Tampa Bay's Joe Hamilton defied the odds when he sent Ryan Leaf packing in Tampa. Hamilton is listed at 5-foot-10, but he's closer to 5-9, same as Doug Flutie.
He also was the most consistent quarterback in the Bucs' camp among starter Brad Johnson, ex-starter Shaun King and Leaf, a former No. 1 pick. Still, Hamilton remains third on the depth chart, but he is a valuable No. 3 quarterback because he will run the Bucs' scout team.
This year, Tampa Bay's schedule features a handful of quarterbacks with
running skills, starting with Sunday's opener against the Cowboys' Quincy
Carter. Yes, Hamilton did run a little option at Georgia Tech and beat the former Georgia quarterback when they played each other.
In fact, the Bucs' first-half schedule is loaded with QBs who can do
almost as much damage with their legs as their arms. So, Hamilton also will
play the roles of the Eagles' Donovan McNabb (Sept. 16), the Vikings'
Daunte Culpepper (Sept. 30 and Oct. 28), the Titans' Steve McNair (Oct. 14),
the Steelers' Kordell Stewart (Oct. 21) and later the Saints' Aaron Brooks
(Dec. 23). The Packers' Brett Favre (Oct. 7 and Nov. 4) can move around, too.
"When you're facing those kind of guys, you bet it helps to have a guy
like Joe," said Monte Kiffin, the Bucs' defensive coordinator.