The Buccaneers' quarterback situation may have gotten a little more muddied.
Speaking to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday morning at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, new Bucs head coach Lovie Smith told Stroud that selecting a quarterback with the No. 7 overall pick is an option. This coming after he and new offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford praised second-year signal caller Mike Glennon in their initial press conferences in Tampa Bay last month.
“I know enough about that draft to know, yeah, there’s someone that would be worthy of the seventh pick because everything is on the board right now,'' Smith said. "Whenever you have a chance to get a franchise quarterback, you have to consider that.''
Former head coach Greg Schiano took some heat last year for saying he wanted competition at all positions, including quarterback. But Smith had no problem on Thursday proclaiming that he wants to get better across the board at every position.
"In all, it becomes obvious which way you should go,” Smith said. ‘We do have a road map for what we’re going to do. (General manager) Jason (Licht) and I and the rest of the staff, scouting and coaches, we have pounded it and we have a pretty good plan on the direction we’re going to go. I’ll just say we’re trying to upgrade our entire roster.
"But if you ask me do I think we can win games with Mike Glennon? I’m going to say, "yeah, we can win games with Mike Glennon.' If you ask me would you like to upgrade the position? I’m not running around the question. That’s a yes, too.
Smith went onto praise Glennon, but also made it clear the organization isn’t ready to hand him the keys to the position.
"Mike did some good things. But he did some good things as a rookie,'' Smith said. "To say right now that Mike is the answer and he’s our quarterback of the future and we’re going to build around him and give him a 20-year contract right now, you’re not there.
"You just like the things he brings to the table. Strong arm. Great guy. He is a guy that seems like he doesn’t have an off-season because he has been working his butt off in the facility. But again, I just know I like him on the football team as one of our quarterbacks right now. As you mentioned, we have just two quarterbacks signed. We’re going to have at least four in camp, at least one guy will be in the mix and you can let that all play out.''
Smith was also somewhat evasive when talking about what – and where – the teams future at quarterback may come from.
“I think people really make it out to be about that guy, that quarterback,'' Smith said. "You’ve to have that ‘franchise quarterback.’ What is a ‘franchise quarterback?’ I mean, is it Russell Wilson that you got a little bit later? Is it Peyton Manning? There are different degrees of quarterback that you can get to win with, the things we’re looking for, leadership, all those things. But I’ll just say this: I think this draft, I know enough about to know it’s a deep draft. We’re talking about the first round. It’s a deep draft at a lot of positions, quarterback being one of them. “You want that option out there available to you. That’s why this is fun starting this process of seeing. I saw where a few quarterbacks are going to throw here. That will be good.''
Smith went on to talk to Stroud about adding a veteran to the quarterback room.
“I think in an ideal world, you would like to have some kind of veteran in the mix instead of three young guys that haven’t played a lot,'' Smith said. "No, that’s not an ideal situation to be in at the quarterback position. I think you can maybe get away with it at some of the other positions. But no, that’s not an ideal situation to be in. It can work, though. “Again, if you say that you can win with a young quarterback, it’s an added bonus to have another veteran with him. If you look right now, there are a lot of young quarterbacks in the league – Andrew Luck, Wilson, Cam Newton in our division that are playing early. Whether they have a backup with them or not, I don’t think it’s really a big deal.
"If you ask me, would you like a veteran? Yeah. Really, that’s the case. It all has to go together. You have to look at what’s available at other positions, too.''