Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Franchise Quarterbacks: Allen/Gruden vs. Dominik/Morris

How fortunate Raheem Morris must feel for being able to draft his personal mancrush, Josh Freeman (“an athletic, big, giant human”), in his first draft as head coach. The new regime has bought themselves (at least they think) a few years to see if the Bucs finally have the franchise QB the organization has never produced. Some professionals disappoint me in taking the stance that a big reason Gruden was fired was his inability to develop a franchise QB. If Morris and Dominik were able to attempt to address this in their first draft, what was Gruden’s and Allen’s problem? Why didn’t they ever get a young franchise QB? Well…

Let’s take a detailed look at just what franchise QB options the Gruden/Allen regime “missed out on” during their time at One Buc Place:

Free Agents / Trades:
Tony Banks (Houston)
Charlie Batch (Pittsburgh; 1 yr, $525,000)
Jeff Blake (Baltimore)
Drew Bledsoe (traded from New England to Buffalo for 1st)
Chris Chandler (Chicago)
Trent Dilfer (Seattle)
Jay Fiedler (Miami)
Gus Frerrotte (Cincinnati)
Shane Matthews (Washington)
Jim Miller (Chicago)
Rick Mirer (Oakland)
Rodney Peete (Carolina)
Mark Rypien (Seattle)

Picks traded for Gruden:
1st = Daniel Graham (#21; pick to New England via Oakland)
2nd = Langston Walker (#53)

QB’s taken in the draft:
David Carr (#1, Houston)
Joey Harrington (#3, Detroit)
Patrick Ramsey (#32, Washington)
Josh McCown (#81, Arizona)

Free Agents:
Charlie Batch (Pittsburgh)
Steve Beuerlein (Denver)
Jeff Blake (Arizona)
Todd Collins (Kansas City)
Scott Covington (STL)
Eric Crouch (Green Bay)
Woody Dantzler (Atlanta)
Jake Delhomme (Carolina)
Koy Detmer (Philadelphia)
Ty Detmer (Detroit)
Jim Druckenmiller (Indianapolis)
Gus Frerrotte (Minnesota)
Jason Garrett (NY Giants)
Trent Green (Kansas City; 7 years, $50 million)
Brian Griese (Miami; 2 years, $7.5 million)
Doug Johnson (Atlanta)
Rob Johnson (Washington)
Danny Kanell (Denver)
Cleo Lemon (San Diego)
Jamie Martin (NY Jets)
Rick Mirer (Oakland)
Neil O’Donnell (Tennessee)
Rodney Peete (Carolina)
Jake Plummer (Denver)
Kordell Stewart (Chicago)

Pick traded for Gruden:
1st = Tyler Brayton (#32)

QB’s taken in the draft:
Carson Palmer (#1, Cincinnati)
Kyle Boller (#19, Baltimore)
Rex Grossman (#22, Chicago)
Dave Ragone (#88, Houston)

Bucs signed Brian Griese to a 3 year deal.

Free Agents / Trades:
Steve Beuerlein (Carolina)
Jeff Blake (Philadelphia)
Mark Brunell (traded to Washington for 3rd round pick)
Mark Bulger (RFA, signed 4 year deal with Rams)
Quincy Carter (NY Jets)
Chris Chandler (St. Louis)
Kerry Collins (Oakland; 3 years, $12 million)
Tim Couch (Green Bay)
Ty Detmer (Atlanta)
AJ Feeley (Miami)
Doug Flutie (San Diego)
Jeff Garcia (Cleveland)
Drew Henson (traded to Dallas for 3rd round pick)
Brock Huard (Seattle)
Doug Johnson (Jacksonville)
Shaun King (Arizona; 3 years)
Jon Kitna (Cincinnati)
Tommy Maddox (Pittsburgh)
Rick Mirer (Detroit)
Kordell Stewart (Baltimore)
Vinny Testaverde (Dallas)
Billy Volek (Tennessee)
Kurt Warner (NY Giants; 2 years, $3.8 million)

Pick traded for Gruden:
2nd = Jake Grove (#45)

Bucs picks:
#15 overall - Michael Clayton
#79 overall - Marquis Cooper

QB’s taken in the draft:
Eli Manning (#1, San Diego)
Philip Rivers (#4, NY Giants)
Ben Roethlisberger (#11, Pittsburgh)
JP Losman (#22, Buffalo)
Matt Schaub (#90, Atlanta)

