Monday, September 18, 2006

Cut Simms Some Slack

Yes,the QB has been pretty bad this year-
hello, so has the whole team

"Excuse me while I go see a chiropractor"

It's no government secret that the quarterback for the Bucs, a team that has totalled 3 points in its first 2 games, has been, shall we say, less than spectacular. Some of his numbers (45-82, 446 yds) don't tell the full story; others do (zero TDs, 6 INTs, 1000 batted balls). And other problems, both tangible (balls being dropped by receivers) & intangible (not throwing with confidence or authority) have caused him to lose the faith & patience many Buc fans.

But let's step away from the slings and arrows and be realistic here. Last season at this time everyone was clamoring for Simms to replace Cryin' Griese remember. After 6 games when Griese got hurt Simms stepped in to lead the overachieving team to the playoffs and he was the toast of the town. Now less than a year later, because he hasn't single-handedly taken this mediocre team and carried it on his shoulders by playing like a Manning, everyone is ready to park him on the bench for rookie/flavor of the month Bruce Gradkowski. People, do you even realize that Chris Simms has only played in 18 NFL games, 13 as a starter- NOT EVEN 1 FULL SEASON AS A STARTING NFL QB. I mean are we such a fast-food high-speed mega-pixel what-have-you-done-for-me-lately-nation that we can't even give a young stud QB with a rocket arm, sharp NFL mind and strong lineage (his dad is a Super Bowl winner) more than 1 full season to develop as a starting QB?

It's long been a rite of passage for QBs to take a few years to mature before they become leaders & winners (well, except for Tom Terrific.) You know what Troy Aikman's record was in his first full NFL season as a starter? 1-15. Three Super Bowl rings and 1 Hall of Fame enshrinement later and I'd say he ended up doing fairly well in the league. How 'bout the legendary Joe Montana? 2-14. Hmm, I wonder if he ever amounted to anything? Oh yeah, only one of the greatest, most clutch quarterbacks of all time and proud owner of 4 rings & 3 SB MVP trophies.

Now I'm not sniffing glue or doing Redi-whippets and suggesting that Simms is in the same category as those guys or will ever come close to any of their accomplishments. But I am trying to suggest that if the owners of those teams had pulled the plug and benched them in favor of their backups, we might have been denied the joy of watching those maestros weave their magic throughout their legendary careers. More likely as talented as they were they would have made their marks with other franchises.

And that is the dilemma the Bucs face with Chris Simms. He is young, smart, and strong. He is also playing behind a patchwork O line, with a confusing & complex offensive system that doesn't seem to be working and a bunch of guys who either don't know their roles or can't execute them; in other words the entire team is a huge mess. It was his 13th NFL start.

So go ahead and ride him into to the bench, run the new guy out there and trade the dejected & rejected Longhorn to another team. And when he goes somewhere else, like say his college home state Texans, and explodes into a quality NFL quarterback all the johnny-done-latelys can say "I knew he was gonna be good- why did the Bucs ever get rid of him?"

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