Copyright 2007 PewterReport.com
This story is intended to be read by Pewter Insider subscribers only. Sharing of the PI content with non-subscribers of this service can result in cancellation of your subscription to the service and/or further actions by the publishers.â€¨â€¨Here are some things that caught my attention this week:
FAB 1. He’s a young Buccaneers quarterback who struggled in the first 11 starts of his career. He lost his last four starts, throwing some horrific interceptions in those defeats. His confidence was shaken and his performances were getting so bad that you were waiting for Tampa Bay to consider making a switch at quarterback.
No, I’m not talking about Bruce Gradkowski.
I’m talking about Chris Simms.
Yes, Gradkowski’s first 11 NFL starts could be categorized the exact same way, but Simms is coming off a 0-3 mark as a starter in 2006 with just one touchdown and seven interceptions before succumbing to a ruptured spleen that ended his season. Those three terrible games were prefaced by a poor showing in the Bucs’ playoff loss to Washington during the 2005 season in which Simms threw two costly picks and had four passes deflected at the line of scrimmage in a 17-10 home postseason defeat.
Shaun King had better stats and a better record through his first 16 starts than Simms has.
Simms needs to get better in a hurry – like this year.
At first glance, Simms and Gradkowski are night and day. Simms is 6-foot-4, while Gradkowski is barely 6-foot-1. The tall, light-skinned blonde is a lefty, while the bald guy with Italian genes is right-handed. Simms has a cannon for an arm and a prolonged delivery. Gradkowski’s arm is not nearly as strong, but he gets rid of the ball a bit quicker.
Look deeper and there are some real similarities between the two quarterbacks. Including the 2005 Wild Card playoff game against Washington, Simms, who is entering his fifth year in the NFL, has started a total of 16 games. Gradkowski, who is coming off his rookie campaign, has almost caught up to Simms by recording 11 starts.
Both quarterbacks have losing records with Simms owning a 7-9 career mark as a starter, while Gradkowski went 3-8 last year as a rookie starter. Neither quarterback has outstanding passing statistics at this stage of their careers. Simms completed 291-of-492 passes (59.1 percent) for 3,087 yards with 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions and has been sacked 43 times. Gradkowski has completed 177-of-328 passes (54 percent) for 1,661 yards with nine touchdowns and nine interceptions and has been sacked 25 times.
Breaking down the statistics, Gradkowski throws .81 touchdowns per game. Over a 16-game season, that would compute to 12.96 TDs, which is just slightly better than Simms, who has thrown 12 scoring strikes over a 16-game span. But when it comes to interceptions, Gradkowski has the exact same mark of .81, compared to Simms, who has thrown 17 picks over 16 contests, which computes to 1.06 interceptions per game.
Statistically speaking, the two young quarterbacks are close. Yet there is all of this excitement over Simms and his potential, despite the fact that he has four years worth of experience in Jon Gruden’s offense and has yet to develop into a sure-fire, starting quarterback.
If Simms had reached that stage of his career then Jon Gruden would not have had to trade for Jake Plummer and sign Jeff Garcia in free agency this offseason.
There are some within the organization that wonder if Simms will ever put it all together. He has received quality coaching from Gruden for four years and from quarterbacks coaching guru Paul Hackett for the last two seasons. Last year’s atrocious start by Simms was alarming to players, the coaches and the front office.
Simms is very well liked by everyone in the Bucs organization, and they are pulling for him to step up and be the quarterback that he has the talent to become. At the same time, having covered Trent Dilfer here professionally when I started with Pewter Report (known as Buccaneer Magazine) back in 1994, there are some Dilferesque traits that Simms possesses. Simms beats himself up too much mentally over his mistakes, throws too many interceptions and seems to lack the moxie and intangibles that elite quarterbacks possess.
As for Gradkowski, the rookie quarterback’s play was bashed by fans and he was certainly overwhelmed at the end of the season, especially in games at Dallas and Pittsburgh. However, the organization still has faith in Gradkowski’s chances of developing into a good NFL quarterback. The Bucs see Gradkowski as a young Jeff Garcia-type, and Gruden has already gone on record as saying that Garcia’s presence in Tampa Bay will be very positive for Gradkowski’s development.
