Quarterback Byron Leftwich is a Buccaneer.
The longtime Jaguar and short time Falcon and Steeler is back in Florida, and with him, the hopes of a crippled Buccaneer Nation. After a virtual holocaust of any remnants of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl Champion roster, including Coach Jon Gruden and Pro Bowl Line Backer Derrick Brooks, the ashes of Raymond James Stadium were still smoldering in the early months of 2009.
Now, with long time defensive backs coach Raheem Morris at the helm there is a glimmer of hope. And that’s being optimistic.
Yet the glimmer remains.
Phenom Byron Leftwich has been taking the snaps in practice and the offense is firing on all cylinders. Practices have been hard and personalities are still gelling, but it seems to be heading in the right direction according to Morris.
Leftwich, who is a native of Washington, DC, was a standout from Marshall University where he completed 331 passes for 4268 yards and 30 touchdowns to bring the Thundering Heard to an 11-2 finish his senior year. Leftwich was drafted seventh overall in the 2003 Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In Jacksonville Leftwich was a show stopper, replacing injured Mark Brunell. Over the course of his four seasons in Jacksonville Leftwich racked up 789 attempts for 9042 yards and 51 touchdowns.
Which brings us to now.
How does a QB like Leftwich fit in Tampa?
Under Gruden, the Bucs were a QB collecting machine. Garcia, Griese, Simms,McCown, talk of Favre, and on and on.
Will Morris treat things differently? I hope so. The Buccaneers are in desperate need for a franchise quarterback to get behind.
I think that if Leftwich can stay healthy, he has some great deeps threats in Clayton and Bryant and the arm to get it there. A banged up running game with some young blood could use a spark and hopefully Leftwich can be it.
It has never been easy to be a Buccaneers fan. Now is no different. We are "rebuilding." That is true, but for God sakes, Byron give us some freakin hope!