“Leftwich Wasn’t A Mentor”July 11th, 2011
What does a mentor do in the National Football League? Joe believes a mentor is a player who dumps his knowledge of the game on a younger player at every opportunity, sets a solid example and is eager to answer said player’s questions.
Per Pat Yasinskas, NFC South blogger for ESPN.com, Byron Leftwich wasn’t a mentor for Josh Freeman. Yasinskas makes this assertion in a post about whether rookie Cam Newton should have a veteran quarterback at his disposal.
Look at how Tampa Bay handled Josh Freeman. They had Byron Leftwich there as a (very short) bridge in Freeman’s rookie year. But Leftwich wasn’t a mentor. Freeman’s development came because he worked hard and because he got some very good coaching from offensive coordinator Greg Olson and Alex Van Pelt joined the Bucs as quarterbacks coach last season. Freeman frequently credits Olson and Van Pelt for his progress. It was kind of the same thing with Matt Ryan in Atlanta. Chris Redman might be an extra set of eyes and ears for Ryan, but offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and former quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave were the ones who developed him.
It seems a bit harsh to say Leftwich wasn’t a mentor to Freeman. Perhaps he wasn’t?
If so, (Joe’s not buying it) then the Bucs really missed the mark in not simply keeping good guy Luke McCown as their 2009 starter.