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Pro Football Weekly's Eric Edholm brings you hot news and the inside scoop about the NFL.

Buccaneers show desperation by benching Leftwich, going to Johnson

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Updated Oct. 06, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.
By Eric Edholm

I am not going to make a case for the Buccaneers' offense on Sunday because there is no case to be made.

They were awful. As I wrote earlier, this was a simple case of the Giants manhandling the Bucs across the line of scrimmage. It was the Giants' 11 each being better than the Tampa 11.

Byron Leftwich was not good, throwing short and inaccurately, but he had no help from his run game (Cadillac Williams and Derrick Ward: seven carries, 10 yards) and his offensive line.

But today the Bucs announced that Josh Johnson, who cleaned up the mess after the starters left the game on Sunday, would be starting next week against the Redskins.

This is a hasty and strange move by Raheem Morris.

Sure, Johnson gave the team a tiny spark against a vanilla defense once the game was in hand, and I have always been intrigued by this kid. But what message does this send to the team?

Leftwich guided an offense that was ranked fourth in the NFL after two games and played mostly sound ball. He's flawed and limited, yes, but he was the best of the Bucs' four QBs coming out of camp and will not kill you. The tenative plan was to play Leftwich now and see what he could do and then transtion to first-round pick Josh Freeman at the right time.

But now they are going to Johnson? Why? Because of a 15-yard scramble? Because he led the Bucs' only drive of substance in an embarrassing performance? It happened when time was winding down and most of the starters had put their baseball caps on. The fans mostly had left the building.

This doesn't make sense to me. It wreaks of a panic move. Are they still going to go to Freeman at some point? If Johnson wasn't good enough three weeks ago, what makes you think he can get it done now? What if Johnson flops against Washington? Who do you go to then?

This might be the first highly critical move that Morris has made in his young head-coaching career.

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