Don’t think Gradkowski will ever amount to much? You might have thought the same thing about players like cornerbacks Ronde Barber, Brian Kelly and Dwight Smith. Each player was vilified and called a bust by some fans and some in the media during the early stages of their careers yet developed over time with more experience.
Gradkowski deserves more than just one year – a rookie year with a bunch of poor performers around him – before we can truly judge if he is a player who is capable of starting one day. Remember how many passes – and touchdowns – his receivers dropped? Of course Gradkowski missed his fair share of open receivers, too.
Do I think this guy has what it takes to be a Pro Bowler? No. I haven’t seen any signs that he can elevate his game that much. Do I think he can become an NFL starter? Perhaps. I’m willing to give him the time necessary for so that he can develop and show what he can do.
Gradkowski has the advantage of time over Simms, whose time is running out. The fact is that no one knows if Gradkowski or Simms will stand and deliver this year or any time soon and become the Bucs starter. That’s a big reason why Garcia was brought in.
If Plummer does show up to training camp, which would surprise the organization, don’t be surprised if Simms is put on the trading block. He has the physical tools to excel in an offense like Mike Martz’s that has a real vertical element to it as opposed to Gruden’s West Coast offense, which is more of a three-step drop, rhythm-based attack.
Entering his fifth year in Gruden’s offense with a year’s worth of starts under his belt, Simms should be further along as a quarterback than he is. The Bucs don’t know how much further he can go.
FAB 2. We’ve all heard the talk about the Bucs being interested in Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson and Wisconsin left tackle Joe Thomas. Tampa Bay also has a bit of a fancy for Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams with Bucs defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin gushing about him at his Pro Day workout.
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden is trying his best to create a smokescreen by openly talking about Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson and quarterbacks JaMarcus Russell (LSU) and Brady Quinn (Notre Dame). Gruden even talks about Louisville defensive tackle Amobi Okoye, whom he coached at the Senior Bowl in January.
It is believed that Johnson is atop the Bucs’ draft board followed by Thomas. But which player is positioned after Thomas remains a bit of a mystery at this date, and truth be told, Tampa Bay may not know for sure, either. That person could be Michigan defensive tackle Alan Branch, a player whose name has not really been connected to the Buccaneers – until now.
But before I explain the merits of Tampa Bay targeting Branch with the fourth overall pick, let’s discuss the smokescreens Gruden has created. Gruden knows he has to win this year to stay in Tampa Bay and that precludes the Bucs taking Russell or Quinn – even if Gruden falls in love with either player. Although the team signed quarterback Jeff Garcia, and a rookie quarterback wouldn’t have to start right away, Gruden needs his first-round pick to be an impact player in 2007. If Russell or Quinn is playing on Sundays in Tampa Bay, the Bucs are likely losing and Gruden will soon be looking for work elsewhere.
Yes, arguments can be made that the Bucs need to find a quarterback for the future as Garcia has one or two years left in his career, and neither Chris Simms nor Bruce Gradkowski has solidified their standing as Tampa Bay’s eventual starter. And who knows when and if Jake Plummer will ever play a down for the Bucs? Just remember that the guys running this draft – Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen – may not be around to the see the future if 2007 doesn’t go well, so why draft a quarterback for the next regime?
As for Peterson, the Bucs just don’t need to draft another running back in the top 5 when they just drafted Cadilac Williams at No. 5 back in 2005. If the Bucs drafted Peterson it could easily be viewed as the team having a lack of confidence in Williams, whose play and statistics regressed last year, partially due to the unstable play along the offensive line and at quarterback.
I’m not yet sold on Williams becoming an elite NFL running back, but I have not heard any wavering from the team’s perspective regarding Williams’ status with the team, either. If I had heard any negative buzz about Williams then I could possibly see Tampa Bay seriously considering Peterson, but it just doesn’t make much sense. Plus, I don’t like the fact that he’s an upright runner coming off a collarbone injury. Talk about the chances of that becoming a recurring injury – I think it is a big concern.
Do you think Gruden would like to feature two running backs? Gruden wouldn’t mind a 1-2 punch … but not a 1A-1B punch.
This is a guy who is enamored with quarterbacks and big wide receivers. This is a guy who had his rookie quarterback throw the ball 53 times into the wind up in New York last year. Do you see Chucky turning into Chuck Noll and running the ball 35-40 times per game with Williams and Peterson to keep both of them happy campers? I didn’t think so, either.
