Sunday, February 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Glennon says he's ready to lead Bucs

TAMPA — Mike Glennon is well aware of the quick success rookie quarterbacks have had in the NFL in the past two seasons, but he isn't trying to be the next Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck or Russell Wilson.

"I'm my own player," the Bucs' new starting quarterback said Wednesday, speaking publicly for the first time since the team's decision to bench veteran Josh Freeman.

"All those rookies that have really excelled the past few years, their situation may be different. I'm not really sure. I'm going to come here and do everything I can, and be myself."

Bucs coach Greg Schiano announced Wednesday that the job is now Glennon's, and he will have an extended opportunity to make his case as the quarterback of the future.

The 6-foot-6 Glennon actually followed Wilson as the starter at North Carolina State, throwing for 31 touchdowns in each of the past two seasons and showing enough that the Bucs drafted him in the third round (as the third quarterback selected). Like the Bills' EJ Manuel and the Jets' Geno Smith, he's thrust into a starting role and the high expectations that now come with being a rookie quarterback.

"You get guys that come in as rookies and take your team almost to the Super Bowl and things like that," receiver Mike Williams said. "Hopefully that's what he can do, he can learn from those guys and we can get wins."

Tom O'Brien, who coached Glennon at North Carolina State, said the 23-year-old came to campus five years ago focused on doing what he needed to be an NFL quarterback, and he has put himself in position to do that with a combination of skill and commitment.

"When you look at the physical ability he has, which I think is really special, and when you look at his dedication, the drive and determination Mike has to succeed, when you put those two things together, this is going to be an exciting Sunday for him," said O'Brien, who sent Glennon a congratulatory text Wednesday morning.

"This is something he's worked long and hard to get to."

Glennon received extensive work in the preseason — only four quarterbacks threw more pass attempts than his 70 — and he completed 33 of those passes for 397 yards, with three touchdowns and three interceptions.

Some of his teammates, however, were already aware of what Glennon can do. Rookie running back Mike James, who played at Miami, went up against him last season and vividly remembers his Hurricanes edging N.C. State on a last-minute touchdown pass.

Glennon threw for 440 yards and four touchdowns, rallying the Wolfpack from a 16-point deficit to tie the score in the fourth quarter, though a late interception set up Miami's victory.

"G was going off, putting the ball in spots," James said. "He's smart. We defensive game-planned for him all week. We had to put (starting QB) Stephen (Morris) on the scout team for deep balls because G put the ball so well."

Glennon is aware of his relative youth but said the demands on him as a quarterback will be the same as Freeman faced, and he has a strong group of experienced players around him to help him achieve those demands.

"As a quarterback, you have to take control of the huddle, regardless of how old you are," Glennon said. "It doesn't matter if you've been in the league for 10 years or it's your first year. They're still counting on you to be the guy to lead them to victory. That's what I have to do. I have to be that guy, regardless of age."

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