In less than 48 hours, the Buccaneers will play host to the Arizona Cardinals with rookie Mike Glennon as the new starting quarterback. Preparation immediately started for the game with the rookie getting his first official reps as a starter on Wednesday. It was then revealed by head coach Greg Schiano that quarterback Josh Freeman was going to be the team’s backup to Glennon. On Friday, Schiano hinted that the five-year veteran and former team captain may be inactive for Sunday’s game.
Visibly irritated with the attention that the benching of Freeman has gotten, Schiano stated that a decision on that has not officially been made.
"I feel like this has been a focus all week,” Schiano said. “I'm not going to go there. 90 minutes before the game, I'm going to name who our active 46 players are, the guys that are up and we're going to play. I'm locked in now and our team is locked in. I'm done discussing all that other stuff. Let's go win a game. That's our goal and that's what I'm locked in on."
While he says he may be locked in for this weekend’s games, the team has had to deal with the media circus as well. However, Schiano says they have all handled it well and ready to go.
"That's what we do, that's what professionals do,” Schiano said. “There's always going to be noise out there, you have to push the noise out of your brain and you've got to do your job. I would be kidding you if I said there hasn't been anything that I had to do this week that I normally wouldn't have to do. As I often think, you can't make that time up. If you have a job to do and you have to do it in that allotted time, when you're called away by other things, whatever they may be, well now you have to figure out. You either sleep less or you delegate more. There are always those things that are up. But it's not always just something like this week, there a tons of things that come up in a year. You've just got to figure it out and whoever handles it best usually finds a way to win, with all other things being equal, obviously."
Part of dealing with adversity is the team moving forward with the change. Several players were asked about the change at quarterback and many responded with the same answers along the lines of them not being against the move and appear to be ready to move forward with Glennon as their new signal caller. Main reason for that is the commitment and preparation the rookie has demonstrated to this point.
"When you guys talked to him the other day, I think he made mention of he played in a pro-style offense for five years,” Schiano said. “[Former North Carolina State offensive coordinator] Dana Bible is an excellent coach - I've coached against Dana a number of times over the years - and [former North Carolina State Head] Coach [Tom] O'Brien is an excellent coach. Certainly, Mike's benefitted from his experience at North Carolina State, without a doubt. Again, when you come from a football family and all that stuff [it helps]. Mike stood up here - I watched his press conference - He stood up here and he made the statement 'I've been dreaming of this my whole life' and 'I've been preparing for this my whole life.' This guy is a football junkie and this is what he loves to do, so I'm excited for him. Now you've got to go do it."
Don’t expect any difference in offensive scheme just because Glennon is in there. Schiano said they will stick to doing what makes them who they are.
"We'll be balanced. It doesn't matter who we're going against, we're going to run the football, it's who we are,” Schiano said. “We'll be balanced with [the] pass and I'm totally confident in our pass game with [quarterback] Mike [Glennon]. I think it's going to be, run our deal, handle those three front guys, for sure, and those two inside backers for sure. And [the Cardinals have] that corner out there, No. 21 [Patrick Peterson], who's a pretty special player. There's enough - there's a lot of, I should say - threats out there that need to be handled, concern-wise. There will be some new guys in there but there's a heck of a lot of seasoned, grizzled vets."
The Cardinals’ defense will undoubtedly make it difficult for the Bucs offense especially since they will be gamplanning to go up against a rookie quarterback. However, the quarterback change can prove to be beneficial for Tampa Bay in terms of the team rallying around their new leader.
For now, everything points to that very thing happening. They just hope it translates on to the field on Sunday.