Besides, a quality backup running back can be found elsewhere in the draft. Tampa Bay is quite fond of Nebraska’s Brandon Jackson and Florida State’s Lorenzo Booker, who are both great fits for Gruden’s offense. Those guys are mid-round options.
Investing the team’s first-round pick in Adams would make sense, but something tells me he becomes a Detroit Lion on draft day.
Tampa Bay certainly has some familiarity with Okoye from the Senior Bowl and he is full of upside because he is only 19 years old, but if you look at his production, he is essentially a one-year wonder. He’s tallied 121 tackles, 23 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks in 48 career games. In 2006, he recorded 55 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and eight sacks.
Branch, who is a junior entry, has played in 37 games, with 61 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and has recorded nine career sacks. Branch played nose tackle last year for the Wolverines, notching 25 tackles, six tackles for loss and two sacks while drawing double teams. In 2005, the 6-foot-5, 330-pounder played some defensive end and defensive tackle, recording 31 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and five sacks.
If the past is any indication, the 6-foot-2, 302-pound Okoye is the right type of player to play under tackle in the one-gap, Tampa 2 scheme deployed by defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. But Pewter Report has uncovered some clues that could lead to Branch leap-frogging Okoye on the Bucs’ draft board, even though Tampa Bay has typically shied away from massive defensive tackles weighing in 330-pound range in the past.
What are the clues? Well consider that Bucs general manager Bruce Allen drafted former USC defensive tackle Darrell Russell, who has some similarities to Branch in terms of size and athletic ability, in Oakland in 1997. Gruden coached Russell from 1998-2001 and then he and Allen brought him Tampa Bay in 2004 for a brief stint with the Buccaneers during the summer until he violated the team rules he was told to adhere to after being reinstated into the league after drug-related arrests.
Gruden told Pewter Report at the Senior Bowl that he wanted to see the defense add some size and he lamented over the fact that the Bucs gave up a nine-minute drive to Baltimore to open the season and a nine-minute drive to Seattle to end the 2006 campaign. The Bucs couldn’t stop the run.
So when does an offensive-minded coach like Gruden care so much about defense? When he’s watching the other team play keep-away with the ball and his defense can’t get the ball back for his offense.
Branch’s unique blend of size and strength was on display last year at Michigan where the Wolverines led the entire nation in run defense, holding opponents to just 43.4 yards per game and 1.87 touchdowns per game. Branch is the only defensive tackle in the draft that is anywhere close to 6-foot-6, 330 pounds, possessing quick feet and good athleticism.
The fact that he’s bigger than the prototype defensive tackle won’t scare Gruden. In fact, it might appeal to him given his conversation with Pewter Report.
Also take into consideration that Pewter Report was told by a Bucs source at the Senior Bowl that nose tackle Chris Hovan was the defense’s best player in 2006 and could possibly be moved to under tackle in ‘07. In Tampa Bay’s quest to find a solid – if not dominating – tackle to play the three-technique, the Bucs could move Hovan over to under tackle, a position he played at Boston College and also with the Minnesota Vikings, and slide Branch in next to him at nose tackle. The tandem of both Branch and Hovan would be a force inside against the run, and Hovan’s high motor could likely generate between five and eight sacks per year if he was freed up to go one-on-one against guards.
Perhaps most importantly, don’t forget that defensive tackle is the Bucs’ number one need in the draft, and that this draft class is rather weak at the defensive tackle position. Yes, the Bucs could use a franchise left tackle, a premier defensive end and another wide receiver, but some of those positions were addressed in free agency (see left tackle Luke Petitgout and end Kevin Carter) and they aren’t the critical needs that exist at defensive tackle where only Hovan and Ellis Wyms are starting-caliber players.
Wide receiver and defensive end are positions that need to be stocked for the future, but with Simeon Rice, Greg Spires and Carter still on the roster, along with Joey Galloway, Michael Clayton, Ike Hilliard, Maurice Stovall and David Boston, the Bucs can get by in 2007 without having to draft an edge rusher or a pass catcher in the first round.
Throw in the fact that Allen and other members of the organization have interviewed Branch – an under-the-radar visit that hasn’t been publicized much – and it’s quite clear that the Bucs have an interest in him and the team wants to keep it on the down low.
