Monday, June 30, 2008

Josh Johnson - future star or one more Qb for Gruden to break?

Like many of the Draftguys, I've got some severe man-love for former University of San Diego and current Tampa Bay Buccaneer QB Josh Johnson. It's not hard to see why - the man only threw 15 INTs his whole college career while amassing 113 TDs and 9,699 yards with a QB rating of 68%. Heck, last year alone, he tossed 43 TDs and only 1 INT.

Sure, he played against lesser competition. But even the best QBs against so-so competition will have SOMETHING go wrong. A receiver goes the wrong way. You don't see a blitz. Someone gets lucky in the secondary. Heck, you just mess up.

That didn't happen to Johnson last year. And not only did he only have it all go to hell ONCE, but he completed 2/3rds of his passes. Of the 301 passes he threw, 206 were caught. I don't care if it's Pee Wee, that's impressive.

And he's fast. So if you look at him:
Good Arm + Accurate Arm + Mobile and Fast feet = Solid Potential.

Now he's in Tampa Bay and people are falling all over themselves. Jon Gruden, they say, will mold him and unlock his potential.

Can I ask you something? When was the last time Gruden molded a young QB successfully? He and Simms don't get along. Gradkowski? No longer there. Sure, Gruden has a football QB camp, but it's a different thing to be someone's boss than camp counselor.

Look at his record - who has Gruden succeeded with? With the Raiders, he drove Rich Gannon to career highs (only for him to fold against Gruden in the Super Bowl. And who was the QB of that Super Bowl? A Youngster? No, just journeyman Brad Johnson.) He struggled with Simms (even before the damage to Simms' spleen put him on the bench) and finally found passing success again with who? Jeff Garcia.

I see a trend here.

I am in no way saying Chucky can't coach a young QB. In fact, I have heard more than one thing that says he can. BUT - and this is huge - young QBs can have fragile egos. They can take criticism more personally than intended and frankly, on occasion fold. I mean, these guys - many of them - were BMOCs all through college. Them doing something incorrectly? WHAT?

Johnson strikes me as a smart dude and a strong character guy. We all know Chucky Gruden can be..... abrasive I guess. I think these two could very well get along - Johnson ignoring some of the barbs and tone, Gruden focusing on improving a very strong player.

But only time will tell. I'm very interested to read up on this coupling over the next year or so. Garcia won't be around forever. Simms is on his way out. Brian Griese is a billion years old. Gradkowski is gone baby gone.

The future of the Bucs QB position is in Josh Johnson's able hands.

Now if only he and Gruden can get along well enough to unlock the potential.

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