Bucs prepared to face former teammate Glennon

by Gary Shelton on September 14, 2017 · 0 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

McCoy has to lead a rush against an old friend./JEFFREY S. KING

McCoy has to lead a rush against an old friend./JEFFREY S. KING

Thursday, 4 a.m.

The Tampa Bay Bucs begin a new season Sunday against an old friend.

Why, hello, Mike Glennon.

Run into any controversy lately

Glennon, the for-the-time-being quarterback of the Chicago Bears, returns to play against the Bucs on Sunday. While he was in Tampa Bay, Glennon wasn't exactly a dynamic player — he won only five starts out of 18 for the Bucs – but he was highly regarded.

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Koetter's team hasn't played in a while./JEFFREY

Koetter's team hasn't played in a while./JEFFREY

“Mike is a very, very sharp guy,” said Bucs' coach Dirk Koetter. I’m sure he remembers a lot of stuff. Mike is a note taker – I’m sure he remembers a lot of stuff about our defense. At the same time, we know Mike and we know his strengths and weaknesses as well.”

There was a time, however, before Jameis Winston, that Glennon was considered a potential player for the Bucs. Greg Schiano, when he was the coach, thought the world of Glennon. At least, he did as he dumped Josh Freeman.

And now, as he returns to Tampa Bay, the question is whether he has the bigger advantage or does the Bucs' defense.

“I think it depends on who plays better that day,” defensive coordinator Mike Smith said. “We know that he’s very capable of making plays. If we don’t get pressure on him, we don’t cover and we aren’t on top of our game – Mike Glennon could make it tough for our defense. There is no doubt about that.”

Glennon hit 26 of 40 passes for Chicago last Sunday for 213 yards. He had a quarterback rating of 86.8.

“I’m really good friends with Mike Glennon,” said defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. “I shot him a message and told him, ‘I’m proud of you, man. You played well.’ I’m excited to compete against him. I’m looking forward to it, but I’m not looking forward to it because he is that good. We’ve just got to go out there and play. It starts with today (and) a good day of practice and we will see where it goes from there.

“When you go against Mike in practice, you know what you are going against — you know the offense, you know the cadence, you know the players, you know all of that. Now, he’s in a completely different city. His mindset could be different. He’s in the starting role. Mike got some reps with the ‘one’s and two’s here. Well, he is the guy there, so everything changes. The difference between Mike and our division opponents is Mike was around us every day. He knows guys’ emotions, he knows what our weaknesses are — he knows all of that. He knows guys personally. He knows my family, he knows the other defensive linemen’s families. When you’re dealing with that, you’ve really got to be prepared. You can’t go in there with the same stuff you’ve been doing. Mike is a smart guy. Six foot, seven (inches), can see everything in the defense — if you give him time, he will kill you. That’s why I love Mike. I am not going to love him Sunday, but I’m going to love him up until the national anthem and kickoff. Right before whoever is singing, sings, I love you Mike. But as soon as they start (the National Anthem), I hate you. As soon as the clock ticks zero, I love you again.”

When he was with the Bucs, Glennon had the reputation as a slow-footed quarterback who held onto the ball too long. As a rookie, he won four games, but he won only one afterward.

All of that stresses the importance of a decent pass rush by the Bucs.

“Pressure on the quarterback is the number one thing and the one we are facing this week,” Smith said. “We know Mike very well and he knows us very well. As the backup quarterback, we had Glennon throwing against our defense all the time. There were days that I would come off the field and think, ‘Man, we aren’t going to be able to stop anybody – Mike just cut us up in practice today.’

“Mike is a really fine thrower of the football. Back to your question about the pressure — the pressure is important. If the quarterback is comfortable by being able to stand back there in the pocket, he’s going to find open receivers — there is no doubt about it. Mike has a good understanding of our defense, so it’s going to be a challenge. It’s going to be a fun little chess match because Mike was with us last year.”

Former quarterbacks have haunted the Bucs over the years. Remember Steve Young? Back in 1993, Young led the 49ers to a 49-21 victory in which he hit 23 of 29 passes for 311 yards. He had a quarterback rating of 150.9. Young had three games in which he had greater than a 119.0 quarterback ranking, all wins.

Then there was Vinny Testaverde, who led his teams to three straight wins over the Bucs.

Now comes Glennon, who has to play well to keep rookie Mitch Trubiski on the bench. Also, there is a matter of his old team, which needs to get off to a good start at his expense.

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