TAMPA, Fla. – Almost a year to the date after the great quarterback shakeup of 2013, Mike Glennon was standing in the same spot, but looking and sounding a lot different.
Glennon is expected to start in place of Josh McCown (sprained thumb) on Sunday at Pittsburgh. Glennon also was thrust into the starting role in Week 4 of last season, when Josh Freeman was benched. Glennon wound up starting the final 13 games of his rookie season.
Standing at the podium as he met with the media Wednesday, Glennon appeared more relaxed and quotable than he did at any time as a rookie. That’s only because Glennon is more relaxed.
“Without a doubt," Glennon said. “Last year at this exact same time was when they announced me as the starter. I didn’t know what to expect then. I know what it’s like to play now. I know what it’s like to go out there and get hit by the defensive linemen, I know what it’s like to throw a touchdown and everything in between. I’m a lot more confident and a lot more comfortable than last year."
That’s a good thing, because the winless Bucs need an offensive spark.
“We have a lot of talented guys on this team and my job is to get the ball in their hands and let them score and do their thing," Glennon said. “I know our defense is going to play well. Just get the ball into the playmakers’ hands and we’ll be fine."
Glennon showed some promise as a rookie, but was passed over for the starting job when coach Lovie Smith took over. Smith had history with McCown in Chicago and wanted a veteran quarterback to run his team. Smith has said Glennon is the quarterback of the future, while also praising how Glennon handled the demotion. Glennon acknowledged that wasn’t easy, but he’s persevered by being a team player.
“It was not the ideal situation for myself," Glennon said. “But it’s a team effort and you don’t know how things are going to play out. As tough as it was at times, I just had a positive mindset through it all and knew it would all work out. But we’re not where we want to be yet as a team and I’m not where I want to be. There’s still a long way to go."
But Glennon has come a long way from where he was a year ago. Glennon said last year’s trial by fire has him much more prepared for this opportunity.
“Until you do it, you don’t know what it’s really like," Glennon said. “I know how to prepare, how to lead, what it’s like on game day. There are just a lot of mental things that go into it. Physically, I’d imagine that I’m a little more talented now just because I have been through those situations. It’s more the mental side of things, how to approach game day and how to go out there and execute. I’m definitely more confident this go-around, my knowledge of the game and everything."