Mike Glennon said he received a call from coach Lovie Smith shortly after the Bucs signed Bears free agent quarterback Josh McCown last month.
"He just said, 'to start out, there's got to be a person to start that goes out with the first group first and that person is Josh,'' Glennon said.
After going 4-9 as a rookie and throwing 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions, Glennon was good but not good enough to prevent the Bucs from signing the top available free agent quarterback.
But while it looks as though he might be headed back to the bench, Glennon said Tuesday he plans to compete with McCown and still could win the job in the off-season.
'Lovie said to me and to the team yesterday the best players are going to play,'' Glennon said. "And I don't think that's any different for the quarterback position.''
McCown, 34, is playing for his seventh team, counting an off-season in San Francisco. But he is coming off his best year, going 3-2 as a starter with the Bears while throwing 13 touchdowns and only one interception.
The Bucs signed McCown to a 2-year, $10-million contract and still could add a quarterback in the NFL draft next month.
Where that leaves Glennon is anyone's guess. A third-round pick from North Carolina St. last year, Glennon would've been the returning starter in 2014 had coach Greg Schiano not been fired after only two seasons.
Glennon said he thought he played well as a rookie, despite the Bucs' record. Tampa Bay also ranked last in total offense.
"I think there were a lot of things I did good,'' Glennon said. "There's definitely some things I can work on but I think overall I played well for the situation at hand and something to really build on. At a young age and everything -- age doesn't matter at this level because the bottom line is you have to win -- but overall I felt I played well. Some things I have to work on? Just continuing to develop as an NFL quarterback and maybe make some better decisions here and there, work on my feet, work on throwing under pressure -- all the things that all NFL quarterbacks are working on.''
Glennon said he hopes to add some muscle to his 6-foot-6, 225-pound frame and wants to improve his mobility. Then there is the task of learning a new scheme and terminology under offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford.
"Just working on getting bigger, stronger faster, the typical things in the off-season,'' Glennon said. "Now that we're going and have the playbook, I can really dive into that and start trying to master the new offense we have.
"I understand the NFL is a business and at different times you may have to take different roles. But at the same time, that's not going to stop me from competing. I'm going to do whatever it takes to help this team win and that's the mindset so far.''