Ex-Tampa Bay QB leads Bears in Bucs opener
TAMPA — Nobody may enjoy Mike Glennon's homecoming today more than the Buccaneers.
The Bucs defense especially should enjoy catching up with the Chicago Bears quarterback.
They know him well enough to know he can't run from them, particularly on third-and-long.
Football romantics around Chicago have done a nice job portraying Glennon's return to Raymond James Stadium as a sentimental journey, which for the Bears quarterback it will be after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Bucs from 2013-2016 before being supplanted by Florida State Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston.
Glennon has sounded sincere thanking the Bucs organization for all it did for him and wishing the community he used to call home well after the impact of Hurricane Irma. He's a classy professional. The storyline supplied a solid theme that gave Glennon a greater purpose: helping the Bears defense with insight on Bucs coach Dirk Koetter’s scheme while still leading the Bears offense.
But the tale grew taller at the suggestion that Glennon will have an advantage because of his experience playing against Bucs defensive players in practice.
The problem is that guys such as defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David remember Glennon just as well as he remembers them — which means they likely look forward to exploiting his immobility.
Glennon's salary has changed considerably since the last time his former teammates saw him. His skill set hasn't. At 6-feet-6, Glennon remains better at reading the blitz than escaping it. If someone mentions “quick release” associated with Glennon, you assume it's a discussion about his roster status and not his throwing motion.
The mental part of Glennon's game always has been more impressive than the physical, a reality that projects him a great backup quarterback but average starter at best.
Bucs defensive starters haven't played a game in 22 days after the effects of Irma delayed their season opener originally scheduled at Miami last week.
They are rested and restless, waiting to channel all that pent-up aggression in the same direction — Glennon's. They have a reservoir of memories more valuable than the videotape of the Falcons game when studying Glennon's tendencies. Only two defenses in the league last season took the ball away more than the Bucs did, and they plan to pick up where they left off, starting with Glennon the game manager.
This could be as good as it gets for Glennon — or the beginning of the end as Bears starter. The opportunity offers Glennon a chance to lead his new team to victory against his old one, an emotional and reaffirming experience he always would remember.
Or it could be the challenge that exposes Glennon on a day he will want to forget.
Either way, it is no stretch to say today marks the biggest game of Glennon's career.
The Bears need more out of their quarterback than he gave them in a 23-17 home loss last week against the Falcons, which was one good quarter. In a word, Glennon was serviceable.
So thus the specter of passer Mitch Trubisky looms larger every week as Chicago’s No. 2 overall pick from North Carolina becomes more comfortable.