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Bucs put Mike Glennon in bad place

Published Nov. 6, 2014

TAMPA

I'm not sure which is worse: the news that the Bucs are changing quarterbacks or how the news got out.

One was bungled, and the other is a mistake.

So here's the change: Mike Glennon is out as starter. Josh McCown is in.

Who announced the change? Glennon. On the radio.

That simply cannot happen.

Coach Lovie Smith told the quarterbacks Tuesday that he was making a change. Glennon's brother sent out an angry tweet that suggested a change was coming. When Glennon was asked about it on 620-AM on Tuesday night, he broke the news like he was an ESPN Insider. He said McCown was starting.

What a lousy thing to do to the kid. You bench him, then you leave it up to him to announce his own demotion.

Not that Smith cares. All he wants, he said, is to win football games.

"No issue for me," Smith said Wednesday. "When it came out and who did it, that's just low on the totem pole for me right now."

Here would have been a better way to handle all this: don't bench Glennon in the first place.

The Bucs are halfway through the season and are 1-7. They are 1-4 with Glennon and 0-3 with McCown. Let's be real: It's not like either is drawing comparisons to anyone named Manning or Brady.

McCown was crummy from the start, and Glennon has steadily gotten worse. McCown is a 35-year-old journeyman, and Glennon, 24, was a third-round pick who is now 5-13 as an NFL starter.

My guess is neither is going to end up on the cover of a video game.

But what's the goal here? To win the next game or to find a quarterback who can help you win for years?

Smith obviously believes McCown gives the Bucs a better chance to win this Sunday, but it's not as if there is a clear difference between the two. McCown has done nothing to prove he is head-and-shoulders above Glennon.

If there really isn't much of a difference between the two, why not go with the younger player?

I'm not sold on Glennon. I still don't think he has the makings of a franchise quarterback. But I do believe he has a better chance at becoming one than McCown. Hasn't McCown already proven over his 10 seasons that he is not a franchise quarterback?

In my mind, Glennon has about a 10 percent chance of becoming an elite quarterback. But McCown has a zero percent chance of being the franchise quarterback who can lead the team to multiple postseasons.

It's not as if McCown has four or five years left in this league. He has maybe two good years left, and you could have quite a lively debate about the "good" part. In a league where it seems a dozen teams every season are looking for quarterbacks, McCown never could stick as a full-time starter. Doesn't that mean something?

So why not ride Glennon just to find out once and for all if he has what it takes? If the light finally comes on, then you have your quarterback. And if he doesn't get better, then you can go after another quarterback in the draft or free agency.

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But what does going to McCown do for you? Even if he plays pretty well in the second half and goes, say, 5-3, he's still not going to be your guy for years to come.

"What we're trying to do and the reason why I made this decision is I think this gives us the best chance to win right now," Smith said. "It's about right now. This gives us the best chance to win. Every decision we make is just based on that simple fact."

The Bucs brought in McCown because they thought they had the makings of a pretty good football team this season. Well, circumstances have changed. This team isn't any good. McCown no longer brings the same dynamic.

Even one of Smith's buddies, Tony Dungy, questioned the decision.

"The reason you brought Josh McCown in is you thought you might be a playoff team this year if you got solid play at quarterback," Dungy said on NBCSN's Pro Football Talk. "You're not going to the playoffs, so you've got to play Mike Glennon. Find out if he is indeed the quarterback of the future and give him the opportunity to grow. I would not make the change at this time. I would let Mike Glennon ride this year out."

It's easy for Dungy and anyone outside the organization to throw support behind Glennon. Our jobs are not on the line. But, here's the thing: Smith's job isn't on the line, either. He's not going to be fired no matter how this season ends.

Yes, he's a football coach, and football coaches only care about one thing: winning the next game. He also is concerned about selling his program to a roster full of players. Eventually, you need to win some games to get them to buy in. It's also hard to sell tickets when you tell your fans that you're more interested in next November than this one.

But when you have only one win at this point, you need to recognize that this season is gone. Your goals should be long-term. To win in this league, you need a good quarterback. The Bucs don't have one at the moment. But Glennon has a better chance than McCown to develop into such a quarterback.

Glennon should be named the starting quarterback for the rest of the season.

And I don't care who announces it.