Branch is certainly not a bulletproof prospect, though. Some NFL scouts view him as the second coming of John Henderson. Others say he might be the next Jimmy Kennedy.
Branch has had some weight and conditioning issues in the past, which is always worrisome with a Bucs team that practices and plays in 90-degree temperature from May-October. His conditioning would definitely need to improve if he became a Buccaneer as winter in Tampa can still be a bit humid and 80 degrees – a far cry from the freezing temperatures of Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Former Buc defensive end Dewayne White had conditioning problems during his rookie season, but quickly rounded into great shape. If Branch were drafted by Tampa Bay, working alongside the likes of pros like Hovan, outside linebacker Derrick Brooks and cornerback Ronde Barber should put him in the right frame of mind.
Branch also has some traits of immaturity, but it is hard for me tell if he is an immature person or just has some moments of off-field childishness. The following passage is from a story in the Detroit News:
"My favorite shows are cartoons," Branch said. "I am a little kid. If you want to hang out with me, you're going to have to sit down and watch some cartoons, because I watch them all day long. If you don't feel like doing it, don't come over to my house. I never grew out of that stage, I guess. I just love it. It's funny."
He occasionally taps into his inner kid with coloring books. Branch said he uses crayons and has done five books this year.
"It relaxes me," he said. "A lot of people don't think about the little things that make you happy. Just coloring, that was fun for us (as kids)."
His off-the-field nature can't be confused for the young man who takes the field for Michigan.
"If you ask anyone who knows me personally, they'll say I'm a cool, calm, collected guy, but when I get my pads on, I become a whole new person," Branch said. "I become this crazy guy that you don't expect from me."
I’ll admit it might sound a bit odd that Branch still colors in coloring books and watches cartoons. I’m sure the Bucs have investigated this already (you have … haven’t you, Bruce?) and either deemed it to be harmless or a red flag. I don’t know about this element of Branch’s character and how the Bucs view it – and likely won’t until after the draft.
One thing I will say is that Branch is a heck of a player who fills the team’s biggest need. Don’t forget that. If the Bucs want to get bigger along the defensive line, he’s the man for the job.
At least there wouldn’t be any problems with Branch getting in trouble in nightclubs. It sounds like he would rather be at home on a Friday or Saturday night watching Disney Channel or Nick at Nite before his 8:30 p.m. bedtime. Hopefully he would study his playbook during the commercials.
FAB 3. If defensive tackle is the number one draft need for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – and Pewter Report believes it is (along with some team sources) – center can’t be too far behind. Not only did the Buccaneers miss out on signing free agent Al Johnson, who went to Arizona for a lucrative, four-year, $17.5 million contract (that included $7 million in first-year compensation) that Tampa Bay felt uncomfortable matching, but the team also lost Sean Mahan, a guard who was viewed by some in the organization as being the center of the future.
Incumbent starter John Wade, 32, is still around, but the Bucs would really like to have a younger player step up and challenge him this year. Earlier in the offseason, the thinking was that Dan Buenning could be moved from left guard to center, and that may still happen as he is taking snaps at guard and center this offseason. But the Bucs will likely give new free agent acquisition Matt Lehr the opportunity to win the starting job away from Wade.
The 6-foot-2, 305-pound Lehr didn’t play center at Atlanta, but he did snap the ball while with the Dallas Cowboys. In fact,he was the Cowboys’ starting center for all 17 games in the 2003 season. He’s a tough, hard-nosed player whom the Bucs view as being a better center than a guard. The team may not even have Lehr compete for the guard position with Buenning and just concentrate on battling for the center spot with Wade first.
The Bucs were having some regret about losing Johnson in free agency, but feel more comfortable now that they have brought Lehr aboard for a much cheaper deal. Lehr signed a one-year contract with a base salary of $595,000 in addition to a $40,000 signing bonus. Due to the veteran cap exemption for players who sign one-year deals for the league minimum, Lehr only counts $475,000 against Tampa Bay’s 2007 salary cap.
The Buccaneers also targeted San Francisco free agent Jeremy Newberry, who signed a one-year deal with Oakland, in free agency, but missing out on him wasn’t viewed as much of a loss since he’s 31 and has battled knee injuries over the past several seasons.
