TAMPA — Bucs rookie quarterback Mike Glennon has gone three full games without an interception, but coach Greg Schiano says it's important not to trivialize him as a "caretaker."
"I think he's more than managing. That game manager thing is kind of a left-handed compliment a lot of times for a quarterback," Schiano said Monday, looking back on Sunday's 27-24 overtime loss at Seattle. "He's doing a heck of a lot more than that."
With two early touchdown passes Sunday, Glennon has eight this season, matching the Jets' Geno Smith for the most by a rookie quarterback. Smith has 68 more attempts and has 13 interceptions to Glennon's three. Glennon's completion percentage of 60.3 ranks 22nd among qualifiers, but it's better than Smith (58.1) or Buffalo rookie EJ Manuel (56.7).
Schiano was especially pleased at how unfazed Glennon was in a hostile, loud environment at CenturyLink Field, touted as the league's loudest non-dome venue.
"I thought going into that environment, (he) was veteran-like. Not at all intimidated," Schiano said. "I thought he did a very good job. A quarterback rating above 120 (123.1). Those are things that are getting us excited and encouraged. Three games without an interception, that's what we have to do, that's how we have to play the game. I'm mad at myself for not getting us there sooner."
Glennon threw early scores to Tim Wright and Tiquan Underwood but struggled in the second half, throwing for 44 yards. In the first half he was 10-of-11 for 124 yards.
Schiano pointed to breakdowns in pass protection as part of that, but Glennon said he can evaluate his performance only based on whether he leads his team to victory.
"We have no other choice to find the positives and build on those, but ultimately it's about wins and losses and we didn't win, so there was some good things that we did going forward, but ultimately it comes down to wins and losses," he said.
Glennon needs only three passing touchdowns in the next eight games to break Josh Freeman's team rookie record of 10, set in 2009. Freeman's rookie record for passing yards (1,855) is also well within reach. Glennon has 1,155 in five starts.
The Bucs are the only team without an interception in their past three games, keeping that honor when Green Bay backup Seneca Wallace threw one Monday night against the Bears.
Wright, the rookie tight end who led the team with 58 receiving yards on four catches, has seen his emergence coincide with Glennon's arrival as the starting quarterback. He has seen a maturity and poise behind center that he said you don't always see from a rookie.
"I think he's doing a great job," Wright said. "When I first met him at rookie minicamp, I looked at him the same way I'm looking at him now. Very poised quarterback, plays well above his classification as being a rookie. He's not a vet yet, but he carries the team, carries the offense like a vet. He's doing a great job with keeping us settled in the huddle. He did a great job with crowd noise this past Sunday. Those type of things would probably get another rookie unsettled."