Buccaneers Analysis: Brian Griese

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers acquired Brian Griese in a trade on Monday afternoon. Many Bucs fans remember his days with the Bucs in 2004 and 2005. But what are the Bucs getting by dealing for Griese? Bucsblitz.com examines the impact Griese could have on the Bucs, with commentary and analysis from Bearreport.com's John Crist.

The discussion about bringing Brian Griese back to Tampa Bay, despite the presence of five quarterbacks on the roster, is a subject for another article.

This article is about Griese's potential impact on the Buccaneers in 2008 — and beyond.

Griese spent the past two seasons in Chicago, primarily as Rex Grossman's backup. He made an appearance in Super Bowl XLI in Miami and started six games last season.

What we saw from Griese in Chicago the past two years is exactly what the Bears wanted, according to Bearreport.com's John Crist, who covers the Bears for Scout.com.

"Brian Griese was brought to Chicago in 2006 specifically to be that veteran backup quarterback the team so desperately needed," Crist said. "However, under no circumstances was the organization going to commit to him for any substantial period of time. If Rex Grossman got injured again or suffered from a lengthy spell of ineffectiveness, as he did this past season, Griese could step in for a few ballgames and get the job done -- nothing more."

His numbers weren't particularly great — 10 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and 1,083 yards. But he did complete 61.5 percent of his passes in seven games, the sixth time in his 10-year career that he completed at least 60 percent of his passes in a season.

That is one of Griese's biggest positives — accuracy. That was never more true than in 2004-05 in Tampa Bay.

When Griese emerged as the starter in Week 6 he became the NFL's most accurate quarterback (69.3 percent) and set team records for quarterback rating (97.5) and yards per pass attempt (7.83 yards) by the end of the season.

The following season Griese started the season, leading the Bucs to a 5-1 record while completing 64.4 percent of his passes. The knee injury Griese suffered in Week 6 ended his season — and his time in Tampa Bay.

When the season ended Griese was due a large roster bonus and the Bucs were forced to cut him before March 1, a decision they didn't want to make. In fact, had the players' union and the NFL been able to come to their agreement before March 1 — at the terms they agreed to — the Bucs would have had the cap room to keep Griese.

But Griese went to Chicago instead.

Griese always struck me as a solid quarterback with a good arm, and obviously his talent agrees with Jon Gruden's offense, since he put up some of the best numbers of his career during his time in Tampa Bay.

Crist echoed the assessment — for the most part.

"Billed as a high-percentage passer who would take care of the football, Griese actually threw 12 interceptions on just 262 attempts in 2007," Crist said. "He's still a very smart player who will be effective with short- and medium-range passes, but he's not very mobile in the pocket, doesn't have much of an arm, and has always had trouble staying healthy for a full season."

Interceptions are the one big negative for Griese. Even during his 2004 season Griese had trouble with that. He threw 20 touchdowns against 12 interceptions, and some of those picks were critical mistakes. Three of them were returned for touchdowns, including a critical interception in a loss to San Diego.

In 2005 he threw as many touchdowns (7) as interceptions before his injury and his passer rating dropped accordingly to 79.6.

In fact, the only season in which Griese had a touchdown to interception ratio of better than 2 to 1 was 2000, when he threw 19 touchdowns against 4 interceptions for the Broncos.

With Griese you're getting a quarterback who has the ability to be highly accurate in any offense, but who also has the ability to frustrate his teammates and coaches with a high interception total. Griese is also not the type of quarterback that can overcome the lack of talent on his team. Surround him with good players and he'll produce good numbers. Put him on a less talented team and he won't.


Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. An award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers Association, he appears frequently on Scot Brantley Show from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1470-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.


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