Mike Glennon still preparing as if he'll start

TAMPA, Fla. -- On the day the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted quarterback Jameis Winston, Mike Glennon became the backup -- again.

Essentially, Glennon has been benched three times in just over a year. He instantly was knocked down the depth chart when the team signed Josh McCown as a free agent last spring. He was sent back to the bench after starting five games last season when McCown was injured. And when the Bucs drafted Winston with the No. 1 overall pick, it was a sign that Glennon was headed back to the bench.

Although they keep passing him over for the starting job, the Bucs insist they have confidence in Glennon.

“Mike is a professional,’’ coach Lovie Smith said. “Whatever we have asked him to do, whatever role we have asked him to play, he’s done that. It’s about the quarterback position. We want to be as strong as ever and I feel like we have that with Jameis and Mike. Again, right now we feel like we can win with either player, and they will show us exactly how they stack up on the depth chart and all that.”

There’s no doubt Winston will be at the top of the depth chart when the regular season starts. But that’s not stopping Glennon from preparing like he is competing for the starting job.

"I think that's all there is to do as a quarterback,’’ Glennon said. “You want to be the guy, work like you're going to be the guy, be the best player you can be, take it one day at a time, and that's really all you can do."

That’s a healthy approach to take. If Glennon has learned anything in his first two seasons, it’s that a backup quarterback always has to be ready to play.

As a rookie in 2013, Glennon was pushed into the starting lineup for the fourth game after the feud between Josh Freeman and former coach Greg Schiano boiled over. Last year, Glennon found himself starting five games after McCown suffered a torn ligament in his thumb.

"Anything can happen at any given time,’’ Glennon said. ”I'm always going to approach it like I'm going to be the guy. If that's the way you approach it, when that time comes, whether it's the first game or the 16th game, you'll be ready."

There has been some suggestion from fans that the Bucs should add a veteran to go with Winston and Glennon. But that’s not necessary. Glennon is the perfect backup.

He is wise beyond his years. Despite his desire to start, he’s not the type to rock the boat. And it doesn’t hurt that Glennon has shown he can play a little bit. Glennon said he’s more than willing to work with Winston.

“Everyone brings something different to the table,’’ Glennon said. “Some people are better at different areas than the others, so you can watch each other's games and learn from that. Every rep I'm out there, he can take from me; every rep he's out there, I can learn from him. It's about getting those mental reps. Every play, just kind of do that, and I think we can help each other."