Simms Vows to Make it a Competition for the Starting QB Spot

Roy Cummings, of the Tampa Tribune, reports Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Chris Simms says his mechanics are the reason why he’s behind QB Jeff Garcia for the starting job. “The biggest thing is the rotation in my upper body. To get torque on the ball you need to turn that [throwing] shoulder [back] and then turn into [the throw] and I’m not getting a whole lot of that. I think we all know I’m a pretty pure thrower; that’s always been my strong point and I’m just not where I’d like to be yet. I’m just not throwing the ball the way I’d like to. But if I can correct that, I think I’ll be fine,” Simms said. Even though he is behind Garcia in the race for the starting job, Simms vows to make a competition of it when training camp starts. “It’s real early and I know I’m not where I need to be yet in terms of throwing the ball and my timing. I’m just not quite there, but it will be on when July comes. I’ll be 100 percent back when the time comes.”

The buzz in Tampa is that Jon Gruden was trying to light a fire under Simms when the coach said Garcia had moved way ahead of Simms in the battle for the starting job. Gruden wants Simms to get tougher mentally and physically, so this might be his way of giving the fourth-year quarterback a kick in the rear. Simms is a hard worker and is making good progress in his return from season-ending spleen surgery, but the Bucs are worried he won’t be 100 percent by the time training camp opens.

“Garcia has done a great job from Day One, since he’s been here,” Gruden said. “He understands the position. He’s moved offenses wherever he’s been. And right now Jeff Garcia has a big lead, to me, on the quarterback position. He brings a lot of juice and enthusiasm to our offensive team.” Gruden also said again that he’s working on adding the shotgun to the Bucs’ offensive scheme, and said “Garcia is a guy who’s been in the shotgun … if things go as planned and he is the quarterback, the shotgun will be a part of what we do.” It certainly appears that, barring injury, Garcia will start the season as the Bucs’ No. 1 quarterback.

Simms, the four year pro out of Texas, is coming off a short injury plagued season, in which he had an awful touchdown to interception ratio: 1 TD compared to 7 passes caught by the other team in different uniforms. His career completion percentage is under 60% and he’s lost a total of six fumbles in 19 games under the helm. In his only career playoff game for the Tampa Bay Bucs, he threw two vital interceptions in a 17-10 clunker against Washington at home. His QB rating at 71.2, will make Jon Gruden pull his hair out, if he has to deal with another frustrating, mistake filled year again from Simms. The decision to go with a proven veteran like Garcia; is a winning one. He can lead this team to a .500 record if he stays healthy, performing like he did last year in Philly.

Phil Simms might even be a better option right now than his son Chris. Since his days back at the longhorn state in college, Chris Simms has failed to produce, even with the considerable amount of talent he has had on the offensive side. Simms (low value) could get traded for a couple bags of peanuts or get released after this year (or sooner) if he does not make strides, in becoming the quarterback Tampa Bay envisioned him as, with picking him in the 2nd round of the 2003 NFL Draft. Without this significant improvement under shot caller Jon Gruden, he will surely be out the door. His days are officially being numbered, and this once successful, Tampa Bay franchise is falling apart in pieces after winning SB XXXVII, having not won a single playoff game since then. Remember that 48-21 debacle, on a San Diego nite in late January of ’03 – I don’t: (you might have to revisit the old archives of NFL Films for that one). Now where is Brad Johnson when you need ‘em?

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