Carson Strong has a certain air of mystery around him. He has the cannon arm scouts love to see, but his mobility is lacking after several surgeries on his right knee. After his first day of practice at the Senior Bowl, Strong said he believes his knee will be less of a problem moving forward in his career.
“It just wasn’t quite ready,” Strong said. “But there was no way I wasn’t gonna play the season and as the year went on, I got better. I played the last game without the knee brace. I feel comfortable right now without it. I’m still getting my feet under me right now and still getting better, but I feel good.
“I definitely have to beat teams with my mind. When I put on tape this past season, you know, I was a statue, especially the first half of the year coming off my surgery and not being all the way ready,” he added. “But I did get better and I do feel like I can step up in the pocket and extend plays and keep my eyes downfield.”
Strong didn’t wear a brace during practice on Tuesday either. He looked comfortable moving around and did show he wasn’t a statue, however he wasn’t without his struggles throughout the day.
“A lot of times today, I had my eyes backwards. I had the play flipped in my mind,” Strong said. “I just wasn’t seeing it correctly. That’s something that I’m going to spend a lot of time on today to make sure that I’m more prepared tomorrow.”
Strong is aware of his predicament. He’s not the Josh Allen or Patrick Mahomes teams are racing to draft thanks to his lack of mobility. He mentioned that he looked up to Peyton Manning and Brett Favre growing up, so his style never lent itself in that direction anyway. He acknowledged that his strong pocket passer traits are what give him a seat at the table and he’ll lean on them to make the most of his opportunity.
“I’m a good decision maker. I have a strong arm and I’m very confident in my arm. I can make all the throws and, you know, today I didn’t have my best showing, but tomorrow I definitely want to come out here have a better show and spin the ball a little bit better.”
Strong was quick to point out his mistakes and knows he has to rebound. Time is short at the Senior Bowl, but as Strong pointed out himself, time is short in the NFL too.
“I want to make sure I’m damn ready for my one chance when I get it,” he said. “I’m the type of guy that learns by getting thrown in the fire. I learned best by making mistakes and not making the same mistake twice.”
Day one is usually a more difficult day for the quarterbacks as they work on creating chemistry with brand new targets. As the days wear on, Strong will have to turn what appears to be a solid understanding of anticipation into accurate, completed passes. As it turns out, Strong has two familiar targets with him in Mobile: wide receiver Romeo Doubs and tight end Cole Turner. Strong doesn’t want to lean on his own guys too much, but it could help him find the rhythm he needs to put together a strong week.
“All of us are ‘all ball.’ That’s all we care about and that’s why we’re here,” Strong said. That’s how we got ourselves into this position. We just grinded for four years and we got better over time. And so, you know, we’re just taking it one day at a time. We still have a lot to improve upon. So we’re just getting better to make sure that we’re ready for Saturday.”