Head coach Raheem Morris hinted Monday afternoon that there’s a strong possibility the Bucs will run with three quarterbacks this season.
He dubbed third-string option Rudy Carpenter “Mr. August” after the training camp and preseason the second-year signal caller out of Arizona State has been piecing together. Carpenter highlighted that effort with his 10-play, 71-yard touchdown drive Saturday night against Miami that proved to be a game-winner.
“Rudy’s ‘Mr. August,’ ” Morris said. “He makes it hard for us to go with two guys because he plays well in August. He does well for us. He’s the ultimate game manager, he’s smart, he’s sharp, he’s into it, he’s a gym rat; just a great guy.”
Carpenter entered the league as an undrafted free agent and was picked up by Dallas in April 2009. Tampa Bay signed the 6-foot-2, 212-pound quarterback from the Cowboys’ practice squad in November 2009. He was promoted to the Bucs’ active roster in November of last season as the third-string quarterback.
Carpenter's yet to throw an NFL pass in the regular season, but has played extensively this preseason and in 2010. This year he's completed 62.5 percent of his passes (15 of 24) for 177 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions in three games. In 2010, Carpenter made more pass attempts than any Bucs quarterback, completing 56.9 percent of them (33 of 58). He threw three TDs and one pick last preseason.
The former Sun Devil is behind backup Josh Johnson and starter Josh Freeman on the Bucs depth chart. Johnson, drafted by Tampa Bay in 2008 as a fifth-rounder, has 17 games of experience and four starts (all coming in 2009) under his belt and becomes an unrestricted free agent after this season.
Freeman also was asked of Carpenter’s preseason performance and said Monday that he feels comfortable with the guys he has behind him.
“We love Rudy,” Freeman said. “He’s a great guy [and] great teammate [and] great friend. I love where our quarterback room has been since I have been here. Crompton’s also a great guy. There’s something reassuring about being the starting quarterback when you got guys like Rudy and Josh Johnson in your corner always talking it up with you. They keep things fun during the week when you get late in the season and the weeks get long.”