It turns out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers might not have much of a quarterback battle, after all. The team certainly has options to choose from with second-year signal-caller Mike Glennon and free-agent acquisition Josh McCown in the mix.
McCown always seemed to have a built-in advantage due to his relationship with new Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith from their days together in Chicago and his successful five-start campaign for the Bears last year.
According to Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com, McCown appears to have the immediate edge over Glennon, even though Smith does like the former NC State star to be a long-term answer:
Josh McCown is expected to start at quarterback this season, and Mike Glennon has been pegged by Smith as the team’s quarterback of the future. Glennon, of course, will continue to compete in an effort to try to win the starting job back this year, and that outcome isn’t completely out of the question.
As Rotoworld.com noted after Smith's report came out, the Buccaneers have spent the offseason making their offense over in a vein similar to the one McCown excelled in with the Bears last year: Big wide receivers who can make plays in traffic.
Bucs brass has called McCown-Mike Glennon a training camp battle at times since the draft, but it's pretty clear McCown is viewed as the 2014 starter. The Bucs also specifically drafted to suit McCown's skill set, arming him with plus-sized receiver Mike Evans, and jumbo tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins in an attempt to mimic the Bears' 2014 offense.
Vincent Jackson was already under contract when Smith was hired, while Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins were drafted by the team in April. All three stand 6'5" or taller. Since McCown is coming from a situation with Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, both standing 6'4", he should feel right at home.
Glennon did have moments as a rookie where he looked like a quarterback who could lead a good offense. He had a five-game stretch midway through the season in which he completed better than 69 percent of his passes and ended the year with a respectable 19 touchdowns to nine interceptions in 13 starts.
Of course, the Buccaneers are also setting themselves up for a massive disappointment. There's a reason McCown has been a career backup, so expecting to find a true starting quarterback based on a five-game sample is risky.
There's also the matter of not knowing what Glennon can be since he is just 24 years old, had flashes of brilliance as a rookie with little talent around him in his first season.
Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated noted after Smith's introductory press conference that McCown's spot on the depth chart was a clear indication of where the head coach thinks the team is at right now.
But the Buccaneers — in some ways like the Chiefs of 2012 — had more talent than their record indicated, perhaps needing only a coaching change, QB swap and upgrades in some key positions to make a serious leap up the standings.
Since the Buccaneers are built to compete now in the NFC South, based on the way they have spent money and drafted recently, going with the veteran certainly fits their thinking. It just might come at the expense of McCown's long-term development.
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