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Let QBs on bench test their mettle

Published December 7, 2003

Since the chance of making the playoffs is hopeless, a change should be made at quarterback. Brad Johnson has done well, but with the horrible offensive line, which allows countless defenders to charge in practically untouched, a more mobile quarterback is needed. Try an improved and mature Shaun King. Then let rookie Chris Simms get his feet wet. Other NFL teams have found undiscovered gems sitting on their bench; maybe the Bucs can, too.

-- Housh Ghovaee, Clearwater

Ashes to ashes,

dust to dust.

Last year's champions,

this year's bust.

-- John B. Shepherd, St. Petersburg

In 1999, Bert Emmanuel made an unbelievable reception. In 2003, Ronde Barber made an unbelievable interception. In both cases, the correct call was made on the field, only to be incorrectly overturned by the replay officials. Great plays change a season in many cases. These two ended them.

-- Dan Hickey, Spring Hill

Behold, another heartless effort by our beloved Bucs. We had Brad Johnson basically doing a walk-through on his way to his next commercial. We witnessed our defense crumble like a matchstick house in a hurricane. Now Automatica is Dramatica. What a difference a year and a Super Bowl make. There's always next year.

-- Jerry Tamborello, Seminole

The fun has gone out of teasing Warren Sapp for his ineptitude. There is no eloquence required. No need for alliteration or biting quips or stinging puns. The fact that he walked off the field Sunday night with the cleanest uniform of any starting defensive lineman in the league is testament enough. The sight of him standing around his fellow tacklers with his hands on his hips speaks volumes.

Jacksonville ran 70 plays, more than 20 between the tackles, and No.99 came away with one tackle. All we keep hearing from the coaches, players and die-hards is, "The numbers don't mean anything. He does so much more." Hogwash. The Bucs went into that game knowing they had to shut down the run, and time after time the Jaguars ran straight at Sapp when they needed a big play.

-- Steve Wojchowski, Madeira Beach

Go ahead and blame the demise on the porous defense, the horrible special teams, the lousy officiating and the unfortunate injuries. The real problem is the lack of talent on offense. The Bucs do not have a single All-Pro-caliber offensive player. The receivers are the slowest in the league, and the line gets consistently overpowered and heavily penalized. And the running backs, though quick, are unable to break tackles and follow blockers (when there are blockers to follow).

They also have a weak-armed quarterback who's as mobile as a stuffed mushroom. It is no wonder there's a rift between Jon Gruden and Rich McKay. A team cannot win without an offense that can drive the ball and make some big plays.

-- Henry Weese, Safety Harbor

I have decided to to take my grandmother's advice. When things went badly, she'd say, "I am taking to my bed." That is what I am going to do for the rest of the season.

-- Betsy Wright, Gulfport
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