Pewter Report Roundtable

April 1 - Pewter Report editors Scott Reynolds, Leo Haggerty and Jim Flynn have each sounded off on the recent signings of quarterback Jim Miller and left tackle Roman Oben. You don't want to miss what the Pewter Reporters had to say about these two signings in this 950-word commentary.

Pewter Report Editor-In-Chief Scott Reynolds:

"Getting Roman Oben back at left tackle was a coup for the Buccaneers. His talents seem to be a perfect fit for Jon Gruden's system. I thought Oben was the most consistent offensive lineman last year for Tampa Bay and that assumption was echoed by the coaches and personnel people I've talked to at One Buccaneer Place. As far as I'm concerned, the guy is already a bit of a legend in Tampa Bay just for shutting out the Bucs' playoff nemesis, Philadelphia defensive end Hugh Douglas, in the NFC Championship Game. Douglas had recorded three sacks and a forced fumble in the playoffs against the Bucs in 2000 and 2001, but couldn't get past Oben. Oben is an extremely hard worker and a big-time team player. Not only did the Bucs get a quality tackle, at $4.6 million over four years, they got one at a great price."

"I think a healthy Jim Miller is an upgrade over Rob Johnson, and maybe even Shaun King. Miller's a bit of a gunslinger who can throw an accurate deep ball. He certainly played extremely well for the Chicago Bears against the Bucs in 2001 and earned two victories. The biggest downfall with this guy's career has been injuries, and he's coming off of a torn rotator cuff right now. He will be behind the eight ball come training camp to get in sync with his center and receivers, but at least he should have a grasp of the system. That's why the Bucs signed Miller right now so that he can get in the classroom and learn Gruden's offense. I think the backup quarterback battle will be a good one come training camp time."

Pewter Report Managing Editor Leo Haggerty:

"The signing of Roman Oben was a no-brainer. The 6-foot-4 and 305-pound seven-year pro was brought in for depth purposes at left tackle. Well, guess what. The journeyman became a mainstay of the Bucs offensive line and, by the last part of the season, was the Pewter Pirates best as well as most consistent performer in the trenches. Also, the native of Cameroon was part of the offensive line that allowed one sack in the entire Tampa Bay playoff run and that was more of a trip by quarterback Brad Johnson. Definitely a good more by the Buccaneers to make Oben a part of their future plans."

"I believe the Bucs got a steal with the Jim Miller signing. The question of his durability is really overblown. Miller is tough as nails. The problem was that, by the middle of last season, the offensive line in the Windy City had been decimated by injuries and Miller was a sitting duck in the pocket. From my perspective, I like the fact that if Miller has to play it's not that big of a change from starter Brad Johnson. Both are classic drop back pocket passers that will take a lick to deliver the football. No happy feet here like a certain signal-caller who was around Tampa Bay last season."

Pewter Report Assistant Editor Jim Flynn

"Tampa Bay was wise to re-sign left tackle Roman Oben to a four-year deal worth just over $1 million per season. That's a cheap price for a starting left tackle, especially one as experienced and as durable as Oben is. Oben was Tampa Bay's most consistent offensive lineman last season and he probably didn't receive enough credit for the job he did protecting QB Brad Johnson's blindside. Oben wanted to return to Tampa Bay badly, and the Bucs had mutual interest in bringing him back, but limited cap room almost forced Oben to start seriously considering playing somewhere else. Whew!"

"I'd rather drink a glass of Draino before each Bucs game than suffer through another season of watching Rob Johnson try to perform as Tampa Bay's backup quarterback. Heck, I'd rather watch a quarterback throw while recovering from torn rotator cuff surgery. Well actually, that's exactly what the Bucs have in QB Jim Miller. While I like Miller's accuracy, smarts and toughness, I'm not convinced he can secure a spot on Tampa Bay's 53-man roster when he won't even be able to throw at full strength until June or July.

"I think the Bucs will keep a maximum of four quarterbacks on its roster next season. The first spot will obviously go to Brad Johnson. I think QB Shane Matthews stands a good chance of making the team as a backup. First-year QB Greg Zolman is on the roster now, but I'd be shocked if he made it to training camp. The Bucs have indicated they're interested in re-signing QB Shaun King, and if that happens, that signing would give the team five signal-callers. The Bucs will also likely draft a quarterback in April, which would give them six QBs, but there's no way the team would keep that many at one time. Zolman would be the first odd man out, and Miller's inability to throw at 100 percent until late in the offseason might cost him a job in Tampa. I like the fact that the Bucs would only take a $25,000 cap hit if they cut ties with Miller, who signed a one-year deal."


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