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Glennon tries to solidify role with the Bucs

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The other guy owns the team. Mike Glennon. All he owned was the moment.

For Glennon, that was enough.

The other guy is in charge of the future. He is the one in the commercials, the one with the huge contract, the one that everyone is talking about. Glennon? He’s the guy in the trade rumors. He’s the holdover from the Greg Schiano era. He’s yesterday’s news.

Still, a team needs more than one quarterback, which leads us to Glennon dropping back in the Tampa Bay Bucs’ OTAs on Thursday. Stats from across the league suggest that most backups play about four games, which leads to game tape, which leads to league-wide interest.

So, for Glennon, it’s another day at a work. Another day to try to turn heads. Winston missed the practice to attend a rookie symposium.

“Mike is a professional,” Bucs’ coach Lovie Smith said. “Whatever we have asked him to do, whatever role we have asked him to play, he has 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. Right now, we feel like we can win with either player.”

Last year, the Bucs were unable to win with either Glennon or starter Josh McCown, each of whom led the Bucs to one victory. In 18 NFL starts, Glennon has only five wins.

Even down the stretch, when the season was lost, Glennon could not get off the bench. The Bucs didn’t draft Winston because they were so happy with what they had.

“You want to be the guy,” Glennon said. “you work like you’re going to be the guy. Be the best player you can be. Take it one day at a time. That’s really all you can do. I want to be a much better player come the end of June than I am right now. I want to have a better understanding and excel better in this offense.”

Last year, the Bucs were dreadful offensively. But with new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, there is a hope for better days.

“It’s my third offense in three years, and so far, I’d say it’s the one,” Glennon said. “We have great direction under Dirk. What he’s done in this division the three years he’s been in Atlanta they’ve been one of, if not the top, in our division.”

Glennon seems to have no illusions about his role on the Bucs. Sooner or later, he will be the backup quarterback.

“In the NFL, you always have to be ready,” he said. “No matter what it is, you’re being evaluated at all times whether you start the first game, the third game or the 16th game. Every game is important. Every game, you’re playing for a lot, for your team, for yourself, for your future.

“Anything can happen at any given time. I’m always going to approach it like I’m going to be the guy.

Despite the presence of Winston, Glennon said he did not want to be traded.

“I love it here in Tampa,” he said. “This has been my home for the past two years and I’m happy to be here. I’m happy to have Koetter around.”

As for Winston, Glennon said, “He’s a sharp kid. He’s intelligent. He throws the ball well. He’s got a bright future ahead of him.”

Perhaps that future has started already. Smith said that Winston had his best day of practice this week.

He has often repeated that he has no problems starting a rookie, not even right away.

“We are seeing marked improvement, like it should be. “He is feeling more and more comfortable in the pocket. He’s a football junkie, which we knew. We have to kind of tell him when to leave. He takes coaching well. We ask a lot, some things on the line of scrimmage. He didn’t have his training wheels on or anything like that. We kind of threw him out there, and he’s handled just about everything we’ve asked him to.”

Eventually, the Bucs will ask him to handle winning.

In the NFL, that’s the hard part.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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