Former fifth round pick, QB Josh Johnson will be given a chance to compete for the starting position for the Buccaneers in 2009 or at lest that is what he told Jim Flynn & Charlie Campbell of PewterReport.com, after the team concluded a voluntary workout Wednesday afternoon.
When asked Johnson said “most definitely” it is a bit surprising seeing as how PewterReport has written and suggested that Johnson was still a long ways off from challenging for the job. It now turns out that the coaching staff has seen enough out of Johnson behind the scenes that it feels comfortable with his progression to allow him to take the next step.
“That’s what all of last year was for, for me to learn and come into this season ready to compete for the job. That’s why I came in early everyday and studied film with Coach Olson. Once I picked up on the playbook, it was time to understand defenses. It helped going against our defense in practice, but watching film I can make the right calls and understand what I’m seeing from the defense. That’s why I’m just as much a part of this competition as anybody else. A lot of people outside of this organization might not understand that, but in time people will get a chance to see what I can do.
“From my understanding we’re all competing. If you’re on the roster you’re competing. Coach [Jagodzinski] gave all of us our expectations together. He and I are building a relationship right now. I told him, ‘Coach, whatever you feel like I need to work on to help me become a better quarterback, please tell me.’ He was the same way, ‘When you guys have suggestions bring them to me.’ As of right now he gave us a very good understanding of what he expects from the quarterback position.”
With the lines of communication clearly wide open between the players and the coaching staff, which is a stark contrast to what it was under the old regime, you wonder just how ready Johnson really is.
“It’s understandable when you consider I was a fifth-round draft pick,” said Johnson. “A lot of people weren’t at practice last year a lot to see me in practice and my development as an NFL player. It’s understandable, but that’s the whole point of me proving it on the field. People can say whatever they want, but it all boils down to what you do on the field, and I’m looking forward to getting my opportunity.”
From a playbook standpoint all three current players are on equal footing as the new offense is installed this off-season. While Johnson readily admits that McCown & Griese might have a slight advantage when it comes to experience in the NFL.
“Those guys have been in the league a lot longer obviously, and I still have a lot to learn, but I’ve learned enough to where I can compete now. Being on the field, it’s kind about going out there and playing as opposed to last year when I was thinking so much. They do have six or seven years on me, but I feel like I’ve prepared and learned enough in the past year to go out and compete to the best of my ability and try and win the starting job.”
Johnson is more focused on improving his own game, he is not worried about out performing the veterans and being regulated to backup duty.
“I can’t control all that,” said Johnson. “I just want to make sure I go out and do the best I can when the opportunity presents itself. I’m getting the opportunity to compete, and that’s all I can ever ask for.”
It now seems, with everything that has come out over the last few days from Morris and now this. That the team might very well be comfortable with it’s current group of signal callers so much so that it intends to bypass selecting a quarterback with its first round pick in Aprils draft.