QB Tim Rattay started the first four games of the 2005 season for the 49ers despite the presence of first-overall pick Alex Smith
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have addressed their sudden quarterback shortage – whether it proves to be long-term or short-term – in impressive and decisive fashion.
On Tuesday, the Buccaneers acquired sixth-year veteran quarterback Tim Rattay from the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for an undisclosed pick in the 2006 draft.
The Bucs' issues at quarterback arose suddenly, with the injury to starter Brian Griese's left knee on Sunday, and the team had to act fast if it wished to keep all possible avenues of player acquisition open. The NFL's trading deadline just happened to be 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, the Bucs had worked out several possible free agent candidates at the position, players who have not been on any NFL roster this season. Instead, they ended up with one of the 32 quarterbacks that was starting in the league on opening day this September.
Rattay, who first entered the NFL as a seventh-round draft pick of the 49ers in 2000, is known as a smart, accurate passer who plays with poise and has good downfield vision. Since the start of the 2004 season, he has started 13 games, including the first four this year.
The 49ers invested the first overall pick of the 2005 draft in Utah quarterback Alex Smith and immediately installed Smith at the top of the depth chart. However, Rattay won the job back in training camp and opened the 49ers' games against St. Louis, Philadelphia, Dallas and Arizona. In the season opener, he led the 49ers to an upset of the Rams by completing 11 of 16 passes for 165 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, compiling a near-perfect passer rating of 141.9.
In all, Rattay has appeared in 32 NFL games with 16 starts. His career statistics include 356 completions in 586 attempts for 3,941 yards, 24 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. He has an excellent career completion percentage of 60.8% and a career passer rating of 81.6.
Rattay started 33 games during his collegiate career at Louisiana Tech, finishing second in NCAA history with 12,746 passing yards. He was only the third player in NCAA history to throw more than 100 career touchdown passes.
Rattay's addition gives the Bucs' four quarterbacks, including the injured Griese. Third-year man Chris Simms is expected to start during Griese's absence, the length of which has yet to be determined. Coincidentally, the Bucs' other passer, Luke McCown, was also a standout at Louisiana Tech.
To make room for Rattay on the active roster, the Bucs released rookie fullback Rick Razzano.
The Bucs also made a series of changes to their practice squad on Tuesday.
Rookie wide receiver Paris Warren, who was released from the 53-man roster on Saturday to make room for Razzano's return, was re-signed to the practice squad. The Bucs also released two players from that crew: running back Ian Smart and tackle Drew Strojny. The moves leave the Bucs with one available spot on that eight-man unit.
Smart had just returned to the Bucs last Wednesday. Strojny signed to Tampa Bay's practice squad on September 7, days before the season opener.