McCown or Garcia?
Well, Gruden seems to think Garcia is going to go, but somehow I have a feeling that he may not go, or may not last long if it appears the injury is hampering him. The Bucs, though they can still get into the playoffs with a loss today, are in a tough spot where they really need to win this game to take control of their playoff destiny, and stay in the hunt for the Division. If the Bucs win out (likely if they win tomorrow) then they just need the Panthers to lose one game (they host the Broncos, go to the Giants, then go to the Saints), and they win the division.
So Gruden isn't likely to give Garcia too much of a leash in this one if that injury hampers him. In fact, if he doesn't appear to be close to 100% in pre-games, I think Luke will get the nod. Luke started against the Saints last year in another "control for the division" game, and won. In fact, all three of his starts were solid, with him finishing with passer ratings of 108.7 against the Saints, 108.6 against the Panthers, and 86.1 against the Texans. Coming off the bench against the 49ers he had a 70.4 passer rating. All solid numbers. His biggest problem was taking a second or two too long to deliver a pass, and thereby taking some sacks. Of course, our line was a bit of a sieve up the middle, which is no longer the case with Faine in there.
Soe we'll see what happens. McCown is clearly a more talented QB than Garcia and Griese combined, but his lack of game experience shows in the speed with which he goes through his progressions. Whether or not he'll be faster now is hard to say, though he did appear to be noticeably quicker in his reads in the pre-season. Whoever starts, let's hope we get this win and maybe we'll see the Panthers go down to the Broncos. If so, we can root for the Panthers to beat the Giants and maybe still actually have a shot at homefield throughout. Right now, we're the top wildcard, which still means hitting the road.