Bucs Ask the Experts: Which QB?

Tyler FrazierContributor IJuly 31, 2009

TAMPA, FL - MAY 01:  Quarterback Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throws a pass during the Buccaneers Rookie Minicamp at One Buccaneer Place on May 1, 2009 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

Bucsblitz.com presents, "Ask the Experts," an occasional feature in which Scout.com experts present their opinion on questions that impact the Buccaneers. Today, Bucs and Scout.com NFL experts debate which quarterback should be the Opening Day starter for the Bucs on Sept 13.

The St. Petersburg Times reported that Luke McCown will be the top QB on the depth chart when Buccaneers training camp starts on July 31 in Tampa. But who will be the starter when the Bucs open at home against Dallas? Will it be McCown, Byron Leftwich or rookie Josh Freeman?

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The fact that the Buccaneers have three quarterbacks competing for the starting spot is impressive in itself. Any quarterback race can be intriguing, but a three-way race can be a very rare thing to watch.

The question is who will be the starting quarterback for the Bucs this season. Will is be Luke McCown, Byron Leftwich, or the rookie Josh Freeman?

I think McCown is the right choice.

This is a player and he’s been waiting in the wings for four years now. He thought he was going to get his shot on more then a few occasions, but there was always someone in his way whether is be Brian Griese, Jeff Garcia or Jon Gruden.

When given the opportunity in the past, McCown has risen to the occasion and I believe the time is now to see whether he is capable of leading this team.

McCown’s most successful year in the NFL came in 2007 when he played in 5 games, including 4 starts for the Buccaneers. That year, he completed 67.6 percent of his passes with 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.

He made a great first impression with the fans after leading the Bucs to a 27-23 victory over the Saints in his first start. During that game, he set career-highs in completions, attempts, and passing yards while tying his previous high of 2 passing touchdowns. ‘

That was the high point of his season though as McCown would continue to play well, but lost his next three starts to Houston, San Francisco, and Carolina. Since then, McCown has only thrown one pass in a game.

Adding Leftwich in the offseason was a smart move, but that does not mean he should be named the starter. He is a reliable backup to have on the team in case of an injury. Unless he can prove that he still has the skills and potential to be the same player who was dominant while in Jacksonville, he should remain with the second team.

When the Bucs used the 17th overall pick to select Josh Freeman out of Kansas State, they hadn’t planned for him to see the field his rookie season. Raheem Morris and Mark Dominik should stick to this plan. The statistics are against Freeman succeeding as a rookie. While some claim he should use this season to learn on the fly, taking the chance of ruining his confidence is just not worth it if you ask me.

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Originally Published at BucsBlitz.com