In addition to Wade and Lehr, and possibly Buenning, Nick Mihlhauser is also in the mix. The 6-foot-3, 305-pound Mihlhauser joined the Bucs during the 2006 football season. It’s important to note that the Bucs really like a player when they sign him off of another team’s practice squad and place him on their own 53-man roster, and that’s exactly what Tampa Bay did with Mihlhauser, who originally entered the NFL with San Diego as an undrafted free agent.
The addition of Lehr frees the Bucs from having to select a center, such as USC’s Ryan Kalil in the second round. Kalil is considered the best center in this year’s draft. Tampa Bay also likes one of my personal favorites in this year’s draft, Boston College’s Josh Beekman, but Beekman is viewed as a guard who can play center instead of a pure center prospect.
FAB 4. Much to the surprise of many, including Pewter Report, Tampa Bay did not address the safety position in free agency. Michael Lewis, whom the team liked, was quickly signed by San Francisco once the free agent market opened. The six-year contract that included a $10 million signing bonus, was too rich for the Buccaneers, who are watching their spending this offseason and taking a very cap-conscience approach.
Tampa Bay had minimal interest in Mike Doss (Indianapolis) and Ken Hamlin (Seattle), who were two of the bigger names available in free agency, but the fact that both of those players were unsigned for weeks tells you that every NFL team, including the Buccaneers found holes in their game. Sometimes it’s important not to change just for the sake of change.
That appears to be the tactic that Tampa Bay took with the safety position this spring. Right or wrong, the Buccaneers felt that starting strong safety Jermaine Phillips, who recorded 124 tackles, nine pass breakups, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one sack in 2006, was just as talented as Lewis, Hamlin, Doss or Deon Grant, an overrated safety who replaced Hamlin in Seattle.
The Bucs believe that Phillips and Will Allen, the starter at free safety, weren’t coached to the max last year under the tutelage of Greg Burns, who was fired in January and replaced by Raheem Morris, who was the assistant defensive backs coach in 2005. Tampa Bay expects both Phillips and Allen to respond to Morris’ teachings, which is firmly based on technique, fundamentals, reaching certain landmarks on the gridiron and taking proper angles to the ball.
If it seems to you like Tampa Bay is putting an awful lot of faith in two underachieving safeties and a young, 30-year-old coach in Morris, that’s what it seems like to me, too. But what the Bucs’ lack of activity in free agency should tell you is that based on the team’s scouts and coaches, Phillips and Allen aren’t as bad as they showed in 2006 and the available free agents didn’t represent much of an upgrade.
What it should also tell you is that the safeties available in the upcoming draft are significantly better than the ones in free agency, too. LSU’s LaRon Landry and Florida’s Reggie Nelson are sure-fire first-rounders. The Bucs would love to have either player, but neither warrants a top 5 pick, and they will be long gone by the time Tampa Bay is on the clock at the top of the second round.
However, there are a couple of safeties that will be available in rounds 2-4 that will interest the Bucs, including Miami’s Brandon Meriweather, Virginia Tech’s Aaron Rouse, Syracuse’s Tanard Jackson, Texas’ Michael Griffin, Utah’s Eric Weddle and Oregon State’s Sabby Piscatelli. Morris coached Rouse, Weddle and Jackson at the Senior Bowl, while Tampa Bay has been hot for Piscatelli, a Florida native, since the East-West Shrine game.
After opting not to address the position in free agency, the safety that the Bucs pick up in the draft better be ready to start at some point in time during the 2007 season, just in case the magic that the team expects Morris to work on Phillips and Allen doesn’t work. If I’m picking, then Rouse, Weddle and Piscatelli are the three safeties I would consider the most.
