Deciphering coach-speak this time of year is nearly impossible. In fact, the CIA would have a hard time determining what is fact and what is a smokescreen coming from the mouths of NFL general managers and head coaches regarding the NFL Draft.
On Thursday night, Bucs head coach Lovie Smith fired off what could be the Bucs’ true feelings regarding backup Mike Glennon, or another mixed signal designed to make the other 31 franchises do a double take.
“There are a lot of good players,” Smith said. “But it’s about what’s best for us. Just talking about our quarterback position, our quarterback position is as strong as, to me, any quarterback position that I’ve had as a head coach.
You know how much I like Josh McCown as our starter here, but I love Mike Glennon. Mike Glennon is our quarterback of the future here. So why would we want to add a third quarterback to the mix? We need other positions, and forget just the quarterback position; we thought this was the best available player for us. It was an easy decision for us. Jason [Licht] and I, we don’t have a lot of vertical, but we high-fived it pretty high in there when we were able to make this pick.”
One of the most puzzling aspects of Tampa Bay not taking a quarterback with the seventh overall pick – and drafting Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans instead – was the fact the Buccaneers brought in Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Fresno State’s Derek Carr and Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garappolo for private visits, and met with Blake Bortles at his pro day in Orlando last month.
Smith is not above bluffing like a high stakes poker player. In his initial press conference back in January, he told the media that cornerback Darrelle Revis had a place in the Buccaneers defense. Yet during the opening week of free agency in March, Revis was released by the Buccaneers in a salary cap-cutting move.
At the NFL owners meetings in Orlando in March, Smith implied to the media that troubled wide receiver Mike Williams would not be released or traded. Less than two weeks later, Williams was a member of the Buffalo Bills, after being traded for a sixth-round draft pick.
Glennon, a third-round draft pick in 2013, started 13 games for the Buccaneers during his rookie season, throwing for 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Despite saying Glennon is the future at the position, Tampa Bay signed former Bears quarterback Josh McCown to a two-year deal in free agency and promptly declared McCown the starter in 2014.
How serious Smith is about his statement that Glennon is “our quarterback of the future” is yet to be determined, but the answer could come sooner rather than later. With five more draft picks left in the next six rounds, the Buccaneers could still take a quarterback. Carr, Garoppolo and Georgia’s Aaron Murray were all still available late Thursday evening and one could be drafted by Tampa Bay in the second round on Friday night.
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, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. 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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