TAMPA, Florida — Now that the sputtering Tampa Bay Buccaneers have officially been eliminated from postseason contention in the woeful NFC South, coach Lovie Smith may be ready to take another look at Mike Glennon to try to determine if the second-year pro is the team's quarterback of the future.
The Bucs have stuck with career backup Josh McCown, Smith's hand-picked leader of an offense that ranks 29th among 32 teams in yards gained and 28th in scoring, as their through most of a disappointing season that'll see them miss the playoffs for the seventh consecutive year.
But his team sharing the league's worst record with four other clubs that also have a shot of winding up with the No. 1 pick in next spring's draft, it may be time to find out if Glennon — 1-4 as the starter when McCown was sidelined five games because of an injured right thumb — could be the long-term answer to making the franchise relevant again.
McCown was sacked six times and hit on 14 other occasions, while throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble on a bad snap during Sunday's 34-17 loss to the Detroit Lions.
After initially leaving the door open to the possibility of increasingly playing time for Glennon and other young players now that Tampa Bay (2-11) is mathematically eliminated from the NFC South race, Smith emphasized Sunday that he has no intention of experimenting down the stretch.
"Right now, we're just evaluating the video, kind of going from there," the coach said when asked specifically about whether he anticipates making a change at quarterback to give himself a chance to evaluate Glennon, a 2013 third-round draft pick who started 13 games as a rookie.
The play at Carolina (4-8-1) on Sunday.
"We want to put the best product on the field, guys in the right spot, ones that give us the best opportunity to win — things we've been saying each week," Smith added. "That's where we're at."
The Bucs have gone 1-7 under the 35-year-old McCown, who signed a two-year, $10 million contract as a free agent after having his best season as a pro while filling in for an injured Jay Cutler in Chicago last season.
But after throwing for 13 touchdowns and just one interception a year ago with the Bears, McCown has struggled with his accuracy and decision-making while completing 58 percent of his passes for 1,790 yards, nine TDs and 11 interceptions for Tampa Bay.
Glennon hasn't had much more success getting the Bucs into the end zone, completing 57.6 percent of his throws for 1,417 yards, 10 touchdowns and six interceptions.
The Bucs are averaging 18.2 points per game.
While Glennon get another opportunity to run the offense, there probably won't be wholesale lineup changes.
"We're going to do what gives us the best chance to win. If playing a player in a position won't hurt our football team to win the football game, we'll always look at that. But we haven't made it that far to even decide," Smith said.
"We haven't started looking at video from Carolina, yet. We won't give up a game just the see to put a player in a situation like that," the coach added. "I would like to think if there's a young player we haven't played, when you go through a 2-11 season, you would have looked at that option a little bit earlier. I don't think we have a lot of those situations around."
All content copyright ©2014 Daily Journal, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.