By Max Luckan
Slowly, the drama that was once the norm in Tampa Bay has subsided, at least for now. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, however, are still winless this season, and have lost 13 of their last 14 games.
Yet, there are bright spots on this talented roster. Second-year safety Mark Barron has quietly become one of the toughest safeties in the league, feared by opposing receivers. Linebacker Lavonte David, also in his second year, has undoubtedly established himself as a top five linebacker.
Then there’s rookie quarterback Mike Glennon, who while winless in his first five NFL starts, has steadily improved and has handled himself well overall. It is time to start looking toward the future and these players mentioned appear to be part of the Bucs plans.
Schiano has high praise for Glennon
Throwing Glennon’s 0-5 record aside, it is already pretty easy to see that he is a product of the Dana Bible quarterback tree.
In five games, Glennon has completed 60.3 percent of his passes – a number Josh Freeman could only dream of – and he’s thrown eight touchdowns against only three interceptions. Those stats aren’t mind blowing, but the rapid improvement is pretty impressive.
Schiano was particularly impressed with how Glennon handled the tough environment at CenturyLink Field last Sunday.
“I think he’s more than managing,” Schiano said of Glennon. “That game manager thing is kind of a left-handed compliment a lot of times for a quarterback. He’s doing a heck of a lot more than that.”
“I thought going into that environment, [he] was veteran-like. Not at all intimidated,” Schiano continued. “I thought he did a very good job. A quarterback rating above 120 [123.1]. Those are things that are getting us excited and encouraged. Three games without an interception, that’s what we have to do, that’s how we have to play the game. I’m mad at myself for not getting us there sooner.”
After breaking down the tape, it appears that Glennon’s accuracy and composure appear to be far above average for a rookie quarterback. Surprisingly, Glennon has also shown some mobility, which was unexpected, but is an added bonus for the Bucs.
Despite Glennon’s early flashes of brilliance, the Bucs will still have a decision to make this offseason about whether or not he is the team’s quarterback of the future. And with a deep draft class at quarterback coming up, that decision won’t be easy.
Offensive line finally shows improvement
The Bucs offensive line has done more shuffling than beachgoers during the height of stingray season this year. However against the Seattle Seahawks, the offensive line played well, helping running back Mike James on his way to 158 yards on the ground.
Jamon Meredith started his first game of the season on Sunday at left guard, and the combination appeared to work well.
“I thought the whole line blocked as well as they have all year,” Schiano said. “One of the things that was most promising was there were no negative plays, no negative runs, all positive.”
If this combination pans out, it could do wonders for James and running back Doug Martin when he comes back. But a strong, consistent offensive line will do the most for Glennon, whose progress will only speed up with better play from the guys up front.
Obviously, the Bucs still have a lot of work ahead of them, but actually, the team played as well as they have all season against the Seahawks. Now they just have to see that their improved play translates into a couple wins.
For more Bucs news and updates, visit Bucs Central.
Max Luckan lives in Tampa, FL and is a sports writer covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and NFL. Luckan has been covering the Buccaneers for a few years now. Max is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.