Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Where's That Backup Quarterback?

Caleb AbnerContributor IIIApril 30, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 1: Jeremy Mincey #94 and George Selvie #91 of the Jacksonville Jaguars look to recover a fumble after a sack of Dan Orlovsky #6 of the Indianapolis Colts at EverBank Field on January 1, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Jaguars defeated the Colts 19-13. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Where's that backup quarterback?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a potentially-elite starting QB, but beyond him the Bucs are quite weak at the position. In free agency, they lost Josh Johnson, who had been a serviceable No.2 for quite some time. Sure, the club signed Dan Orvlosky, but can fans trust him to win games?

Teams like the Bears or the Chiefs learned last season just how important a good backup is. Before Jay Cutler broke his middle finger, Chicago was 7-3 and on a five-game winning streak. Caleb Hanie played so terribly that the franchise had to sign Josh McCown virtually right off the street. And everyone knows how the Colts fared after Peyton Manning went down.

During the draft, Washington saw the importance of the backup quarterback. The franchise drafted Kirk Cousins in the fourth round after mortgaging its future on the success of Robert Griffin III. John Beck  was immediately cut, but Rex Grossman, a one time Super Bowl starter, still remains on the roster.

It is unlikely that the Redskins are trying to give RG3 competition, as they liked him enough to sacrifice three first-round picks for the right to draft him. Probably, Mike Shanahan realizes how frequently smaller, mobile quarterbacks can be injured, and wants someone who can finish a game should Griffin find himself unable to perform any longer.

Mark Dominik had plenty of chances to draft a good backup. He selected multiple linebackers, multiple running backs, multiple defensive backs, but no quarterback.

Northwestern's Dan Persa has been invited to show his skills off at a mini-camp, yet he was not drafted and is one of the lowest ranked quarterbacks of the 2012 draft class.  He technically was the most accurate quarterback in college football history, with a 72.7 completion percentage, however, most of that precision comes from the system. Expecting Persa to lead a team to the playoffs would be ludicrous.

There's a reason the Bears signed a starting-caliber quarterback in Jason Campbell as a backup during the offseason. And it's the very same reason that the Buccaneers should follow suit. If they are truly serious about making a playoff berth, the team has to find a backup quarterback who can close out a game.