Tampa Bay made several roster moves Wednesday, the most significant being the re-signing of quarterback Jason Garrett, who spent the offseason, training camp and half of the preseason with the Bucs.
A 12th-year veteran, Garrett has started nine out of the 40 games he’s played in as a member of the Dallas Cowboys (1993-1999) and the New York Giants (2000-2003). He’s compiled a 6-3 record as a starter and has completed 56.1 percent of his pass attempts and thrown for 2,042 yards and tossed 11 touchdowns and five interceptions.
After spending most of his time with the Bucs as a mentor for second-year signal caller Chris Simms, Garrett, who didn’t see any action in preseason and received limited reps in camp, was released on August 31.
Ironically, Garrett served as a color commentator for Fox for Tampa Bay’s game against New Orleans last Sunday, and his familiarity with Bucs head coach Jon Gruden’s system led to the team’s decision to sign him.
“We thought he did a heck of a job in the broadcast booth so we thought we’d bring him in,” Gruden said of Garrett. “Honestly, Chris Simms is doubtful for the game and out of respect for that position we felt it was necessary to bring a guy back who knows our stuff.”
When Simms, who started the game against the Saints, went down in the first quarter with a left shoulder sprain, the Bucs obviously didn’t have to look far to find Garrett.
“Right after the game,” Garrett said when asked when the Bucs approached him about re-signing. “After the game I was visiting with some of the players and coaches. I was waiting to go to the airport and everybody was getting on the bus. So they started talking about the possibility of me coming back because they didn’t know how severe Chris’ injury was. It was a little bit different, it certainly was.”
Simms, who had his left arm in a sling while out on the practice field on Wednesday, probably won’t practice this week, which means Brad Johnson will be QB Brian Griese’s backup while Garrett serves as the third-string (emergency) signal caller on Monday night in St. Louis.
“Right now it’s Jason (taking scout-team reps),” said Gruden. “Chris is unable to throw, but he is getting better. He feels much better today than he did yesterday. There are some good signs, but it doesn’t look like he’s going to be able to throw anytime soon.”
BUCS MAKE MORE ROSTER MOVES:
In addition to signing QB Jason Garrett, the Bucs claimed wide receiver Adrian Madise off of waivers Wednesday.
Madise, who entered the NFL in 2003 as a fifth-round pick of the Denver Broncos, appeared in 11 regular season games and one postseason contest during his rookie campaign, catching two passes for 10 yards. He made an instant impact as a return specialist, averaging 27.4 yards per return in ’03. The Broncos released the 5-foot-11, 215-pound Madise Monday.
“We signed Adrian Madise, a wide receiver who was formerly with the Denver Broncos, a guy we think is a pretty good young prospect who we want to look at,” said Bucs head coach Jon Gruden. “We re-signed Jason Garrett, quarterback. We’re happy to have those two guys with us.”
To make room for Garrett and Madise on their active roster, the Bucs released wide receivers Marcus Knight and Derrick Lewis.
Tampa Bay also made two practice squad moves, signing WR Kevin Youngblood and releasing defensive lineman Isaac Hilton.
Youngblood entered the NFL as an undrafted free with the Atlanta Falcons last spring. He was released by the Falcons on June 11. At Clemson, Youngblood caught 142 passes for 1,713 yards and six touchdowns.
Hilton had originally joined the Bucs’ practice squad on September 7.
GRIESE READY TO MAKE FIRST START AS A BUC:
Quarterback Brian Griese took his first reps as Tampa Bay’s starting quarterback Wednesday.
Griese, a seventh-year veteran, will make the 57th start of his pro career against the St. Louis Rams on Monday night in place of Chris Simms, who is sidelined with a left shoulder sprain.
“I’m excited,” said Griese. “It’s a great opportunity for me as an individual, but more importantly, it’s a great opportunity for our team. I’ve been telling everybody we are on a one-game winning streak. That’s something to get excited about. Hopefully, we can use the way we played and the way we finished in New Orleans to have some momentum going into Monday night.”
Griese, who completed 16-of-19 passes for 194 yards and tossed one touchdown in place of Simms and en route to a 20-17 win over the Saints last Sunday, said he is ready to make his first start as a Buc.
“You always have to get ready,” said Griese. “I don’t care if you are the starter or the backup. You know you are one play away. You always hear about that, but it takes a lot of discipline to prepare yourself each and every week like you are going to play, and then not be able to go out there and perform and show that you are ready all of the time. When you do get your opportunity, you have to make sure you’re ready for it, otherwise you missed that opportunity and you may not get another one.”
Ironically, Griese made his first regular season starts with the Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins on the same stage — Monday Night Football.
“I love it,” Griese said of playing on Monday Night Football. “I think you talk with guys around the league and it’s a special night because your peers are watching you. I’ve had some great times on Monday Night Football. I am looking forward to another one this week.”
Griese said Monday night’s game against St. Louis is big for a lot of reasons.
“It’s a great opportunity for me, but more importantly, it’s a great opportunity for our team to build momentum off of last week,” said Griese. “We are in hole right now. We’re still in a hole. We’re 1-4, but we do have some momentum and it is important that we build on that.”
BROOKS, QUARLES AND RICE HELD OUT OF PRACTICE:
On Wednesday, Tampa Bay held the first of four practices this week in preparation for the St. Louis Rams, whom the Bucs will face on Monday Night Football.
But the Bucs were without linebacker Derrick Brooks and defensive end Simeon Rice for their first workout. Both players were excused from Wednesday’s practice for different reasons.
“We excused Derrick Brooks from practice today,” said Bucs head coach Jon Gruden. “He had a personal matter; he’ll be back tomorrow. Simeon Rice was held out today with a migraine headache. He’ll be back tomorrow.”
Middle LB Shelton Quarles, who injured his quadricep during the first quarter of Sunday’s game in New Orleans, also missed practice.
“He’s still a little bit sore,” Gruden said of Quarles. “We gave him an extra day’s rest today for the most part, although he took part in the walk-throughs. He tells me he’ll be ready to go and I know when the juices start flowing he’ll be there for us.”
Should Quarles be unable to go on Monday night, backup MLB Jeff Gooch, who notched nine tackles against the Saints in Quarles’ place, will start on Monday night.
“It’s hard to believe we ever let him out of here,” Gruden said of Gooch. “He does a great job on special teams. He does a great job going into the game as a middle linebacker. He’s just a heck of a football player. And he’s a great guy. I thought the G-Men came through last week — [Brian] Griese and Ian Gold and Jeff Gooch.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
Head coach Jon Gruden on how the Bucs defense has had success against the Rams’ potent offense:
“Well, we’ve had success ourselves. We’ve been high-flying ourselves on defense. It’s a great battle, certainly. We feel like we’ve established ourselves over the years as a high-flying defense. It’s been a real good battle. The Rams are spectacular on offense and it will be a great challenge for us, obviously, on their home field.”
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