The Tampa Bay Buccaneers like Mike Glennon. That much is obvious: they didn't draft him in the third round of the draft because they think he's an awful quarterback. But when Mark Cook of Pewter Report appeared on the excellent What The Buc? show yesterday, he explained just how much the Buccaneers love Glennon. And they like him more than we thought.
The Buccaneers love this guy. I had lunch with somebody recently who told me this coaching staff absolutely loves what Glennon did in those three days [of rookie minicamp], his ability to retain and soak up knowledge, the fact that he played under [NC State coach Tom] O'Brien and guys that coached Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson. They think he's as prepared as anybody in this draft. I found out the Buccaneers liked Mike Glennon over E.J. Manuel! They really had him as the highest-rated quarterback on the board, and they felt in the third round was a good place to take him. They were not going to take a chance.
You can find the UStream recording here, and I'll get the link to the podcast in here as soon as What The Buc? puts it up.
E.J. Manuel was, of course, the first quarterback off the board in the 2013 NFL draft, being drafted 16th overall by the Buffalo Bills. But he was far from the consensus best quarterback in the draft. The New York Jets drafted Geno Smith early in the second round, but it sounds like the Bucs thought Glennon was better than Smith as well.
Glennon is far from a perfect prospect and he likely wouldn't have been a top 10 draft pick had he been in last year's draft, but every other quarterback in this draft had plenty of question marks as well. There was no Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III or even a Ryan Tannehill in this draft, and it makes sense that the Bucs saw Glennon as the best quarterback in the draft. It's just not the kind of accomplishment it is in most years.
Still, the most surprising thing Mark Cook said, at least to me, was that the Buccaneers love Glennon so much that they will likely plug him into the starting lineup if Josh Freeman struggles over a longer period of time.
Make no mistake: if Josh Freeman falters this year, you'll see Mike Glennon play quarterback. And I'm going to say it right now: if Josh Freeman goes through a four-game stretch like last year, Mike Glennon will be finishing up the season at quarterback. That's how much they love this guy.
That's a bit of a surprise. They may love Glennon, but he didn't look like he was ready to step in and become a starting quarterback this season. And while last year's rookies were pretty successful, that group was an outlier. Traditionally, rookie quarterbacks still struggle and have struggled in most recent seasons.
Later in the show, Cook made it clear that the rumors of a strained relationship were overblown. And obviously Greg Schiano would love to see Josh Freeman turn into a real franchise quarterback. If they have to turn to Mike Glennon this season, that likely means the Buccaneers are very close to missing the playoffs -- or maybe even out of it. And with the amount of talent on this roster, that wouldn't bode well for Schiano's future job prospects.
Schiano doesn't want Freeman to fail, because that doesn't help him in any way. But Freeman has had issues over the past two seasons. Perhaps he'll be able to elevate his game in his second season under offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. But if he can't it's entirely possible we'll see Mike Glennon step in at quarterback as early as this year. The key to all of this isn't Mike Glennon: it's Josh Freeman. He controls what happens next with the quality of his play. We just have to wait and see.