Jeff Carlson is a regular contributor to PewterReport.com. In his regular columns, Carlson will share expert analysis and insight regarding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and NFL based on his previous playing experience with the Bucs and in the league.
Carlson played quarterback in the NFL from 1990-92. He spent two seasons (1990-91) with the Bucs and one season (1992) with the New England Patriots. The former Weber State signal caller originally entered the NFL as a fourth-round pick with the Los Angeles Rams.
Since his NFL playing career ended, Carlson has remained active and busy in the Tampa Bay area by heading up America's Best Quarterback, which is a clinic that trains quarterbacks privately or in groups in Tampa year round. To inquire about America's Best Quarterback, visit AmericasBestQB.com, e-mail
or call 813-789-9255.
In addition to his work with America's Best Quarterback, Carlson is a regular host on Bright House Sports Network, which is PewterReport.com's television partner.
When looking at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the one thing that stands out about their roster is their youth he is the most experienced quarterback the team has. Josh Johnson has only four starts in his career while Rudy Carpenter and Jevan Snead have never seen NFL action. Snead is an undrafted rookie, and Carpenter is a year removed from the same status. All of these quarterbacks have the challenge of winning over their teammates and developing the swagger to play quarterback in the NFL.
Being a backup quarterback and then establishing yourself as ‘the guy' is a big challenge for any young quarterback, no matter how high you get drafted. I think there is a lot of ego in pro athletes. When you are a star or supposed star at quarterback there is usually a lot of ego. Even in the humblest of guys there is a lot of ego in a competitive nature or wherever it might be. When you are a backup or a young guy you don't always carry yourself in the same way as when you are ‘the guy'. That extends down into the college ranks and high school level as well. When you are young guy that is a backup you can't have that swagger until you prove it towards your teammates.
The backups need to have humility and deference towards the starter for team unity. You have to have the personal confidence and belief in yourself, but until you're the man you are confident from a respectful standpoint to the starter. You stay humble knowing that within you a starting quarterback is there, but you have to prove it on the field before you unleash it in the locker room.
When you are the guy you walk around with the swagger. The body language and the presence, when you are the backup that is trying to make it onto the team it is a different mindset than being the starter. Some of it is money and status, but mostly it is due to experience. First off, you are the leader of the football team. Everybody knows who you are. It is up to you to make the team go.
Right now it is up to Josh Freeman to make the Buccaneers 2010 season a success and take the next step. In watching Freeman during this year's OTAs, he's taking to it and he's walking around like he is the man. That is very good for the team.
However, you don't develop the swagger until you prove it. When you are a young quarterback that is playing and having growing pains like interceptions and accuracy issues. Freeman has to do it on the field to have the command of the team like a Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.
In the mean time while you haven't yet proven it on Sundays the only thing that you can do is work harder than everybody else, in the weight room and knowing the offense. When you are in meetings and you can speak the system to the coaching staff in a back-and-forth, the other players see that and they trust you more in increments. They start to trust you more when you are first in the door and the last one out. You have to be a guy that has work habits that are the opposite of a Jamarcus Russell, who's work habits were so bad that nobody respected him and it caused failure on the football field.
When you are the Tim Tebow or Josh Freeman kind of guy, that is working harder than everybody else, you earn respect off the field. The work ethic and knowledge help to prove you're a professional along the way. Then you have to prove it on the field. That is truly the only way to get the full respect and following of the team.
Now at the same time you don't have to be a ‘rah-rah' kind of guy to make it in the NFL. After I left Weber State, the quarterback that followed me broke all my records and his name was Jamie Martin. He was a 14-year NFL backup quarterback with some starts here and there. He was quietest and meekest guy I've ever been around. But he made it on an NFL roster for 14 years. When he did play, he played pretty well. He was extremely quiet and meek.
Vinny Testaverde was not the most out-spoken type guy. He was super athletic and competitive, but didn't come across as boisterous, strong-willed type guy in person. I think success can be had with all personalities at quarterback. Whether it is old and outspoken, or quiet and introspective. Just like in coaching you can have success being a hard-nosed guy that yells and screams, but you can also be successful as a quiet guy. A good contrast is Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden. Both are Super Bowl winners with very different personalities and both are successful. Quarterback is the same way.
By Jeff Carlson as told to Pewter Report Editor-in-Chief Charlie Campbell.