The names Stanley Jackson and Joe Germaine mean nothing to many of you football fans out there. For those who fall into that category, you all missed out on a glorious time in the sport when Ohio State was a national championship contender and started two quarterbacks. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may not be Super Bowl bound, but they are currently pulling a page from John Cooper’s playbook. Their first depth chart of the season has been released and the starting quarterback is literally listed as Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask.
College teams have played multiple quarterbacks for decades. Georgia had a Justin Fields package his freshman year even though Jake Fromm was the starter. Tim Tebow was a jump passing, bulldozing fullback quarterback goal line hybrid his freshman year at Florida. In the previous decade, Penn State put Trace McSorley and Tommy Stevens on the field at the same time. Germaine and Jackson, however, split the snaps pretty much 50/50 during the 1996 season.
Jackson attempted 165 passes to Germaine’s 147. The next season there was a greater disparity in their pass attempts, the majority going to Germaine with 210. Jackson still finished 1997 with 135 attempts and also ran the ball 81 times for 217 yards and two touchdowns.
If Todd Bowles decides to adopt Cooper’s strategy of alternating quarterbacks for an entire season, I might watch every Buccaneers game in 2023. Big Ten football from the 20th century being used in the modern-day NFL might be more entertaining than a Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals matchup.
Trask or Mayfield is standing next to Todd Bowles on the sideline at all times and then all of a sudden he pats one of them on the rear end to go in the game. Then once in the game, the offense doesn’t change much with either of them on the field. Mayfield’s average of 132 rushing yards per season would be Jackson’s ability to actually run a football past the line of scrimmage as opposed to Trask’s and Germaine’s similar athleticism.
In reality, even though both Mayfield and Trask are listed as starters, this is more of a 1991 Jeff Hostetler and Phil Simms situation without the Super Bowl ring. A true quarterback competition that likely will last for most, if not the entire summer. Which for Mayfield means that the regular season started Day 1 of OTAs. Every snap this five-year veteran takes in practice and preseason is him fighting to remain a viable NFL starting quarterback.
This QB battle certainly makes the Buccaneers one of the more interesting teams to watch this preseason, but they would be appointment television if Bowels decided to rotate Mayfield and Trask in and out by the series, and sometimes by the play.
It did sort of work for Ohio State. Yes, Michigan beat them at home and crushed their championship dreams in 1996, but they still advanced to the Rose Bowl and won. The Buccaneers play in the worst division in the NFL. Maybe their two quarterbacks can lead them to the top of the lackluster NFC South.
John Cooper was no football visionary, but maybe his unconventional approach to quarterbacking is just what the Buccaneers need to save a season that appears to be dead upon arrival.
I would watch it, which for me is a good enough reason for Bowles to change that “or” on the depth to an “and.”