Sunday, April 15, 2007

Will Brady Quinn be a Buc?

The South Bend Tribune reported today on Jon Gruden's visit to the Notre Dame campus this weekend. Gruden returned to his roots to speak at the Notre Dame coaches clinic. But it sounds like he spent a lot more time with Brady Quinn than he did with the coaches attending the clinic. According to the article, Gruden had nothing but high praise for Quinn's preparation to play at the next level, both physically and mentally. This would all be of only passing interest, but for the fact that Coach Gruden holds the #4 overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft. The Bucs, of course, have young starter Chris Simms returning after missing 13 games due to a routine splenectomy last season. Just kidding - the guy lost his freaking SPLEEN! He almost died! But he says he's all better now. Forgive me if I'm a little skeptical that one can bounce back so quickly from that particular procedure. As an insurance policy, the Bucs signed cagey veteran Jeff Garcia in the off-season. If I had to bet, I'd take Garcia to beat out Simms for the starting job. There has been talk for a long time that Gruden has never been in love with Simms as a starting QB, and the impact of the spleen injury will not help the situation.

Enter Brady Quinn. Physically and mentally ready to move up, he comes from a University for which Coach Gruden has a great fondness. To step in and be an understudy to Jeff Garcia while he gets oriented to the NFL would be a great situation. And having played under Charlie Weis, you have to think that Brady would be able to handle "Chucky's" famous intensity. Although Tampa Bay doesn't have a glaring "need" for a quarterback, I found it very interesting that Coach Gruden not only brought former Irish player Maurice Stovall with him to work Quinn out (which makes some sense), but that he also brought in Tampa Bay wide receiver Michael Clayton. That seems like a lot of trouble to go to for a team that isn't seriously considering using its #4 pick on a quarterback. Of course, it may be that Tampa wants to trade down, and is trying to pressure the Vikings or Dolphins into making a better offer for the #4 pick. Or maybe Gruden wants to trade up to #2 or #3, and wanted to get a good look at Brady before making an offer to Detroit or Cleveland. Hmmmmmmmm.

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