Hello Wisconsin! The Rams will head to the northern reaches of the Midwest for training camp this year, mixing the corporate retreat theory of team building through isolation with the opportunity to scrimmage other NFL teams. I know for some of us who've enjoyed a stop by to watch snaps at training camp, the move kind of sucks. But, I'll say what I said last time, I don't care if they hold training camp in the Green Zone as long as it helps them win a few more games this season.
About those Tampa Bay QBs
Some expected/wanted to see the Rams take a QB later in the draft this year. Not necessarily the QB of the future, but a 3rd QB with a little more upside than Brock Berlin. Since the Rams came away from the draft with the same 3 quarterbacks on the roster as before, scuttlebutt has since had us keep an eye on Tampa Bay, with six QBs on the roster now. Below are the six Tampa quarterbacks with odds of the Rams getting them and a pithy comment. Yay, pithy comment!
Jeff Garcia - Garcia's probably the starter, barring injury, etc. Odds: 0
Brian Griese - The really, really poor man's back up QB. The Bucs actually traded a 6th round pick in the 2009 draft to get Griese. I'd say he doesn't make the Bucs final roster AND we're not that desperate for a 3rd QB. Odds: 200:1
Josh Johnson - The Bucs' 5th round pick in this year's draft, and in all likelihood, their 3rd string QB. Gruden et al invested in Johnson, from San Diego, with the expectation and scouting reports to match that he can develop into an NFL starter. Odds: 0
Bruce Gradkowski - The "Polish Rifle" madea splash filling in for an injured Chris Simms in 2006. He had a great five game run as a starter, beginning in week five, but the wheels came off in week 10 as he threw eight INTs over his next four games before finally being replaced by Tim Rattay in week 15. he saw action in just two games last season, none as a starter. How much upside does he have left? He's probably getting cut, according to the Odds: 20:1
Luke McCown - drafted by the Browns (an ominous start to your career) in 2004 and traded to the Bucs in 2005, McCown started three games last year, and made a splash in his Tampa Bay starting debut beating the Saints in week 13. He's most likely the #2 QB this season in Tampa Bay. Odds: 50:1
Chris Simms - 'Memba him? He became the talk of the league, the next big thing, after a rocky start to his 2005 season, losing to the Redskins in the first round of the playoffs thanks to an Edell Shepherd butterfinger catch. Then there was the injury in 2006 that caused him to lose five pints of blood thanks to a ruptured spleen. Then there was the contract extension in December of '06 with the assumption he'd start...only he didn't. He got injured and that led to the pundit controversy around whether it was mostly his pride that was truly injured. Anyway, Tampa received several trade offers, reportedly, for Simms this spring, but decided to keep him on the roster and see what happens in training camp. The problem? He's healthy this year and opting to skip team activities. In short, he's a goner. There figures to be some demand for his services, so it likely comes down to a bidding war. I'd think he'd have some upside, particularly for a 3rd spot on the depth chart, but would he sign on to be the 3rd QB? He'd be a good get, at the right price for the Rams, but therein lies the problem. Odds: 25:1
Suffice it to say, the Rams quarterback of the future probably isn't going to be found among the Tampa Bay reject pile. Gradkowski, if he really offers much upside over Berlin, is the most intriguing for the 3rd QB role, and Simms would be really interesting if the Rams hadn't invested heavily in Trent Green as their backup. However, Green's fairly elderly, in NFL terms, and coming off a concussion, so nabbing a guy with #2 potential, even at a #2 cost, isn't the worst idea in the world. As far as the next face of the franchise, I think we'll have to wait for the 2009 draft.