Thus far through the off-season there has been plenty of interesting twist and turns with regards to players positioning themselves in reserve roles. Most notably at the quarterback position for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where offensive coordinator Greg Olson proclaimed that third year pro Josh Johnson was on equal footing with undrafted rookie free agent Jevan Snead and second year quarterback Rudy Carpenter.
“The good thing is we have two younger players in Josh Johnson and Rudy Carpenter that aren’t that much older than him and haven’t been in the league that long, so development wise, they shouldn’t be much further along,” Bucs offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. “He has an opportunity to come in and compete with those guys as opposed to a four-, five-, six-, 10-year vet guy. He should be on equal footing with those guys.”
Now comes the twist, as Olson after practice today stated Johnson is entrenched as the number 2 at the moment.
“A year ago, he was out of the mix,” Olson said of Johnson. “We had Luke (McCown) and Byron (Leftwich) in here and we had just drafted Josh Freeman. So Josh Johnson was getting very few if any reps. The nice thing is we’re still in the process of developing Josh Freeman, but Josh (Johnson) has entrenched himself as that No. 2 guy right now, so he’s getting the majority of the other reps.
“He has a real solid handle, in my opinion. Mentally, he’s very sharp, he makes very few mistakes if any and he makes the most of the reps he’s getting.”
So in less then a month, Johnson has gone from being on equaling footing with the likes of Snead, an undrafted rookie and Carpenter a second year player who’s never thrown a pass in the NFL to “entrenched as the number 2”. Its clear whether by design or just a lack of common sense Olson is sending mixed signals to his quarterbacks. Let’s hope for the sake of practice reps another debacle doesn’t ensue like last year.