Free Agents:
Matt Hasselbeck (Seattle; re-signed for 6 years, $47 million with a $16 million signing bonus)
Drew Brees (San Diego; franchise player)
Drew Bledsoe (Dallas)
Jeff Garcia (Detroit)
Kelly Holcomb (Buffalo)
Jay Fiedler (NY Jets)
Gus Frerotte (Miami)
Mike McMahon (Philadelphia)
Charlie Batch (Pittsburgh)
Josh McCown (Arizona)
Jeff Blake (Chicago)
Jim Miller (NY Giants)
Doug Johnson (Cleveland)
Kordell Stewart (Baltimore)
Dough Flutie (New England)

Bucs picks:
#5 overall – Cadillac Williams
#36 overall – Barrett Ruud
#71 overall – Alex Smith
#91 overall – Chris Colmer

QB’s taken in the draft:
Alex Smith (#1, San Francisco)
Aaron Rodgers (#24, Green Bay)
Jason Campbell (#25, Washington)
Charlie Frye (#67, Cleveland)
David Greene (#85, Seattle)

Bucs signed Jay Fiedler

Free Agents:
Drew Brees (New Orleans; 6 years, $60 million)
Aaron Brooks (Oakland)
Brian Griese (Chicago)
Kerry Collins (Tennessee)
Jon Kitna (Detroit)
Josh McCown (Detroit)
Charlie Batch (Pittsburgh)
Gus Frerotte (St. Louis)
Mike McMahon (Minnesota)
Anthony Wright (Cincinnati)
Dave Ragone (Houston)
Ken Dorsey (San Francisco)
Damon Huard (Kansas City)

Bucs picks:
#23 overall – Davin Joseph
#59 overall – Jeremy Trueblood
#90 overall – Maurice Stovall
#122 overall – Alan Zemaitis

QB’s taken in the draft:
Vince Young (#3, Tennessee)
Matt Leinart (#10, Arizona)
Jay Cutler (#11, Denver)
Kellen Clemens (#49, NY Jets)
Tarvaris Jackson (#64, Minnesota)
Charlie Whitehurst (#81, San Diego)
Brodie Croyle (#85, Kansas City)

Bucs signed Jeff Garcia

Free agents:
Byron Leftwich (Atlanta)
David Carr (Carolina)
Damon Huard (Kansas City)
Joey Harrington (Atlanta)
Anthony Wright (NY Giants)
Marques Tuiasosopo (NY Jets)
John Navarre (Indianapolis)
Jim Sorgi (Indianapolis)
Kerry Collins (Tennessee)
Brad Johnson (Dallas; 3 years, $7.5 million)

Bucs picks:
#4 overall – Gaines Adams
#35 overall – Aaron Sears
#64 overall – Sabby Piscitelli
#68 overall – Quincy Black
#106 overall – Tanard Jackson

QB’s taken in the draft:
JaMarcus Russell (#1, Oakland)
Brady Quinn (#22, Cleveland)
Kevin Kolb (#36, Philadelphia)
John Beck (#40, Miami)
Drew Stanton (#43, Detroit)
Trent Edwards (#92, Buffalo)
Isaiah Stanback (#103, Dallas)
Jeff Rowe (#151, Cincinnati)

Free agents:
Byron Leftwich (Pittsburgh)
Daunte Culpepper (Detroit)
Cleo Lemon (Jacksonville)
Todd Collins (Washington)
Trent Green (St. Louis)
Chris Redman (Atlanta)

Bucs picks:
#20 overall – Aqib Talib
#58 overall – Dexter Jackson
#83 overall – Jeremy Zuttah
#115 overall – Dre Moore
#160 overall – Josh Johnson

QB’s taken in the draft:
Matt Ryan (#3, Atlanta)
Joe Flacco (#18, Baltimore)
Brian Brohm (#56, Green Bay)
Chad Henne (#57, Miami)
Kevin O’Connell (#94, New England)
John David Booty (#137, Minnesota)
Dennis Dixon (#156, Pittsburgh)
Erik Ainge (#162, NY Jets)
Colt Brennan (#186, Washington)
Andre Woodson (#198, NY Giants)

Just who did the Bucs miss out on? Which QB would you have taken? Drew Brees when he went to New Orleans? You need cap space to pull off a move like that. Thanks Richie!

’02 – Patrick Ramsey?
’03 – Trent Green? He wasn’t getting $50 million from the Bucs.
’04 – Kurt Warner? He was 13-22 from ’04 to ’07.
’05 – Matt Hasselbeck? He wasn’t going to leave Seattle for less $ in Tampa; again, no cap space.
’06 – Who else aside from Drew Brees? Tarvaris Jackson?
’07 – Kevin Kolb, John Beck, or Drew Stanton over Aaron Sears? No thanks.
’08 – Would Booty, Dixon, Ainge, Brennan, or Woodson have been better picks than Josh Johnson?

The only ones I see as even remote possibilities are three draftees: Matt Schaub in '04, Brady Quinn in ’07, and Brian Brohm in ’08.

