Wednesdays at One Buc Place are normally the start of a busy work week for coaches and players. Today was even busier.
The Buccaneers made the decision to bench quarterback Josh Freeman and name rookie Mike Glennon the starter. After the offense’s struggles the first three weeks of this season many speculated that it was only a matter of time before the decision was made. Although others may view this as being a move that was done too early into the season, head coach Greg Schiano explained how the decision was made and why it was made at this point of the season.
“(General Manager) Mark (Dominik) and I believed that this was the best thing to do for our football team,” Schiano said. “So if we felt that way, we felt it was time to execute it. It is beneficial that Mike will get to play a game and then have a bye week to really decipher through it and learn from his experience before he has to play his next game. That’s a side benefit of the decision, but it wasn’t by any means the reason it was made now. We felt at this time, that Mike Glennon gives us the best chance to win and that’s why we did it.”
Schiano has stated a number of times that Freeman gives the Buccaneers the best chance to win. But after a 0-3 start and a meeting with ownership the decision was made to move forward with the rookie.
“Mike’s our starting quarterback from this point forward,” Schiano said. “We’re moving forward, and Mike’s our quarterback. That’s our plan, and we’re going, that’s how we’re going.
“As I said in the opening, I look at our offense in the last nine games. I don’t think we’ve performed up to the level of our expectations. There are a lot of reasons for that, and as I said it’s not one guy, but that is a critical guy in the operation, and as I evaluated, Mark evaluated, we did it together we talked to the staff, we made the decision that this is what we are going to do.”
Glennon, who stood at the podium as the Buccaneers starting quarterback, talked about what he will bring to the table as Tampa Bay’s starter.
“I’m just going to come in and prepare every week,” Glennon said. “I’m going to prepare like I have been and continue to put my best foot forward. That’s all I can do is prepare, keep on getting ready and then go out there and play as hard as I can. That’s what I’m going to do, and hopefully, we’ll win some games along the way.”
Winning games is what the organization has not seen much of consistently. Glennon will have a lot of weapons to work with once he steps out on to the field Sunday in hopes of trying to get the Bucs on the win column in 2013. Fortunately, the rookie signal caller appears to have become comfortable with the process from week to week when it comes to how everything operates around One Buc to get him ready to play.
“Having gone through a couple weeks of the pregame, everything that goes into the week building up, I’ve gotten used to what it’s like on Mondays coming in, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, the whole week, just to get a feel for what it’s like and know what those meetings are like,” Glennon said. “Coaches and players have been great. From Coach McNulty, to Coach Sullivan, to Dan (Orlovsky) and Josh (Freeman), all those guys have really helped me along the way. Just trying to learn something every day, and now I’m able to get a little more reps out at practice than I was the last few weeks. (I’m) just going to keep preparing and really just come in every day to work and get ready for a game on Sunday.”
His comfort level in the offense translates into his confidence of controlling it as well.
“As a quarterback, you have to take control of the huddle regardless of how old you are,” Glennon said. “It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in the league for 10 years or it’s your first year, they’re still counting on you to be the guy and be the guy to lead them to victory. That’s what I have to do. I have to be that guy regardless of age. Luckily, we do have a lot of vets, especially up front and with Vincent. Those guys are further along than me, obviously. They know how to handle things on their own. I still have to be in charge when I’m in that huddle.
“I think that’s what this week is really important for – is to get those reps again. Fortunately, I got a lot of reps in preseason camp and in the preseason games. Looking across the league, I didn’t see many rookie quarterbacks get as many reps as I did, even the guys who are starting now. I know they had some injuries, but I may have gotten the most preseason reps as much as any rookie quarterback. So those reps were very important for me. And coming in here and working in practice, every rep is important, even more so with me coming in and getting used to these guys. That’s how I’m going to approach it.”
Getting “used to the guys” evidently has not been an issue for Glennon. He talked about how his teammates reacted about the news while keeping things in perspective.
“So far, everyone has been extremely supportive, coming up to me and congratulating me and smiling,” Glennon said. “It’s great to have my teammates’ support. But I’m my own player. All those rookies that have excelled the past few years, their situation may be different, I’m not really sure. I’m just going to come in here and do everything I can and be myself.”
Glennon’s experience in college will benefit him greatly in the pros. His familiarity with a pro-style game at North Carolina State will give him an advantage not many rookies are fortunate to have that. He touched on that fact.
“The thing I was most fortunate with was I ran a pro-style offense in college,” Glennon said. “So I have five years of an NFL-like offense under my belt. Not the same terminology, not the exact same plays, but as an 18-year-old, I was running NFL concepts. You watch college football, and that’s not as common nowadays. So I was very fortunate. I had a great quarterback coach and offensive coordinator at NC State that helped prepare me before I got here. Once I got here, I really dove into the playbook. All the coaches, Dan, Josh – all those guys have been a huge help for me just building my knowledge of our offense and the game itself.”
Glennon will have the opportunity to put what he has learned together and display it on the field Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals in front of the home crowd.
The “Glennon Era” has begun.