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Confidence or cockiness: narratives and quarterbacks

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Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes many people misinterpret confidence as being cocky. Here is a definition of confidence from Merriam-webster.com:

: a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something

: a feeling or belief that someone or something is good or has the ability to succeed at something

: the feeling of being certain that something will happen or that something is true

Now here is the definition of cocky from the same definition source, to keep consistency of defining:

: having or showing confidence in a way that is annoying to other people

Hmmm...  after defining the two words, I should re-state my initial statement to "Being cocky is in the eye of the beholder".

When a small-school, undrafted rookie who did not play a year after his draft year says he can supplant an established veteran, then would you consider that being cocky or being confident? When a journeyman defensive end says he can notch double digit sacks, then would you consider that being cocky or confident? When a soon-to-be-drafted quarterback says he wants to win the Super Bowl, then would you consider that being cocky or confident?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers already have two of the three players mentioned above. Undrafted kicker Patrick Murray supplanted big leg Connor Barth. Journeyman Jacquies Smith is now going to be the Bucs' pass rushing specialist, allowing Tampa to part ways with defensive end Michael Johnson.

Patrick Murray had this notion on his situation to winning the starting position in an article by Pat Yasinskas:

"I came in here and I believed I was going to be the starter," Murray said. "I believe if you come in thinking a different way it's just not going to happen. Credit to Connor. He pushed me every single day. He's a great kicker and I know he's going to land somewhere really soon."

But it's Murray, who came into the league as an undrafted free agent, that ended up winning Tampa Bay's kicking job. Barth didn't have a bad preseason, but Murray had an excellent one.

"The fact that I came in from day one that I was going to win the job and nobody was going to beat me no matter what they threw at me," Murray said. "Coach [Lovie Smith] put me in some difficult situations and I excelled at them and, thankfully, I'm a part of this organization."

Buccaneers.com had conducted an interview with Jacquies Smith.  Here is a snippet of the dialogue:

Q: You bounced around on a couple teams before you landed in Tampa. When you were signed by the Bucs, what were your expectations?
A: "I got to Tampa in Week 2. I didn't really know what to think. This was my fourth team. I just knew they claimed me off waivers so that kind of gave me the idea that they saw some preseason stuff to know that they liked and they wanted to get their hands on me. My mindset, honestly, was to come in and be able to grasp the scheme and help the team out as much as possible. If being a starter came with it... when you're growing up playing football you want to be a starter. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I didn't think I was capable of starting in the National Football League because I did. I got in there and I did what I needed to do. Once I got an understanding of what was going on with the playbook and what Lovie and those guys were asking of me I think my play picked up. I was always confident in my abilities, it was just getting that chance." 

[..]

Q: When you look back at this year, how will you remember it?
A: "I feel like I played pretty good for the chances that I got and made the most of my opportunity to start the last eight games. But I honestly think that I'm just scratching the surface. I think that I can be a whole lot better. I consider myself a double-digit sack guy. I really do think that. That's one of my goals for the next year - just be a consistent starter every week and give the team what they need every week. I see myself as a double-digit sack guy and that's why I'm working hard right now. Some people probably still don't even know who I am. That's one of the things that I'm going to work on this year - work hard and not to be a breakout guy, but to be a consistent end week in and week out."

Both of these players thought big. Murray supplanting established veteran Barth came to fruition. Smith has earned a starting spot and now is focusing on double-digit sacks after being a journeyman. And now the Buccaneers are on the cusp of choosing quarterback Jameis Winston with the first, overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft. His big goal is to win a Super Bowl, not this team Winston versus team Mariota. The following is a quote of Winston, courtesy of usatoday.com:

"I'm not into no competition type of thing. I'm out here to win games and be the face of someone's franchise. This is not no competition just between me and Mariota. One thing about me, I plan on winning the Super Bowl next year. I want it to be Jameis versus Peyton Manning. Jameis versus Tom Brady.... I want to be viewed like that. After all this combine stuff, you're not going to hear no more about Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, but I want my name to stay relevant for the next 15 to 20 years."

Is Winston cocky or confident? And does it matter? It seems as though the Lovie Smith squad likes this type of personality.  It is infectious. It is contagious. And it can have a positive effect on teammates. Do not take my word for it. Here is the Bucs' quarterback's coach, Mike Bajakian, after Winston had his private work out for Tampa recently:

"He's got a lot of positive energy, that was evident," said Bajakian. "It's evident on video when you watch him and it's evident when you see how he carries himself around his teammates and his coaches. We watched the Pro Day workout, how he's interacting with his teammates among all those spectators and coaches and evaluators, and he obviously has an influence on them. He has a lot of energy about him and that energy affects his teammates in a positive way."

This notion is not a new notion. It has been around for a while. In a late February interview on "NFL AM" show of Tampa Bay Bucs' cornerback Alterraun Verner had disclosed on who he would want to be quarterback of choice to be for the Bucs. Here are his words:

"It's tough. I probably like Winston, from a lot of stuff I've been hearing, a lot of things I've been seeing and things like that," he said. "It's hard for me to go 100 percent there, because I haven't seen him really play. I'm going more on hearsay and things around. From his leadership qualities, that's what I've been hearing a lot. As a quarterback, you want to have that strong leader in the locker room and on the field. Somebody you know you can go out and you feel like you can do anything. From what I hear, that's the type of guy Jameis is. Like I said, the other options are good, too."

The only thing holding the organization back on possibly not choosing Winston with the first overall pick would be his off-field issues. Yet in Pewter Reports' latest Mock Draft, they denote it is no longer a problem with the organization.

Winston's background has been fully vetted by the team, and Bucs sources tell PewterReport.com that he's been cleared. In addition to tremendous physical ability to throw the ball and make plays, Winston has an uncanny football I.Q. and that will allow him to hit the ground running as a rookie in Koetter's offense.

Tampa Bay fans, be prepared for an influx of confidence from one Jameis Winston and the fancies of a Super Bowl on the horizon.  Allow me to conclude with a quote from Winston's 2013 Heisman Trophy speech:

It means so much to me, but I've got one thing to say: At Florida State, if we're going to do it then, we do it big then.

Tampa...Let's do it big!