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Rumors of a quarterback competition in Tampa have been greatly exaggerated

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are nominally holding a quarterback competition, but it's not really a competition.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers love to talk about competition at every position. Lovie Smith won't quite so far as to say that Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David have to compete for their jobs, because that's a little unrealistic, but the message across the board is that every position has to be earned.

Aaaaand that's how we get pictures like this.

Unfortunately for ESPN, there is no quarterback competition in Tampa. Not a real one, anyway. The Bucs, most notably Lovie Smith, are too enamored with Josh McCown to let that happen. They want him to start, and it's going to take a lot for him to lose his job.

But Mike Glennon deserves a shot to develop!

Deserve got nothing to do with it.

The Bucs don't care about what Mike Glennon did last year, or what's best for his development as a quarterback, or whether or not he 'earned' anything. They care about starting the player who is best right at this moment. Because they do not see this as a rebuilding year. Improvement is not good enough: they want to win every game, right now, and that means starting the best player at every position regardless of long-term development.

Right now, the Bucs think Josh McCown is the better quarterback. Lovie Smith loves McCown. He trusts McCown, and he wants him to start. And Glennon looking good in practice isn't enough to give him that starting spot: he has to be better than McCown in camp by quite a distance, and he hasn't been that.

Don't take my word for it: listen to the national media guys who visited camp. People like Peter King and Daniel Jeremiah who visited Bucs training camp and noted that while Mike Glennon looked pretty good, Josh McCown simply looks better. It's the same message we've heard from Leo, and from the beat writers at camp: Glennon is improving, but not enough to threaten McCown.

And McCown is not going to lose that job unless he completely collapses in either preseason or the regular season. Lovie Smith hasn't been prone to switching quarterbacks in and out on a whim, however, and McCown is probably going to have to be bad over a sustained period of time to lose his job. That's not impossible, but it's also important to note that this is completely out of Mike Glennon's control.

In a very real sense, it doesn't matter how good Mike Glennon is: as long as Josh McCown plays well, it's his job. And it looks like that's what's going to happen.