The Buccaneers have not committed to a name for their starting quarterback in 2022. Tom Brady isn’t coming back (and shouldn’t). Kyle Trask still has a ways to go. And the other name being tossed around in the past few days is not under contract for this upcoming season.
That name being Blaine Gabbert. Yes, the name that many in the media and throughout the fan base cringe at the thought of him taking snaps as the Buccaneers starter at quarterback.
It started this week when head coach Bruce Arians told the Tampa Bay Times that Gabbert can most certainly lead a team as good as the Bucs are.
“People may not like the overall record, but Blaine had eight head coaches and eight coordinators his first eight years. He beat Jacksonville their best year and beat Tennessee their big year for us in Arizona. And he’s been in the system now. I don’t have a problem there and let Kyle continue to grow. Either one. [Gabbert] has never played with a team this good. He’s got all the respect in the locker room that he can have.”
And he’s right. He hasn’t played on a team like the Buccaneers. It’s a very small sample size but look at what he did against the Lions in the second half of the Lions game in 2020. Aside from the stats that were noted in the Times piece, look at the actually highlights of his passes to the team’s starters like the touchdown throw to Rob Gronkowski, an out to Mike Evans, and a crossing throw to Chris Godwin while also getting a quick pass out to Tyler Johnson on a wide receiver screen. Those were all the same type of throws people would say “man it’s so good to have Tom Brady recognize those types of coverages and make those throws.”
But it was Gabbert making those same type of throws, not Brady. And if it weren’t for the reserves across the offensive line dismantling a bit, Gabbert may have had a better stat line than 9-for-15.
Then there is also the other side of potentially starting a guy like Gabbert in 2022. Veteran NFL insider Chris Mortensen stated earlier Thursday that if the Bucs are able to (big IF) somehow get Deshaun Watson from Houston, Gabbert can play filler while Watson serves an inevitable suspension from the league.
That Bruce Arians professed his belief in Blaine Gabbert again is no surprise, especially with the @Bucs roster.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) February 23, 2022
Now, here's your hypothetical to ponder: The Bucs take a shot at Deshaun Watson and believe Gabbert can keep them competitive if Watson has to serve any suspension.
But then you have to wonder, if you are putting Gabbert on a pedestal let’s say, wouldn’t that essentially drive up the price on a quarterback that many like to call a career backup? Or perhaps Arians is trying to do Gabbert a favor by negotiating for him in public. Regardless, Gabbert starting for the Buccaneers in 2022 shouldn’t be laughed at nor should it be considered so far-fetched.
Throw away his win-loss record (because that shouldn’t be how ANY quarterback is judged anyways) and let him play in a system that has players very much capable of doing their part. Look at how he gets frustrated with the offensive linemen in preseason games, his receivers for not running routes properly, etc. He knows the system, he knows what the players around him should be doing and where they need to be. He can potentially lead a competent team, and the Bucs could very well being giving him the opportunity to do so.