quarterback position, people tend to get excited. But, as I look at the crop of free-agent quarterbacks, I can feel my pulse slow. Aside from Joe Flacco, who is not going to get out of Baltimore, there’s absolutely nothing to get excited about.
Byron Leftwich? Josh Johnson? Luke McCown? Bruce Gradkowski?
They’ve all cycled through Tampa Bay once, and the Bucs don’t need to take a step back.
Matt Leinart? Brady Quinn? David Carr?
They’re all busts, high draft picks that have turned out to be nothing more than backups.
Is there any potential free agent out there that really would be much of an upgrade over current backup Dan Orlovsky?
The only two guys I’m seeing that intrigue me (just a little) are Jason Campbell and Matt Moore. I thought Campbell never really got a fair shake in his Washington days. Moore’s not going to wow anyone. But when he’s had the chance to play in Miami and Carolina, he’s shown some intangibles. Given the right circumstances, I think Campbell and Moore would at least have a shot at succeeding if they ended up as a starter.
There’s no doubt the current list of free agents will grow as teams release players before the start of free agency. And there could be some decent quarterbacks available via trade (Alex Smith?). The draft also is an option, but this isn’t the best year to be looking for a quarterback.
This will play out in time, and like I said, the pool could get deeper. But, for right now, the Bucs might as well hang onto Orlovsky.
With that in mind, and with some help from ESPN Stats & Information, let’s take a look at some of the more prominent potential free agents from the rest of the league.
QUARTERBACKS: Marc Bulger, Kerry Collins, Rex Grossman, Matt Hasselbeck, Patrick Ramsey, Alex Smith, Billy Volek, Kellen Clemens, Brodie Croyle, Trent Edwards, Bruce Gradkowski, Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Leinart, Troy Smith and Tyler Thigpen.
RUNNING BACKS: Cedric Benson, Ronnie Brown, Kevin Faulk, Mewelde Moore, Sammy Morris, Clinton Portis, Dominic Rhodes, Tony Richardson, Kevin Smith, Darren Sproles, Fred Taylor, Brian Westbrook, Ricky Williams, Joseph Addai, Ahmad Bradshaw, Jerome Harrison, Brandon Jackson, Laurence Maroney and LeRon McClain.
WIDE RECEIVERS: Mark Clayton, Braylon Edwards, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Randy Moss, Santana Moss, Terrell Owens, Donte’ Stallworth, Steve Breaston, Malcom Floyd, Santonio Holmes, James Jones, Sidney Rice, Mike Sims-Walker, Brad Smith and Steve Smith (of the New York Giants, not the Steve Smith of Carolina).
TIGHT ENDS: Desmond Clark, Donald Lee, Randy McMichael, Bo Scaife, Kevin Boss, Owen Daniels, Daniel Fells, Zach Miller, Ben Patrick and Matt Spaeth.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: David Baas, Jammal Brown, Robert Gallery, Adam Goldberg, Kyle Kosier, Olin Kreutz, Matt Light, Sean Locklear, Casey Rabach, Chris Spencer, Langston Walker, Casey Wiegmann, Floyd Womack, Damien Woody, Chris Chester, Jeromey Clary, Daryn Colledge, Willie Colon, Doug Free, Jared Gaither, Charlie Johnson, Deuce Lutui, Samson Satele, Lyle Sendlein and Marshal Yanda.
DEFENSIVE TACKLES: Aubrayo Franklin, Tommie Harris, Chris Hoke, Chris Hovan, Kris Jenkins, Bryan Robinson, Gerard Warren, Jamal Williams, Pat Williams, Alan Branch, Barry Cofield, John McCargo and Brandon Mebane.
DEFENSIVE ENDS: Jason Babin, Dave Ball, Raheem Brock, Andre Carter, Shaun Ellis, Cullen Jenkins, Travis LaBoy, Trevor Pryce, Marcus Spears, Ray Edwards and Mathias Kiwanuka.
LINEBACKERS: Akin Ayodele, Keith Bulluck, Kevin Burnett, Dhani Jones, Kirk Morrison, Julian Peterson, Matt Roth, Takeo Spikes, Jason Taylor, Mike Vrabel, Stewart Bradley, Bobby Carpenter, Manny Lawson, Paul Posluszny, Ernie Sims and Stephen Tulloch.
CORNERBACKS: Nnamdi Asomugha, Phillip Buchanon, Chris Carr, Drayton Florence, Ellis Hobbs, Carlos Rogers, Lito Sheppard, Ike Taylor, Fabian Washington, Drew Coleman, Antonio Cromartie, Chris Houston, Johnathan Joseph, Dimitri Patterson, Josh Wilson and Eric Wright.
SAFETIES: Aaron Francisco, Ken Hamlin, Michael Lewis, Brandon McGowan, Quintin Mikell, Lawyer Milloy, Brodney Pool, Gerald Sensabaugh, Roy Williams, Gibril Wilson, Atari Bigby, Melvin Bullitt, Abram Elam, Dashon Goldson, Michael Huff, Dawan Landry, Danieal Manning, Bernard Pollard, Eric Weddle and Donte Whitner.
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
|Doug Benc/Getty Images|
|Jon Gruden said "anything is possible" when asked if his offense could be picked up quickly.|
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Jon Gruden gave a very interesting response when asked how quickly someone could pick up his offense.
"In my experience in the league, I haven't had the good fortune to have -- other than [Rich] Gannon -- a guy play a very long period of time," Gruden said. "The guy played three consecutive years for me. Brad Johnson went two consecutive years for me. We got Tim Rattay ready to play and he won a game for us in Cleveland. We brought him in during the midseason. Anything is possible if you put your heart in it and if you put your soul into it and you can believe it can happen."
Gruden then went on to compare Brett Favre's situation to receiver Jerry Rice landing in Oakland.
"This is an unprecedented situation, at least in my opinion," Gruden said. "I was in Oakland when we got Jerry Rice. That was similar to this from the standpoint that he was probably the best receiver to ever play. He switched zip codes, but he didn't change houses. He changed colors. I used to spend more time talking about how Jerry feels in a silver hat.
Gruden's offense has been hailed as one of the league's most complicated. But it doesn't sound like that would scare Gruden away from Favre.
"Everybody says our offense is like Greek -- it's hard to figure out and hard to write," Gruden said. "Well, Bruce Gradkowski started as a rookie, OK? [Jeff] Garcia went in and went to the Pro Bowl in his first year. Brad Johnson went to a Pro Bowl and won a world title as a first-year quarterback. Cadillac [Williams] was the Rookie of the Year. Michael Clayton did good as a rookie. Arron Sears started as a rookie. I get tired [of hearing] how hard it is. It's demanding now, especially in training camp because we're trying to get our defense ready for a lot of things, too. We're not just running our offense. We're running the Cleveland Browns offense. We're running the Minnesota Vikings running attack so we get some familiarity with their schemes. Anything is possible, in my opinion, if you have a group of guys that are committed to getting it done."