Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sam Bradford

What if Bucs don't draft a QB?

February, 10, 2015
Feb 10
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TAMPA, Fla. -- It is widely assumed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will use the No. 1 overall pick in the draft on a quarterback.

Bradford
Bradford
The only question seems to be whether it will be Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota. But what if the Bucs aren’t enamored with either quarterback? What if the Bucs don’t draft a quarterback?

I think that’s unlikely, but somewhat possible. Let’s say the Bucs aren’t sold on Mariota or Winston. They could trade down a few spots or stay put. In either scenario, they would be positioned to land a pass-rusher.

Randy Gregory or Leonard Williams could make big impacts as outside rushers. And we all know the Bucs could use a strong outside rusher to pair with defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.

But, if the Bucs go the defensive end route, they wouldn’t be addressing quarterback. I don’t think going through another season with Josh McCown and Mike Glennon is something the Bucs want to do.

There is another decent option out there. In fact, it might be a better option than Mariota or Winston. St. Louis’ Sam Bradford could be available.

The Bucs could sign Bradford and then draft a pass-rusher. Bradford is a known commodity. When healthy, he’s done some good things. He already has plenty of experience and wouldn’t face a big learning curve like the rookies.

Maybe the best route for the Bucs would be to sign Bradford and draft a pass-rusher.

Rams vs. Buccaneers preview

September, 12, 2014
9/12/14
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It's tough to call the second game of the season a "must-win" situation. But that might not be far off what the St. Louis Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are facing this week.

Both teams are coming off embarrassing losses that could set the tone for disastrous seasons. But a victory in Week 2 could save a season -- at least for the moment.

ESPN Rams reporter Nick Wagoner and Buccaneers reporter Pat Yasinskas take a look at this matchup:

Yasinskas: Nick, let's cut right to the chase. Are the Rams as bad as they looked against the Vikings in the opener?

Wagoner: I don't think the Rams are as bad as they were in Week 1, but I can understand why some might view it that way. That isn't to say this team just had an off-day and is about to string 15 wins together. The issue in Week 1 boiled down to the Rams failing to do the things they believe they will do well this year. Namely, this is a team built to run the ball to set up play-action on offense and dominate defensively, but they didn't control the line of scrimmage well enough on either side of the ball to do that. On paper, this looked like an offensive line that could be really good if everyone is healthy -- but even healthy, it looked like an aging group unable to block basic four-man rushes.

Still, I expect the Rams to be more competitive this week, so long as they have veteran quarterback Shaun Hill back from a quad injury.

I suppose the best option now is to redirect back at you: The Bucs disappointed in Week 1 against a backup quarterback, and either way, they're going to see another this week against the Rams. Are they as bad as they showed against the Panthers? How do they bounce back?

Yasinskas: The Bucs were horrible offensively for more than three quarters. Their defense, which is supposed to be a strong point, wasn't much better against Carolina backup Derek Anderson. There weren't a lot of good things to come out of the opener, and I'm not trying to make it out to be more than it was. But the Bucs did score 14 points in the fourth quarter, and they made it a game. It took a long time, but their offense finally showed some rhythm in the fourth and they had a chance to win at the end. Maybe this offense isn't that good, or maybe it just took some time to get things going in the right direction.

I know hopes were high with Sam Bradford, and that all changed with his injury. How much of a difference will it make if Hill is able to play?

Wagoner: Let's be honest here: It's not like the Rams are choosing from a quarterback trio of Elway, Marino and Montana. But of the three they have on the roster, it's pretty clear Hill gives them the best chance to win at this point. He's a steady hand and actually got off to a pretty good start against the Vikings last week before a dropped screen pass and a bad throw that resulted in an interception just before the half. For what it's worth, Jeff Fisher said Hill was trying to throw that ball away but couldn't get it out of bounds because of the quad.

Either way, the Rams need Hill under center because the options behind him -- Austin Davis and Case Keenum -- simply aren't going to get the job done. Of course, it won't matter who is under center if the offensive line doesn't perform better than it did the past week. That group has to give Hill time to throw and open some holes in the run game for this offense to have any chance of success against that Tampa defense.

Speaking of that defense, Lovie Smith once coordinated the group in St. Louis, and we all have a pretty good idea of what he likes to do. But now that he's back with the Bucs as the head coach, what are some wrinkles he's bringing to the table, and how good can that group be with guys such as Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David in the system?

Yasinskas: McCoy and David are two excellent cornerstones around which to build the defense. But as we found out against Carolina, the Bucs need more than that. The key to a Smith defense is getting pressure from the front four, and the Bucs didn't do that against the Panthers. They came up with one sack (by McCoy) and got no pressure on the outside. Defensive ends Adrian Clayborn and Michael Johnson have talent, but they have to be more productive for Smith's defense to really work. If the defense gets pressure, the turnovers will flow. If it doesn't get pressure, the defense will be nothing more than ordinary. McCoy and David are the stars of the defense, but the Bucs need Clayborn and Johnson to really make things click.

Tampa Bay's offensive line is a huge question, and the Bucs might be without injured guard Logan Mankins. Like any quarterback, Josh McCown is going to struggle if he's pressured. Are the Rams capable of putting a lot of pressure on McCown? If so, that will stall Tampa Bay's offense.

Wagoner: The strength of the Rams' defense is certainly found in the front four and the pass rush in general. Of course, that wasn't all that evident this past week against Minnesota. The Vikings only allowed one sack, and that came because of a botched snap. But Minnesota had a good game plan and made it a point to get the ball out quickly, which negated the Rams' pass rush. In fact, Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel averaged the fewest air yards per attempt of any quarterback in Week 1.

The Bucs know exactly what the Rams' pass rush can do after Robert Quinn gave them all kinds of headaches in the past year's meeting. But the Rams have to be better in coverage on underneath stuff if they want their pass rush to take off as it should.

McCown had some success throwing against the Rams last year when he was with the Bears, and the Bucs have a couple big, physical receivers on the outside. If things are going how the Bucs want, what type of challenges do they present to the Rams' defense?

Yasinskas: Let's assume for a second the offensive line plays a decent game. If that's the case, McCown will have time to throw, and he has some nice targets to work with. Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins are all at least 6-foot-5. That creates all sorts of matchup problems for a secondary. Evans and Seferian-Jenkins are only rookies, but they can be impact players. Jackson is a proven receiver who probably doesn't get the recognition he deserves.

But like I said, the offensive line will be the key. If McCown has time to throw, he can be an efficient quarterback. If he doesn't have time, he'll show why he's been a backup most of his career.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers recently sent out their season-in-review package and one thing stood out to me.

There was a section in which quarterback Mike Glennon's numbers from his first 13 starts were compared to those of quarterbacks drafted between 2010 and 2013. Glennon came out of this one looking very good.

Glennon's 83.9 passer rating trailed only Robert Griffin III (104.2) and Russell Wilson (94.9). Glennon was well ahead of players such as Cam Newton, Andrew Luck and Sam Bradford in passer rating.

Glennon's other stats compared favorably to Griffin and Wilson. Glennon completed 247 of 416 passes for 2,608 yards with 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

In his first 13 starts, Griffin completed 233 of 351 passes for 2,902 yards with 18 touchdowns and four interceptions. Wilson completed 201 of 317 passes for 2,492 yards with 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Glennon’s stats might have gone unnoticed largely because the Bucs went 4-12. But the fact is his rookie year was comparable to some of the best rookie showings in recent years.

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