Waiting for a great QB takes time

by Gary Shelton on August 4, 2023

in general

Friday, 4 a.m.

And so the porch light has been turned off. The goodbyes have been said. The replacement, such as he is, has the keys to the offense.

For the Tampa Bay Bucs, the wait has begun.

Granted, Tom Brady didn't have his best year last year. He was distracted and skittish, and he missed more simple throws than ever. Still, he was pretty much all the offense the Bucs had, and so you can understand the lingering whispers that he might yet come back. The Bucs have rarely seen his sort, and they aren't likely to see it again soon.

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That's the thing to understand as you turn the page on Brady and his incredible career. It takes time to replace such a legend. Usually, it takes more than Baker Mayfield, too.

Oh, I know, I know. The world has decided that Mayfield is somewhat short of measuring up as an NFL starter these days. That's understandable. What other quarterback in the league is in a battle with a guy who has thrown nine career passes?

Look across the history of the league. Winning is usually a combination of a great head coach and a great quarterback (Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes, Bill Walsh, Joe Montana). And those kind of guys don't come around very often.

Ask Belichick: He's into his fourth season without Brady, and they've never gotten past the wild card game.

Ask Miami: Dan Marino left in 1998, and the Dolphins have not seen his like again.

Ask the Jets. For Namath left in 1976. They're hoping that Aaron Rodgers can finally fill his shoes.

It's the same all over. After John Elway, the Broncos waited 14 years for Peyton Manning, who left eight years ago.

Oh, ocasssially, a team can get lucky. When Green Bay lost Brett Favre, it had Rodgers ready. But the Packers went 14 years between Bart Starr and Favre.

How about Kansas City? The Chiefs said goodbye to Len Dawson in 1974, and hit on Joe Montana at his finish in '91, and then waited for Mahomes in 2018.

In other words, it takes time. Heck Cleveland is still trying to replace Otto Graham. Detroit would very much like the next Bobby Layne.

In other words, there are a lot of incompletions between great passes.

Who knows? Maybe Mayfield is the next Rich Gannon, shirking aside mediocrity for a great season.

Still, remind yourself to be patient.

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