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Lovie Smith: Glennon has provided hope

TAMPA, Fla. -- Since Josh McCown went out with a thumb injury, Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith has been very careful not to tip his hand to what the team will do when the quarterback his healthy.

But Smith came a little closer than usual Wednesday. He talked glowingly (by Smith's standards) of replacement quarterback Mike Glennon.

"I made the statement that Mike's our quarterback of the future, saying he has a future with us," Smith said. "That came a little sooner than we thought. His play, he's played well. Yeah, we'd like to have a couple of plays [back]. But looking at the overall picture on what Mike Glennon has done, he's given us a lot of hope. As far as our relationship, 'Mike, you have a big role in leading us back.' And he's accepting that challenge."

Smith stopped well short of saying Glennon will remain the starter even when McCown is healthy. Part of the reason for that is McCown still is a long way from being recovered. He has yet to throw a football.

But I think that part about Glennon "giving us a lot of hope" is highly significant. Let's be honest. McCown didn't play well while starting the first three games. The passing game has been much more productive since Glennon's been playing.

Smith is known for his loyalty, and he and McCown were together in Chicago. But, if Glennon continues to play the way he has, I think it's going to be hard for Smith to yank him when Glennon does return.