Garcia Should Get the Start Sunday

stephanie millerContributor IOctober 16, 2008

Assuming both Jeff Garcia and Brian Griese are healthy Sunday night, Garcia should get the start for Tampa Bay against Seattle, hands down.

This season, Garcia has a passer rating of 85.8 percent, whereas Griese's passer rating is a mere 64.6 percent. It is essential when coaching a team with multiple capable starting quarterbacks to maintain each QB's sense of authority and confidence, and to never cause either QB to feel undermined or blindsided when they are pulled in favor of another guy.

It does not matter if they win by one point and 80 percent of their offensive yardage is from rushing. It is about getting the job done while maintaining humanity and respect, and creating a team where every player trusts every other player with his life.

Despite Griese's Hall of Fame family pedigree, both quarterbacks have had to fight for every minute that they have played in the NFL. Garcia (at age 38, only four months younger than Brett Favre) has never tried to be a superstar, and he certainly does not make the salary of a superstar quarterback. He is a persistent and creative playmaker, and a sound and solid leader for the Bucs.

Garcia is the man who has been there and done that, but never got the party prizes, breaks, or endorsements of other durable quarterbacks. Donovan McNabb can sell all the Campbell's soup he wants, but Garcia was the man behind the man who had no beef with anyone and caused no drama during the excruciating Owens-McNabb feuding. He expects and asks for no favors.

Any given Sunday, Garcia is more than willing to play with a weak arm or a bad back, but he doesn't have the kind of ego to play hurt when it will jeopardize the team. This past weekend, Garcia dominated against a not-too-shabby Carolina defense, passing for 173 yards, with one touchdown pass and no interceptions. Ike Hilliard, Joey Galloway, and Ernest Graham all perform better when Garcia has the ball.

In week five, both Garcia and Griese played against the Denver Broncos. Garcia passed for 93 yards, going 13-of-17, with one touchdown and one interception, averaging 5.5 yards per play. Griese passed for 88 yards, going 13-of-19, with no touchdown passes and no interceptions, averaging 4.6 yards.

Watching a Bucs game, I tend to focus more on what Graham, Galloway, Hilliard, and Ruud are doing than what the QB is doing, no matter how much I respect Garcia or want to see Griese break out. I think their key to going further in the playoffs this year will be their rushing, defense, and offensive line.

In the rare instances that Garcia or Griese are able to really move that ball down the field on a 30-plus yard pass, I know my boys Galloway, Graham, and Hilliard will be there because they have managed to be in the right place at the right time for years on an offensively challenged team.

Seattle (1-4) has yet to show up ready for a battle this season, and I will be disturbed if the Bucs don't win, regardless of who is playing QB. I like the idea of playing both Garcia and Griese—switching it up to make sure they make the needed plays—but not switching it up haphazardly to the point where the team is questioning who the leader is.