Friday, June 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs' Glennon resumes QB competition Sunday

TAMPA — Separated by a continent but still close friends, Russell Wilson and Mike Glennon were swapping silly stories about each other Wednesday.

"I heard he made fun of my music earlier today," Wilson said, chuckling during a conference call. "I think he said something about my jazz music. I don't listen to jazz. I listen to oldies."

Without much prodding, Wilson then volunteered, "I think he even dressed up as Napoleon Dynamite for Halloween one year. You'd have to ask him for those pictures."

Sure enough, photographs started surfacing on Twitter of Glennon in a red Afro, thick, wire-rimmed glasses and a "Vote for Pedro" T-shirt that made him a ringer for the nerd in the popular movie.

"He's a guy that has fun," Wilson said of Glennon, "and is a good football player, too."

For three seasons at N.C. State, Wilson, the Seahawks' Pro Bowl passer, and Glennon, the Bucs' rookie quarterback, competed for the same job. They pushed each other in the weight room, challenged themselves in the meeting room and battled on the practice field.

Sunday, the former roommates will square off in Seattle.

"That's a lot of fun, and that doesn't happen too often," Wilson said. "To have two guys who went to the same school and basically came in together pretty much, it's a pretty cool experience."

Glennon, who backed up Wilson for two seasons, finally pushed him out of the starting job. But it wasn't based purely on competition. Wilson, a fourth-round pick of the Rockies, accepted an invitation to spring training.

Wolfpack coach Tom O'Brien wanted more of a commitment to football, so he chose Glennon for 2012.

Wilson, who had completed his undergraduate degree and was taking courses for his master's, transferred to Wisconsin for his senior season and led it to the Rose Bowl.

Glennon threw 31 touchdowns in each of his next two seasons and, like Wilson, was drafted in the third round.

The differences between the 5-foot-11, 206-pound Wilson and 6-6, 225-pound Glennon are startling. Wilson is a creative scrambler who can extend plays with his feet and run the ball in the spread option. Glennon is a dropback passer with a big arm and little mobility.

Glennon only gained confidence when Wilson burst onto the scene as a rookie last season, passing for 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in leading his team to a win over the Redskins in the NFC wild-card game.

"I always knew how talented he was," Glennon said. "But when he was at N.C. State, I don't know why, but he didn't get enough attention. Then he goes up to Wisconsin. He was doing the same things at N.C. State for three years, but publicly, they didn't know about him.

"What he did last year as a rookie, he looked like he was playing college football all over again. I was really impressed the way he did play-making. I wasn't sure with the speed of this game if that would still work, but it's working for him just like it did in college."

While at N.C. State, Glennon felt pressure to live up to the standard set by Wilson.

"I knew it was very unique, and I knew it was going to be highly scrutinized. And I knew there was going to be a lot of pressure put on me," Glennon said. "I think I handled it really well. I knew all eyes were going to be on me, comparing me every week to him. But I knew I was a separate player on a separate team. What he had done at N.C. State, I wasn't going to let it affect me moving forward.

"But it was a very unique situation because of how talented he was and the fact he was playing extremely well on TV every week for fans across the country to see. And I knew in the state of North Carolina, fans were going to be focused on that. But it did work out for both of us."

The Seahawks are 7-1 and, arguably, the most complete team in the NFL. They struggled Monday at St. Louis, amassing only 135 total yards. Wilson's two touchdown passes and a goal-line stand were the difference in the 14-9 win.

'He's smart. He's got great character. He's got tremendous makeup about what's important," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said about Wilson. "His work habits are impeccable. For the most part, we coach him up and let him play ball. We believe he can figure it out and how to get it done no matter the circumstances."

Glennon hasn't been as fortunate. He's 0-4 since taking over for Josh Freeman while throwing 45.3 passes per game.

The two have remained in touch. Glennon spent an hour on the phone with Wilson after he was drafted by the Bucs in April. When he was named the starter? "He texted me and said congrats and wished me good luck."

Well, maybe not on Sunday.

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