With the Buccaneers out of the NFC South playoff picture most would assume head coach Lovie Smith and his staff would turn the keys to the offense back over to Mike Glennon. Smith told the media following the team’s 11th loss of the season against the Lions that it was an option, but after listening to offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo and Josh McCown speak at the podium on Wednesday, that doesn’t appear likely to happen.
While neither definitively said if McCown was the starter, it was fairly easy to tell from some of the answers to the Tampa Bay media’s questions that McCown (1-7 as a starter this season) will start Sunday at Carolina.
“I don’t control the roster and where Coach [Smith] believes the future is going to play out,” Arroyo said. “All we do is evaluate who we’ve got. Mike [Glennon] will be ready to play if he needs to play.
“The only discussion that was had is if Josh was going to be physically ready to play. Other than that, it hasn’t gone that far. We’re all understanding that Mike was ready to play last week and he’ll be ready to play this week [if need be]. I have all the confidence that if that’s the move going forward, we’ll be ready to roll. He does a great job preparing; he’s a pro.”
McCown, who signed a two-year, $10 million free agenct contract last March, talked about his role with the team over the next three weeks and beyond.
“If you look back through my career, I’ve learned to just take it year to year,” McCown said. “But I did come here for a reason. I’ve said this before. I had opportunities but to work with Lovie and build something with him, to be a part of that, is something that I want to do. And so, I’m behind him 100 percent whatever he decides to do. And if that’s deciding to take a look at another player at a position, at my position, I’m fine with that. And until they say you’re no longer a part of that then I’m going to do that, that’s kind of my mindset. I understand moving forward. If they’re sticking with me for now, obviously it’s encouraging to have another opportunity to go at it and again and gain momentum moving into 2015.”
Arroyo was asked about making changes elsewhere in order to evaluate players for next season with the Bucs now out of playoff contention.
“It’s all kind of new to me, this transition will be the first week of this mindset, because this is my first time going through it,” Arroyo said. “We’re still trying today to go and get better. There are guys that will be in roles base on however he [Lovie Smith] deems the roster should be moved around. That is out of my control; I don’t have anything do with that. All we can do is explain exactly where we’re at. He’ll control the roster and let us know who we’ve got and who’s going to be where.
“And there might be some subtle changes to look at some things, but I’ll let him comment on those. I think some of that will be about seeing who can do what. What are you looking for in the future? What can they do now? Obviously the other part is … because we’re still new, we’re still moving guys around. I mean the front’s been different for six or seven games already. It’s about finding out who’s where, and who can help out. And that’s for all positions, the front was just an example. I think that’s probably going to be evident this week. We’ll find out more about guys.”
McCown also talked about finding reasons to play when the playoffs aren’t a possibility.
“Even though you’re not in it and the carrot is gone a little bit, you still feel the playoff intensity from those guys because they’re playing and trying to get ramped up,” McCown said. “These reps of playing against a team that’s doing that I think will serve us well down the road. And if we find ourselves in this position next year, where we’re one of these [playoff] teams, we’ll be able to recall and go, ‘that’s what it feels like.’ For the guys that remain on the team, I think it will serve that purpose.”
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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