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If the Buccaneers won’t be keeping four quarterbacks on the roster, the longest-tenured signal-caller with the organization could be the first one to go.
On Tuesday, coach Bruce Arians declined to characterize Ryan Griffin as the “odd man out.”
“There are so many things that can happen between now and September 9 — nobody is out,” Arians said. “That’s for sure. Ryan, he comes out here and he’s as efficient as anybody we have. So no, I wouldn’t say that.”
Last year, the depth chart consisted of Tom Brady followed by Blaine Gabbert and Griffin. This year, the Bucs used a second-round pick on rookie quarterback Kyle Trask. So unless they decide to keep four, or unless one of the other three gets traded or lands on injured reserve, Griffin could be out.
Despite being with the team since 2015, Griffin has two regular-season appearances, both in 2019.
“I’ve just been here a really long time,” Griffin said separately on Tuesday. “I’m fortunate to be here this long. I would love to be out there starting every game, but it is what it is. You play the cards that you’re dealt. I think before even winning the Super Bowl you could tell as soon as we signed Tom [Brady] everybody was like, ‘Alright, I have to be on top of my game because I don’t want to let Tom down. I know Tom is going for seven.’ I know obviously I want to win a Super Bowl and that’s where the standard is, but then you know you add Tom. And there’s really only so many guys that you can put on a team and everyone feels like, ‘All right, pressure. I need to perform because everybody is going to be watching because we have this guy. I know if I perform well he’s going to take care of his job.’ Outside of Tom, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning — if you add a guy like that it’s just an instant accountability factor [and] everybody has to be on top of their game. And you saw that right away. For an NFL team with a bunch of grown men to be able to look up to that one guy because they’ve seen him do it. There are only so many guys that have done it. Obviously he’s done it the most — winning that many Super Bowls. It just has an interesting effect in the locker room and it reminded me of when I was in New Orleans with Drew. Just everybody knew, ‘I’ve got to take care of my business and I know Tom’s got us.'”
Brady definitely has elevated the expectations and the performance in Tampa. Still, there are only 53 roster spots. And there are currently 90 guys on the team. Between now and August 31, 37 players will be removed.
Some will be back on the practice squad. The presence of Brady, Gabbert, and Trask will make it harder than ever for Griffin to stick around.