|Garcia gives sputtering Bucs offense hope for improvement|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 19 August 2007 07:14|
At 37, the Tampa Bay quarterback is still capable of beating opponents with his legs, too.
And it's that mobility and ability to sometimes make something out of nothing that gives the Buccaneers hope for improvement on offense this season.
``I think I've always been one to find ways to keep plays alive,'' Garcia said after completing all six of his passes for 43 yards and a touchdown during Saturday night's 31-19 preseason loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
``I don't think I ever necessarily give up on a play, and I'm not just going to go down when I feel the pressure. It's just one of those things where you don't necessarily make a living out of it, but you have to make plays like that during a game.''
The Bucs ran 55 plays against the Jaguars, but the two Garcia made during a limited appearance illustrated why coach Jon Gruden is confident the offense will be better after ranking 29th in yards and 31st in scoring last season.
Luke McCown's ability to make plays on the run also is one of the reason he's risen to No. 2 on the depth chart behind Garcia.
Against Jacksonville, the fourth-year pro led the Bucs in rushing with 37 yards on three carries, including a 27-yard scramble in the third quarter.
``Our quarterbacks have had more rushing yardage in two games than in six years since I've been here,'' said Gruden, who's had difficulty building an offensive line capable of protecting traditional pocket-style passers.
Garcia gives our football team something we haven't had here, and that's playmaking. He can make all kinds of plays - throwing, running, audibling. I think he's a heck of a football player. Tonight was a real good example.''
Garcia was a three-time Pro Bowl selection while he was with the San Francisco 49ers from 1999-2003, however his performance leveled off during unproductive seasons in Cleveland (2004) and Detroit (2005).
He revived his career in 2006 when he replaced an injured Donovan McNabb and went 5-1 as a starter to help Philadelphia make the playoffs. When the Eagles didn't try to retain him, Garcia signed with the Bucs as a free agent in March.
After playing two series and failing to lead the offense to a first down during Tampa Bay's preseason opener, he was quite a bit sharper against Jacksonville.
On his 19-yard TD throw to David Boston, he rolled to his right to escape the pass rush and spotted the receiver just before being chased out of bounds.
``It's definitely satisfying any time you can do something like that. ... I was getting ready to just throw the ball out of bounds, and he all of a sudden struck back and gave me a chance to find an opening,'' Garcia said.
``It's not a throw that you want to make a living off of because it is a dangerous throw in that sort of situation - rolling right, throwing back across the body, across the field. But it was put in a place where I thought only he could make a play.''
Boston, a one-time Pro Bowler trying to make the Bucs roster after missing most of the last three seasons because of injuries, lunged forward to make the catch close to the ground.
``Jeff is a guy who his whole career, he's made plays, scrambling outside the pocket, making things happen,'' Boston said. ``This is a glimpse of what he can do.''