One byproduct of releasing Josh Freeman is the opportunity for the Bucs to discover what kind of quarterback they have in rookie Mike Glennon.
The third-round pick from N.C. State showed improvement from his first to second start and today faces the challenge of playing on the road; in the loud, hostile environment of the George Dome.
But will Glennon do enough this season to prevent the Bucs from going after a potential franchise quarterback in the 2014 draft?
At 0-5, the Bucs are among only three winless teams (Jaguars and Giants). Because Eli Manning figures to be the Giants' starter for the foreseeable future, Tampa Bay could have a chance at one of the top two quarterback prospects.
It's expected to be a rich quarterback class with as many as five taken in the first round: Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, Oregon's Marcus Mariota, Clemson's Tajh Boyd, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and UCLA's Brett Hundley. (All but Boyd would have to leave school early.)
What can you say about Glennon after two starts and an 0-2 record? He's more accurate than Freeman, going 50-of-86 (58.1 completion percentage) for 466 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.
Freeman, at 30-for-59 (50.8 completion percentage) for 401 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions, went 1-1 in his first two starts, beating Green Bay and losing in the final seconds at Miami.
The difference is Freeman could drive the ball downfield and was a more accurate deep passer. His yards per attempt was 6.85 in those two starts. Glennon has struggled with accuracy on the deep ball and is averaging 5.42 yards per attempt.
And spare me the talk about Glennon being more mobile than scouts believed. A 16-yard scramble in man coverage with the defense's back to him hardly makes him Robert Griffin III. He also failed to get outside the tackle box on a routine throwaway.
Overall, the Bucs have to be pleased with Glennon.
"He did surprise me a lot," Bucs LT Donald Penn said. "I'm not going to lie. I was a bit worried for the first game. But his poise, his leadership, too, it's surprising. He's coming out there, getting us going, keeping us calm in the huddle. I was getting ready to say something, and he said it before I could. He's doing a great job of that and taking control of this offense. I really think he is doing a great job."
Good but not good enough to ignore the quarterbacks in the draft.
SECOND-HALF BLUES: The Bucs have not scored an offensive touchdown in the second half this season and have been outscored 48-13 over the final two quarters. Turnovers are only a small part of the story. The Bucs have rarely even reached the red zone.
Put simply, they're being out-coached. Adjustments are subtle but necessary in the NFL.
NICKS FUTURE: G Carl Nicks had surgery Tuesday on his foot to eliminate a recurrence of the MRSA staph infection. Typically, the wound is left open, and antibiotics are required for 6-7 weeks. Nicks would need a week or two of conditioning after that. So you must wonder if Nicks will play again this season.
"We don't know, so that's all you can read into it," coach Greg Schiano said. "We need to get a little beyond the surgery and see just what we're thinking. And then we've got to make a calculated decision."
NUMBERS GAME: LB Lavonte David has a combined 15 sacks, quarterback hits and quarterback hurries. And he's the only player in the NFL with 20 tackles, four sacks and an interception. … WR Vincent Jackson has been targeted 55 times but has only 26 catches with two drops. That's a 47.3 percent success rate.