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Steady QB Glennon Leading Buccaneers Turnaround

FRED GOODALL, AP Sports Writer
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Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Mike Glennon isn’t posting the flashiest numbers, however the rookie’s solid play has been one of the keys to the resurgence of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Bucs (3-8) have won three straight following an 0-8 start, with Glennon minimizing costly mistakes and building confidence by the victory.

The third-round draft pick out of North Carolina State threw for 247 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions during Sunday’s 24-21 win over Detroit.

Even more impressive: it was the fourth time in the past five games that he hasn’t turned the ball over.

“There’s still some rookie things he says and does that make you remember, ‘Oh yeah, this guy’s a rookie.’ But I think he has accelerated his progress by, from the day he got here, how hard he’s prepared and worked,” coach Greg Schiano said.

“He’s playing at a higher level than you would expect of a rookie,” the coach added. “The things that are hard for rookies (are) to let a bad play die and don’t get greedy. That’s what Mike does the best job of.”

Glennon has thrown one interception since a loss to Philadelphia on Oct. 13. He hasn’t lost a fumble since Tampa Bay’s opening possession of a loss at Atlanta the following week.

“In six games, he’s thrown one interception. He’s now throwing the ball down the field, I think, with more confidence, because he’s always been able to do it, just pulling the trigger,” Schiano said. “That is the development or the maturation of a quarterback. I think we’re all seeing it right in front of our eyes. I think this is a guy that certainly, as long as he continues on this trajectory, you’d love to have as your quarterback for a long time.”

The Buccaneers visit the Carolina Panthers this Sunday.

Since replacing an ineffective Josh Freeman, Glennon has completed nearly 63 percent of his passes for 13 touchdowns and four interceptions in eight starts.

The coaching staff and teammates laud the 23-year-old’s poise, decision-making in the pocket, and willingness to sacrifice personal statistics for the good of the team.

“Very rarely have we seen him, in anything, make a repeated mistake. There’s a lot to learn, there’s always going to be lots of mistakes that are out there, it’s such a difficult and important position he plays. … I think he’s very mature, he’s very focused, he works extremely hard and just has a very good football IQ,” offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said.

“I think also there’s a steadiness about him. He doesn’t let himself get too high or too low, he’s very even-keeled,” Sullivan added. “I think when someone has that perspective, particularly as a quarterback, they’re able to … focus and make those right decisions.”

The re-emergence of a productive running game has made a difference, too.

Glennon attempted 43, 43, 44 and 51 passes in his first four starts. With Tampa Bay posting three of its top four rushing totals over the past month, he’s thrown 23, 21, 23 and 21 passes over the past four games.

The Lions shut down the running game, limiting the Bucs to 22 yards of 24 carries. Nevertheless, with help from an opportunistic defense that had five takeaways and scored a touchdown, Glennon was able to thrive without a balanced attack.

Schiano is not surprised by the rookie’s success. In addition to playing in a pro-style offense in college, he said Glennon has benefited from tutelage from Sullivan and quarterbacks coach John McNulty, as well as backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky, who’s in his ninth NFL season.

“The coaches have been great but, being a player, Dan’s gone through it and he knows what it’s like to see through the quarterback’s eyes, and just about the preparation and everything that goes in,” Glennon said.

“From the time I got here, he kind of took me under his wing and he’s been a tremendous help,” Glennon added of Orlovsky. “I really can’t say enough about him, because he’s the first one in with me every day and is always just trying to help me out in whatever way possible.”

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AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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