The backup quarterback position. The guy who doesn’t make the money, doesn’t get the reps and doesn’t do the interviews. That same guy must be ready at a moments notice to step in and take over a 188.2 million dollar team without skipping a beat.
The Buccaneers have two veterans competing for the backup quarterback position in camp this year, but the two players couldn’t be more different. The competition for the position seems to be completely up in the air. All indications are that this is a competition to keep your eyes on this preseason. So who’s it going to be for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
In one corner is Ryan Griffin. The seventh year veteran out of Tulane was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the New Orleans Saints. After bouncing between the practice squad and active roster and even making it to the final cuts in 2015, Griffin would be released and claimed by Tampa Bay. Griffin has spent the past four seasons serving as the backup and third string quarterback with the Buccaneers, but has never seen live game action.
The second competitor for the Buccaneer backup position is Blaine Gabbert. Gabbert would forgo his senior year at Missouri and declare for the 2011 NFL draft. After being selected at #11 in the first round by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Gabbert would play well enough that the Jaguars would release David Garrard in the preseason and bump him ahead of QB Luke McCown. The same Luke McCown who would come to Tampa Bay before ultimately ending up in New Orleans. Gabbert would play in Jacksonville for three years. That was followed by a three year stint in San Francisco for Gabbert. Finally for Gabbert was one short season under Bruce Arians and the Cardinals in 2017. Blaine was released by the Tennessee Titans after they acquired Ryan Tannehill via trade this off-season.
Both quarterbacks have comparable salaries with Ryan Griffin slated to make 1.45 million this season. Meanwhile, Blaine Gabbert is set to make 1.6 million for the season. Having played in 56 regular season games, Gabbert would also hold the experience title over Griffin’s goose egg regular season appearances. One has all the experience, but the other has unlimited potential.
With training camp just three days in, it’s safe to say that a decision has not been made for who will backup Jameis Winston for the 2019 season. There are many position battles still to be fought. Kicker, defensive backs, defensive ends, but even the backup quarterback position has a battle that needs to be watched closely. There are many positions up for grabs this year and Buccaneer fans will be watching all of them with excitement.