Schaub - At the time, the Bucs had just signed Brian Griese to a 3 year deal, giving them Griese (29), Brad Johnson (36), and Chris Simms (24) on the roster at QB. Johnson was on his way out, but there were hopes/plans for Simms. Hindsight is nice and all, but at the time, would it have been the right move to completely give up on Simms, who is only one year older than Schaub? Schaub himself has only started 24 games in his 4 NFL seasons, has thrown for at least 10 TDs just once, and is 10-14 as a starter. Now I know all of that isn't his fault, but should we be kicking ourselves as Bucs fans? Again, the guy went with the 90th pick in the draft, so he was passed over 89 times already. I also think it's safe to say they didn't have enough to trade up for Manning, Rivers, or Roethlisberger (and that's assuming one of those teams would have even considered moving down).

Quinn - The Bucs weren’t the only team to pass on Quinn as he fell from an apparent lock to the Dolphins at #9 to the Browns at #22. The jury is still out on how successful he’ll be as a pro.

Brohm - Here's the guy I wanted the Bucs to take last year, and I wasn’t alone. Gruden also liked Brohm but was overruled in the war room. The Bucs ended up taking Aqib Talib and traded down past where Brohm was selected by the Packers to take (gulp) Dexter Jackson. Still, Brohm sat behind Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn last year.

Aside from those three (which are very iffy), who are all these QBs Allen and Gruden supposedly missed out on?

Looking at who was taken in the drafts, the Bucs are actually better off not having reached for any of the QB’s listed below near where they selected.

David Carr (#1, Houston)
Kyle Boller (#19, Baltimore)
Alex Smith (#1, San Francisco)
Vince Young (#3, Tennessee)
JaMarcus Russell (#1, Oakland)

Bottom line? I think it’s sloppy reporting/"fanning" to use the “couldn’t develop a franchise QB” card when listing faults of the Gruden/Allen regime. How far back would the Bucs have been set if they had spent such early picks on one of these guys above? Well folks, we just might find out the answer to that question with Raheem’s BFF. Again, I really hope I’m wrong.


  1. The college game isn't turning out many NFL prototypical QBs anymore.


    I'm interested in watching how the league adapts to this problem. If some team decides to throw the book out on how it's done, we could see an evolution or maybe just a fad.

  2. Good link, I'll have to save that one.

    I think the decline of the prototypical QB is just one more thing that's pushing the NFL towards spread offenses. I have no doubt that it's coming; just a matter of how soon. The Wildcat formations are just the tip of the iceberg.

  3. Superb piece of work talbuc. I think most of us Buc diehards not blinded by hatred for Gruden/Allen had some sense that there wasn't much to be had in those drafts conducted in the G/A era, so it was nice to see our intuition confirmed with data. I suppose there were players here or there available that one could quibble over, but the decisions not to choose them has to be placed in context of what was on the roster at the time. The most glaring example was probably Joe Flacco; I say let's see how it plays out. I think people mistakenly put him in the same category with Matt Ryan, but in my estimation he most certainly was not.


  4. oops Flacco wasn't available. So it's down to ...well..THE BUST.

  5. Thanks TPE. I had done a trimmed down version of this a while back, but after the Freeman pick and hearing some outlets take what I perceive to be cheap shots at the previous regime, I wanted to get a little more detailed. This kind of goes with the “Gruden doesn’t like rookies” thing. Someone needs to explain that to Cadillac Williams, Michael Clayton, Jeremy Trueblood, Davin Joseph, and Aaron Sears.

    This regime has taken what I see as an unnecessary PR move. They’re being praised for “finally” addressing the young QB issue, but let’s be realistic about this. The Bucs probably aren’t going to be a playoff team this season. Would it have made more sense to go best available player at #19; someone like, oh I don’t know, Jeremy Maclin in this draft and play through ’09 with McCown and Leftwich? Then in ’10, when you’re going to be drafting pretty high anyways, if the McCown and Leftwich thing doesn’t work out, you’re going to have a shot at a much better crop of draft eligible QBs. Heck, then you could be looking at getting Sam Bradford instead of being forced to play Josh Freeman, who you reached for the previous year.

    Waiting until ’10 to go QB would give you time to see if you even need to spend a high pick on a QB. Instead, in addition to hamstringing yourself in next year’s draft where the QB talent is expected to be much greater, you’re telling McCown and Leftwich they have no long term future here before either one has taken a snap as starter.

    I hate to keep being negative about Morris & Dominik, but their plan simply doesn’t seem well thought out. We entered the offseason with big needs at DE, DT, CB, and WR, and here we are May 8 still having needs at DE, DT, CB, and WR.