The Cowboys signed Rudy Carpenter as an undrafted free agent in 2009, the same year they drafted Stephen McGee in the fourth round. In the end, Dallas kept McGee over Carpenter on the active roster, even though Carpenter outplayed McGee. The Cowboys signed Carpenter to the practice squad that season before Tampa Bay signed him to its active roster.
Three years later, Carpenter is back as the Cowboys claimed him off waivers last month. He again will compete with McGee for the No. 3 job, though Carpenter likely has a better shot this time. McGee is in the final year of his contract.
"I have no idea," Carpenter said when asked about what he's been told about the competition for the No. 3 job. "I’m going on my fourth year in the NFL, and I’ve been told a lot of things and a lot of things have been said. For me, I’m just going to go and compete and do my job. I don’t think anyone thought I had a chance to make it here my first year, and I was able stick around a while. I feel like there’s a reason why I’m back. I’m just going to do what I do and compete and hopefully get an opportunity."
Carpenter, 26, got into one regular-season game with the Bucs last season, although he didn't throw a pass. In the 2011 preseason, Carpenter completed 24 of 42 passes for 388 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 104.1 passer rating.
Carpenter said he is way ahead of where he was three years ago when he arrived at Valley Ranch.
"I came in here [after the Cowboys claimed him] and I was like, 'I pretty much remember a lot of [the offense],'" Carpenter said. "I got in here with [quarterbacks coach] Wade [Wilson] when we were allowed to watch film again. I was calling all the plays, shifts and motions. It was kind of like I never left. For my position, when you can do that, it just takes a lot of anxiety out of the whole situation."
-- Charean Williams