FAB 5. Here are some things to hold you over until next time:
• First the Tampa Tribune was hot to trot on the notion that the Bucs should re-sign quarterback Tim Rattay. Now Fox NFL analyst Terry Bradshaw, who is a Louisiana Tech alum just like Rattay, is chiding the Bucs for not bringing him back. Here’s the facts, folks. Apparently neither the Tribune nor Bradshaw paid attention to Buccaneers training camp and the preseason. Rattay was awful and started the season as the third-string quarterback for a very, very good reason. The reason? He’s not very good! Bruce Gradkowski wasn’t handed the backup job. He earned it. A rookie sixth-round draft pick beat out an NFL veteran who happened to be the most experienced quarterback on the camp roster next to Jay Fiedler, who never played a down for the Buccaneers. Yes, Rattay came in and played well against Chicago and rallied the team, but could not produce a win despite having three key opportunities at the end of regulation and in overtime. The following week he helped beat a very bad Cleveland team before being ineffective against Seattle in the season finale. Yes, he wound up with an 88.2 QB rating and four touchdowns and two interceptions while playing in four games and starting two. But the Bucs went 1-3 in those games, and not only did the Buccaneers not sign him to be a backup, no other NFL team has, either. That should tell you something, folks. There are some teams that have absolutely awful quarterback situations, including Oakland, Cleveland and Minnesota and they aren’t interested in Rattay as a starter – or a backup. Very telling, indeed.
• Tampa Bay left tackle Anthony Davis was arrested last week on a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge in his hometown of Victoria, Virginia. From what the team has learned about the incident, the Bucs expect the charges to eventually be dropped. The arrest in no way jeopardizes Davis’ standing with the team. While Davis will get some reps at left guard during the offseason while Dan Buenning continues to rehab his knee, the Bucs still view Davis playing on the perimeter and he will likely be the team’s swing tackle this year. He will likely get reps at left and right tackle exclusively during training camp.
• PewterReport.com has learned of more college player visits. The Bucs have either met with or are scheduled to meet with Florida defensive lineman Ray McDonald, Auburn cornerback David Irons, Texas defensive end Tim Crowder, Wisconsin left tackle Joe Thomas, Michigan defensive tackle Alan Branch, Tennessee offensive lineman Arron Sears, Oregon wide receiver Jordan Kent, Hampton linebacker Justin Durant, New Mexico linebacker Quincy Black, Portland State linebacker Adam Hayward, Virginia Tech long snapper Nicholas Leeson, Kent State cornerback Usama Young, Kansas State kick returner Yamon Figurs, LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell and Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn.
• Is there some fire behind the smoke of Tampa Bay wanting to trade up with Detroit to land Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson? Perhaps. It’s no secret that Bucs head coach Jon Gruden is enamored with Johnson, a 6-foot-5 wide receiver, who has a rare combination of size, speed, hands and character. Tampa Bay also has an extra second-round pick to deal, courtesy of shipping Booger McFarland to Indianapolis. Other players that could be thrown into the deal include defensive ends Simeon Rice and Greg Spires, cornerback Brian Kelly or even quarterback Chris Simms. In addition to the Bucs simply wanting to draft Johnson, whom the organization views as a “can’t miss” prospect, there is some concern that the Falcons will try to trade up with either Detroit or Cleveland, who holds the third overall pick, for Johnson, who went to Georgia Tech, which resides in Atlanta. Perhaps part of Tampa Bay’s willingness to trade up to get Johnson is so that they won’t have to face him twice a year. Don’t expect the Bucs’ trade up to number two to happen unless Johnson is still on the board and Detroit is on the clock.
• I don’t think Shelton Quarles will be a Buccaneers linebacker for very much longer. Whether his departure becomes a retirement or simply a release, Quarles’ days in Tampa Bay appear to be numbered as the team is concerned about his health and wants to get a youth movement going at middle linebacker with former second-rounder Barrett Ruud or a 2007 draft pick leading the way. If you recall, I forecasted this move back in January. This isn’t about the Bucs’ salary cap as they are millions under the cap right now. This is about only having room for 53 players on the roster. Tampa Bay usually keeps six linebackers and Ruud, Derrick Brooks, Cato June, Ryan Nece and a draft pick make five players. Factor in Patrick Chukwurah, who is a linebacker-defensive end hybrid, and special teams ace Antoine Cash and that makes seven. Don’t think that Jon Gruden or Bruce Allen is being exceptionally cold-hearted about cutting Quarles, either. This kind of stuff happens with every NFL franchise. Unceremonious dumping of players isn’t fun to watch, but it is an unfortunate way of life in the NFL. Dallas did it to Emmitt Smith, San Francisco did it Jerry Rice, Buffalo did it to Thurman Thomas. Allen and Gruden did it to John Lynch and Rich McKay and Tony Dungy did it to Brad Culpepper. Quarles isn’t the first Buc to get dumped and he won’t be the last.
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Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
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