As August rolls on, the Buccaneers are looking forward to Saturday night’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. I am going to be honest: I do not watch many preseason games. It simply does not interest me. As much as I love the Buccaneers, individual positional battles between second and third stringers are not my bread and butter. That said, I am fascinated by these last two games, because of the major void that has been created at the QB position. The timing of Josh Freeman’s injury could not be worse from an organizational standpoint. Although word is Freeman will be ready to go against the Browns in week one, there is always a chance that he will have some sort of setback on his road to recovery. With only two weeks to pick up a veteran backup that would right the ship should Freeman be unable to complete the 16 game schedule in 2010. If Freeman is unable to go, it appears the frontrunner for the opening day start would be Josh Johnson. Behind him on the depth chart are 2nd year QB Rudy Carpenter and undrafted rookie Jevan Snead. All three will see significant action against the Jaguars and Texans. Let’s take a quick look at this mini-battle and see what the Buccaneers currently have at the Quarterback position without Freeman at the helm.
Josh Johnson: This is Johnson’s best chance to influence the coaching staff and show his ability as an NFL backup. If he performs well over the next two weeks against opposing starting defenses, then Johnson will most likely remain with the team for the foreseeable future. Johnson’s biggest two flaws in my opinion are his pocket presence and his ability to take care of the football. He often looks uncomfortable under center and certainly looks to scramble at any opportunity. He has to learn to take care of the football better, (see
Rudy Carpenter: Certainly the wild card in this battle. Claimed off of the Cowboys practice squad, Carpenter has only appeared in one preseason game prior to 2010. That said, he was a 3 year starter at
Jevan Snead: Snead is clearly a long shot to stay on the roster for the long term. The former Ole Miss standout has struggled mightily since his stellar sophomore season, when he threw for over 2700 yards with a TD:INT ratio of 26:13. These are very solid numbers for a sophomore in the SEC, and many were touting him as a future first-round draft pick. However he was unable to throw with a great deal of accuracy at any point, and following a disappointing junior season, no team took a chance on him on draft day. The Bucs scooped him up for depth, and now after being re-acquired he will have one more chance to make an impact.
What does Bucs Nation think about this trio? There doesn’t appear to be a lot of quality here, which is a major cause for concern. Starting all 16 games is a very difficult task for an NFL QB, (The last time a Buccaneer QB accomplished this was in 2003) and it is important to know what you have in your depth chart. Freeman holds all the keys at this point, and keeping him on the field is crucial if the Buccaneers hope to enjoy any long term success.