“I’m Just The Slowest Black Quarterback”

June 11th, 2009

Bucs quarterback Byron Leftwich joined co-hosts Adam Schein and Jim Miller on “The Blitz” on Sirius NFL Radio Wednesday afternoon for a spirited discussion of what’s going on at One Buc Palace. Leftwich seemed like a good guy, never passing on a chance to take a shot at himself. Leftwich also seems to be the president of the Sgt. Winslow Fan Club.

Adam Schein: How is Tampa?

Byron Leftwich: Everything is great. It’s going good for me. I’m just picking up the system. I’m out throwing the ball and having a blast. It’s going great.

Jim Miller: Everything we hear is that you are making a move up (the depth chart)?

BL: I don’t purposely think about that. This is going to be a true competition so I will try my best and prove I am the guy for the job. I’m sure the others guys will too. I’m not going to talk about (starting). They promised me the best quarterback will play.

AS: What was your reaction when the Buccaneers went out and drafted a quarterback in the first round?

BL: I knew it was a possibility. I already understood that no matter what, the best quarterback will play. That’s all I needed to hear. I was ready for a challenge after what I’ve done in the league.

JM: Freeman is raw. It takes time to mature. You are not one that lacks arm strength and Jeff Jagodzinski likes to throw downfield. Where do you see yourself? I’m guessing you won’t be doing a lot of footwork?

BL: I fit in perfectly. It’s not a true west coast offense. I think they call every offense now a west coast offense. But this offense I fit in perfectly. We will run the ball and attack downfield. There are some west coast philosophies but it’s not a true west coast offense. It’s completely different. It’s more of an attack downfield and wait for them to make a mistake. It fits me perfectly.

AS: What do you think about Winslow?

BL: I knew he was good. I didn’t know he was this good. I mean that. Every time he goes out on the field he brings intensity and he brings out intensity to the position. It’s very rare to be around a guy like that. I never knew he was that good. Every time I see him do something it puts a smile on my face. He makes a quarterback a better football player.

JM: The Bucs offensive line, I’m excited about the line. Yeah, Sears is having issues but Zuttah can fill in well.

BL: You’ve got guys here who understand that they are good. It’s something to have an offensive line and to drop back in the pocket and not have anyone come close to you. That makes the quarterback a whole lot better. They are close and they are physical. That’s all you want. They are able to run block and pass block and that gives you a chance to do a lot of things offensively. That’s all you can ask for. I really appreciate that.

JM: I look at a dropback passer like you, you are not mobile. You will sit back there seven-step drops, five-step drops, whatever, and you just need a fraction more to throw. How’s that help your confidence?

BL: Everyone knows I am a true pocket passer. Of the 32 quarterbacks who start, there might be 28 of those. I’m not the slowest quarterback in the league; I’m just the slowest black quarterback in the league. That is the difference. I’m not as nimble as McNabb or Vince Young but I understand who I am and I will not play outside of my pocket. I need help from the offensive line but so do all pocket passers. I can’t do what Vince young does. I have to use my mind and get the ball in the hands of guys that cam make plays.

JM: Defenses will rush guys in the center to move you. Where are you at mentally with that?

BL: Once you are a pocket passer you are a pocket passer. You have seen it all. It’s not new to you. You learn to adjust and react. They have been doing the same thing to pocket passers for years. I just need to get the ball in the right guy’s hands. You know as a pocket passer where they will come with pressure. You get so much practice you understand.

AS: How do you handle the enthusiasm and the teamwork if it’s not your team right now?

BL: I’ve been behind Ben Roethlisberger and I haven’t changed. I love this game. I learned what it’s like to play this game and that’s what I do each game whether I am starting or not. If you are a starter you let the football play speak for itself. I don’t change. If I was a third string guy and I see someone do something wrong — we need you to do this or to do that — and it makes us all better as a team. I’ll just be myself. I love this game and you’ll see that in how serious I take this. I get guys to follow me.

AS: How do you throw a ball with a big fat ring on your finger?

BL: It’s exciting, but I will put it up in a frame. I understand what playing on a championship team is now and I will try to get another one. I think I understand what it takes now. I think I understand by being in the locker room with the Pittsburgh Steelers. I learned what it takes day in and day out.

AS: What did you learn?

BL: I learned so much. I’ve been on 2-14 teams and I’ve been on good teams. But now, I know what the locker room is supposed to be like. I’ve been around Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu and James Harrison and Ben Roethlisberger and Casey Hampton and Ike Harris and James Farrior and those guys and I see how they treat the game of football and when you treat the game of football like they do, it gives you a chance. I can’t exactly pinpoint it but when you are doing it you know. You can feel it.

One Response to ““I’m Just The Slowest Black Quarterback””

  1. Mr. Lucky Says:

    Quote Leftwhich: “I can’t do what Vince young does. ”

    Mr Lucky is glad of that – we don’t need any “psycho” players who are whining crybabies like Vince.