The marriage between Jeff Tedford and his quarterback will be crucial to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' success this season. That's no shocking insight, of course: in the NFL, quarterback play is crucial to team success. It's the single most important position in the NFL, and if you can't get at least solid production out of your passer, you're doomed. It's why Lovie Smith turned to Tedford, who has a reputation as a quarterbacks guru, after failing to get quality production out of his various offensive coordinators in Chicago.
Over the past couple of days, Tedford spoke to the media on a few occasions, which means we now get to read the tea-leaves on his vision on Mike Glennon. The debate over Glennon has become weirdly polarized and aggressive, but Tedford's view of the quarterback seems balanced. He didn't really point out many negatives, which is to be expected, and he praised Glennon on several occasions.
"I think he did a lot of really good things." Tedford told Justin Pawloski of 98.7 The Fan. "Obviously as a rookie in the league and not taking over until after Freeman left, there's a learning curve there, and I thought Mike did a really nice job of protecting the football."
"I think he's very accurate with the football. From everything that I've heard and know he has the respect of the locker room. He's a very bright, intelligent guy who has great work ethic and really wants to get it and spends a lot of time in preparation. It looked like he's a very strong competitor on the field, he's not shy in the pocket."
Those comments echoed his statements in his introductory press conference. "My first impression is he did a lot of good things," Tedford said. "He's a rookie. He took over the fourth game, so I think his growth and development - I saw some progression through the year with him. I think he's got a lot of poise in the pocket, I don't think he gets frustrated in the pocket. He's pretty smart with the football, when things aren't there he's throwing it away, he's making good decisions."
But Tedford isn't anointing Mike Glennon as the starter yet. "I think it's really premature. As of right now, yes, but it's premature. We haven't had personnel meetings, we're getting the staff together, getting the general manager all those types of things in place. Right now we're just in the evaluation process."
The most important part of his statements related to improving Mike Glennon, however. Whether or not Glennon will be the starter next year, it's clear that Tedford's going to take a hands-on approach with his quarterbacks and he's going to do everything he can to get them ready, physically and mentally.
"I'm really looking forward to getting him on the field and working with him and that relationship," Tedford told 98.7 The Fan. "I think his growth and development will continue as we move forward."
"I'm confident that he's got a lot of tools that can just continue to grow and get better as we move forward into his second year.""
On Wednesday, he was a little more specific. "I think there are some quarterback fundamentals that we can help him with. Then physically, himself, I think he understands what his limitations are that we can improve on, in the weight room, with strength and conditioning and fast twitch and doing some things there that may help him a little bit."
"I'm really looking forward to getting on the field with Mike and going over some drills and some fundamentals mechanically that may help him."
Does that mean Glennon's the starter? No, not really. Tedford talked to 98.7 The Fan about watching college quarterbacks over the past years, and he mentioned a few players by name, including Tajh Boyd, Derek Carr, David Fales and Johnny Manziel. That doesn't mean he would want to draft any of them (and it's not his decision, anyway), but it's clear that the evaluation process is still ongoing.
Of course, the thing with coaches' quotes is that they can be spun one way or another. I could cherry-pick some quotes and make it look like Tedford's set on moving on. I could cherry-pick other quotes and make it look like he loves Glennon. The truth is that we really don't know what's going to happen with Mike Glennon and Jeff Tedford, because the Bucs probably don't even know themselves at this point.