Monday Notes: Griese's the guy ... for now

Brian Griese

By moving Brian Griese into the starting role at quarterback last weekend, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden was hoping for a victory. He got it. But did he lose another weapon in the process? Find out in the Monday notes, with news from Gruden's Monday press conference.

The Bucs thought quarterback Brian Griese would miss fewer throws and make more plays than Jeff Garcia.

That was the reason coach Jon Gruden made the change to Griese at quarterback.

But in his first start for Tampa Bay since 2005 -- a 24-9 win over the Atlanta Falcons -- that really wasn't the case.

Griese, 33, missed open receivers deep like Joey Galloway and others short, like tight end Alex Smith. But he did enough by completing 18 of 31 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions to earn a start next week at Chicago.

"In his first start back here, he won the game as a starter," Gruden said of Griese. "That is a big compliment in pro football. I thought he missed some guys that he normally hits, but he managed the football game and made some timely plays on third down. I think he will get better and better."

That chance apparently won't be afforded to Garcia, who was the inactive third quarterback Sunday. Garcia was benched because of ankle, calf and finger injuries. But it was his rift with Gruden that he apparently can't overcome.

Gruden told reporters on Monday that he didn't "anticipate" any changes at quarterback this week and that Garcia's role would be evaluated on a "week-to-week" basis.

The Bears know Griese, who played the past two seasons as a backup to Rex Grossman in Chicago. That could be a real advantage to the Bears.

Griese said he wasn't focused on his passing numbers; he just wanted to win the game.

"First and foremost, that was my goal, to win the game, because this was a huge game for us," Griese said. "Secondly, it was to come out and knock some rust off myself and get out there and play with these guys and get some rhythm going. I think we did some good things. However, there are some things that I think we can improve on and I look forward to that opportunity. But I'm excited about the opportunity that we have in front of us. ... I'll show up to work every day and work hard with these guys."

Griese said he's actually looking forward to returning to Chicago and testing the Bears defense.

"It will be fun. I love the city of Chicago and I still have a lot of friends on the team," he said. "I'm very familiar with their defensive scheme and I'm looking forward to going back."

Galloway, Talib have issues: Both WR Joey Galloway and CB Aqib Talib enter this week with injuries that could keep them out of the Chicago game.

Galloway suffered an ankle injury in the fourth quarter on Sunday, an injury Gruden said caused "some concern" among the team. Galloway missed all of preseason with a groin injury.

Galloway had just two catches for 18 yards.

First-round pick CB Aqib Talib suffered a hamstring injury on Sunday and is being evaluated as well. He claimed his first NFL interception earlier in the game.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

LB Derrick Brooks started his 194th straight game, despite a hamstring injury that forced him to miss practice last week. Brooks played in a limited role and didn't remain in the game on many passing downs.

RB Earnest Graham is becoming a big-play runner. He had a 68-yard run to seal the game against Atlanta. Graham had a 46-yard run against the Saints last week.

RB Warrick Dunn is getting more comfortable in his role with the Bucs. He scored his first TD for Tampa Bay since 2001 -- a 17-yard run on third-and-goal.

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