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Simms Says He’ll Make it a Competition for QB position

Tampa Tribune writer reports Monday that Buccaneers QB Chris Simms says his mechanics are the reason why he is currently behind free agent QB Jeff Garcia for the starting job. “The biggest thing is the rotation in my upper body. To get torque on the ball you need to turn that [throwing] shoulder [back] and then turn into [the throw] and I’m not getting a whole lot of that. I think we all know I’m a pretty pure thrower; that’s always been my strong point and I’m just not where I’d like to be yet. I’m just not throwing the ball the way I’d like to. But if I can correct that, I think I’ll be fine,” Simms said. Even though he is behind Garcia in the race for the starting job, Simms vows to make a competition of it when training camp starts. “It’s real early and I know I’m not where I need to be yet in terms of throwing the ball and my timing. I’m just not quite there, but it will be on when July comes. I’ll be 100 percent back when the time comes.”

Word around Tampa is that coach Jon Gruden was trying to light a fire under Simms when the coach said that Garcia had moved ahead of Simms in the battle for the starting QB spot. Gruden is pushing for Simms to get tougher mentally and physically, so this might may be his way of giving the fourth-year quarterback a kick in the behind. Simms is a hard worker and is making good progress in his return from season-ending spleen surgery, but the Bucs are worried he won’t be 100 percent by the time training camp opens.

“Garcia has done a great job from Day One, since he’s been here,” Gruden said. “He understands the position. He’s moved offenses wherever he’s been. And right now Jeff Garcia has a big lead, to me, on the quarterback position. He brings a lot of juice and enthusiasm to our offensive team.” Gruden also said again that he’s working on adding the shotgun to the Bucs’ offensive scheme, and said “Garcia is a guy who’s been in the shotgun … if things go as planned and he is the quarterback, the shotgun will be a part of what we do.” It certainly appears that, barring injury, Garcia will start the season as the Bucs’ No. 1 quarterback.

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