Brian Griese will be the Bucs' quarterback Sunday at Chicago - and beyond. Griese's role became more permanent Monday when he officially was named the starter for this week's game at Chicago.
Griese missed some open receivers Sunday but did something Garcia didn't do in the season opener - he won the game, beating the Atlanta Falcons 24-9.
"You know what? He warrants being a starting quarterback in the league, period," coach Jon Gruden said. "With that said, we don't anticipate any changes at that position this week."
Meanwhile, Garcia's future with the Bucs is undefined. He was the inactive third quarterback against the Falcons on Sunday, and Gruden would not elaborate on his role the remainder of the season.
"We'll address that. It's going to be a long season," Gruden said. "We're going to need everybody on our football team. We certainly need Jeff Garcia. What his role is will be defined on a weekly basis.
"You're more concerned than I am, okay? Every day I address the same questions with you. I'm not concerned. I'm concerned with beating the Chicago Bears. That's my No. 1 concern. That's the concern of our football team, period."
The Bucs have other worries. Receiver Joey Galloway has a right foot sprain and was on crutches Monday. He is expected to be questionable for Sunday's game at Chicago.
Gruden also denied various media reports that the Bucs have been attempting to drum up interest for Garcia in a trade, including having discussions with the San Francisco 49ers.
"No, I have not. I've not talked to anybody about Jeff," Gruden said. "There's a lot of reports out there. If someone ever came to me that had issued a report, I would be happy to address it. But there's a lot of reports out there that are erroneous and incorrect."
Griese, 33, completed 18-of-31 passes for 160 yard with one touchdown and no interceptions against the Falcons. He missed out on a chance for some big plays by overthrowing Antonio Bryant and Alex Smith.
But Griese was able to produce 10 points off two Falcons turnovers and build a comfortable lead for the Bucs.
"Well, we started fast," Gruden said. "I felt we took advantage of good field position, made a nice play on third down and we capitalized, scored a touchdown on our opening possession. We started quicker, we converted some third downs, we were able to get a lead and that was probably the biggest difference. There's still a lot of room for improvement, me included.
"I thought he did a nice job really. We had the one turnover late in the football game. He managed the offense. He made some great decisions in the running game. We won the football game. I thought he was solid. I thought he played pretty good."
MACK SUSPENDED FOR ONE GAME: Cornerback Elbert Mack of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has been suspended without pay for one game for a flagrant violation of player safety rules, his second this season, the NFL announced today.
Specifically, on a pass interception return play last Sunday, Mack unnecessarily launched himself into Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and made impermissible helmet-to-helmet contact.
NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson issued the suspension, which will sideline Mack for the Buccaneers' game at the Chicago Bears on Sunday, September 21.
In a letter to Mack, Anderson said: "Your actions are of particular concern in light of the emphasis that our office has placed on developing and enforcing rules designed to protect players from injury, including concussions. The safety of our players is paramount to all of us in the NFL."
Anderson stated that Mack's actions violated Rule 12, Section 2, Article 8(g) of the NFL Official Playing Rules, which prohibit:
"…using any part of a player's helmet (including the top/crown and forehead/‘hairline' parts) or facemask to butt, spear, or ram an opponent violently or unnecessarily; although such violent or unnecessary use of the helmet is impermissible against any opponent, game officials will give special attention in administering this rule to protect those players who are in virtually defenseless postures."
This is the second time in the past three games that Mack has been disciplined for a flagrant hit. He was recently fined $5,000 for an unnecessary roughness foul against quarterback Alex Brink during the Buccaneers' preseason game against the Houston Texans on August 28.
PENALTY TIME FOR TB: The Bucs lead the NFL in penalties after two games. Many of them have occurred on the offensive line but every unit has committed its share.
"We had a penalty on a tight end, we had a holding call on a fullback, we had a holding call on a wide receiver, we had some key penalties on defense, we had some key penalties on special teams," Gruden said. "I believe we were the least-penalized team in the preseason and we're the most-penalized team in the regular season."
GILMORE'S PRETTY GOOD: When the Bucs signed TE John Gilmore as a free agent, they told him he would be involved more in the passing game. He caught two passes Sunday, including one for a TD.
"I thought he did well. He ran a nice route in the end zone, and caught a touchdown, his first as a Tampa Bay Buc," Gruden said. "He got free down the middle and I think it was his longest catch of his career. There were some great things as a receiver that showed up on the stat sheet but as always, there are a lot of things that he does on the line of scrimmage that are as good as that. He is good football player and a great team guy. We are proud of him."
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--WR Joey Galloway has a right foot sprain and was on crutches Monday. He will be questionable for Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears.
--RB Earnest Graham has runs of 46 and 68 yards this season. His longest run last year was 28 yards.
--WR Maurice Stovall has a neck strain and was inactive against the Falcons. He could be in the lineup Sunday at Chicago.
--S Sabby Piscitelli had his first career interception and recovered a fumble Sunday against the Falcons.
--RB Michael Bennett, who re-signed with the Bucs before becoming a free agent, has been inactive the first two games.
REPORT CARD VS FALCONS
PASSING OFFENSE: C -- QB Brian Griese missed open receivers and big plays by overthrowing Antonio Bryant and TE Alex Smith. But he managed the game and spotted the Bucs a big league without throwing an interception. The overall protection was good.
RUSHING OFFENSE: A -- RB Earnest Graham has 207 yards on 25 carries in two games this season. He's already posted runs of 46 and 68 yards, the latter of which closed the game out against the Falcons. RB Warrick Dunn looked quick in scoring on third-and-goal from the 17-yard line.
PASSING DEFENSE: A -- Rookie Matt Ryan never had a chance. He missed his first nine passes and threw two interceptions. The Bucs threw a lot of blitzes at Ryan and put some heat on him, including two sacks by Gaines Adams.
RUSHING DEFENSE: A -- One week after Michael Turner rushed for 220 yards against the Lions, he had a longer day in Tampa Bay. The Bucs held Turner to 42 yards on the ground.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- The Bucs' return game with rookie Dexter Jackson needs improvement. But the punting game was strong and so was the kick coverage.
COACHING: B -- Time will tell if Gruden made the right move by going to Brian Griese. So far, so good.