The Bucs have essentially been trying to replace quarterback Ryan Griffin for six seasons now. But all the former Tulane star does is survive year after year.
The 2021 season isn’t any different.
Once again the Buccaneers have a new quarterback in the building in former Florida star Kyle Trask, who was drafted in the second round. But whether he’s an active member of the 53-man group or a practice squad player, it’s not a good idea to bet against Griffin.
Bucs QBs Tom Brady, Ryan Griffin, Blaine Gabbert – Photo by: USA Today
“I talked to the Bucs before I re-signed and they kind of told me the gist,” Griffin said. “They wanted to bring another guy in – draft a guy – and they were probably going to re-sign Blaine [Gabbert]. So I knew what I was getting myself into.”
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians told the media last week that the quarterback room is getting full and one may have to go.
“That will be a tough decision with how we go,” Arians said. “We’ll see how that goes. We’ve only had two in the past and one on the practice squad, so we will just see how that plays out.”
Not many quarterbacks have survived in Tampa Bay as long as Griffin has – albeit as a backup – and that fact isn’t lost on Griffin. In fact, if Griffin makes the team this offseason, he’ll be the longest-tenured quarterback in Bucs history at seven seasons. That’s longer than Vinny Testaverde, Trent Dilfer or Steve Deberg, all of whom spent five seasons in Tampa Bay.
“I actually ran into [Vinny] Testaverde this offseason at a golf tournament and talked to him a little bit about that,” Griffin said. “On how it has shaken out and how I’ve been here a really long time. I’m fortunate to be here this long. I’d love to be out there starting every game, but it is what it is. You play the cards you are dealt.”
The cards the organization were dealt last season included pulling an ace out of the deck. Griffin told the media on Tuesday that the impact Tom Brady had on the team was felt immediately.
“I think before even winning the Super Bowl you could tell as soon as we signed Tom [Brady] everybody was like, ‘Alright, I have to be on top of my game because I don’t want to let Tom down,” Griffin said. “‘I know Tom is going for seven.’ I know obviously I want to win a Super Bowl and that’s where the standard is, but then you add Tom. And there’s really only so many guys that you can put on a team and everyone feels like, ‘Alright, pressure. I need to perform because everybody is going to be watching because we have this guy. I know if I perform well he’s going to take care of his job.’ Outside of Tom, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning – if you add a guy like that it’s just an instant accountability factor [and] everybody has to be on top of their game.
Bucs QB Ryan Griffin – Photo by: USA Today
“And you saw that right away. For an NFL team with a bunch of grown men to be able to look up to that one guy because they’ve seen him do it. There are only so many guys that have done it. Obviously he’s done it the most – winning that many Super Bowls. It just has an interesting effect in the locker room and it reminded me of when I was in New Orleans with Drew. Just everybody knew, ‘I’ve got to take care of my business and I know Tom’s got us.’”
While Brady and assumed No. 2 QB Blaine Gabbert have been absent from the Bucs OTAs, Griffin is working with his young teammates during the offseason at One Buc Place.
Will it be enough to stick around? Griffin doesn’t appear to be too worried about the future.
“I think it’s big with the guys that I get to work with because those are the guys I’ll be working with in the preseason,” Griffin said. “Obviously, you want to put out the best film you can, so working with these guys I mean I know a lot these guys will be guys that I’m throwing to so I need to build a rapport with them. I don’t want to go in cold because that’s where you put your best foot forward. I just want to be prepared.”
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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