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Buccaneer Players Quotes, Dec. 4

Posted Dec 4, 2013

Sunday's game will mark the first time Bucs QB Mike Glennon has squared off against a fellow rookie passer, and it just happens to be an old friend...Plus other thoughts from Buccaneer players

When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Buffalo Bills this Sunday, it will be just the third game in the NFL this season that pits two rookie starting quarterbacks against each other. Buffalo's E.J. Manuel and Tampa Bay's Mike Glennon were the first and third quarterbacks drafted in April, respectively, with the New York Jets' Geno Smith sandwiched in between. Those three are the only rookies who have started the majority of their team's games this season, and after this weekend they will have completed two sides of the triangle of competition between them.

Glennon was not yet starting under center for the Buccaneers when they took on Smith and the Jets in Week One. However, the two Bills-Jets games this season – in Weeks Three and 12 – both featured two rookie passers, with each team winning at home. Now Glennon and Manuel get a shot at each other, and it will surely bring back memories of their shared ACC days at North Carolina State and Florida State, respectively.

-- QB M. Glennon is very familiar with his rookie counterpart in Buffalo, E.J. Manuel
In fact, NC State's comeback 17-16 win over the then-number-three-ranked Seminoles last October ranks as one of Glennon's fondest collegiate memories.

“It’s up there," he said. "I don’t think there’s much that tops that. They were the number-three team in the country at the time, [we] were down 16-0, and to come back, that was definitely one of my best football experiences ever.”

Glennon obviously enjoyed the experience, but he didn't feel like gloating about it when he met Manuel in the center of the field. The two had been friends since their high school days and Glennon knew the loss was tough on his counterpart.

“I’ve known EJ since probably my sophomore, junior year of high school," said Glennon. "We just always were on the same recruiting visit together. Then we were roommates at the Elite 11 together. I think ever since we have just kind of stayed in touch, especially because we played in the ACC, so I saw him once a year there. Then, a few years ago, we went back as counselors at the Elite 11 and were roommates again. I know EJ really well. Our families know each other. It’s pretty cool to be playing against him now at this level.”

Glennon's friendship with this weekend's rival passer wasn't the only topic being discussed Wednesday at One Buc Place. Below are some additional thoughts from Buccaneer players.

QB Mike Glennon

(On if he and Manuel played each other in high school)
“We didn’t play against each other. I still remember, in the state semi-finals, we played against a school right near him and he came to the game just to watch me. He’s a great guy. His parents are great people. It’s just neat that, through high school, you don’t know what’s going to happen, and then [in] college, we played against each other, and now again in the NFL.”

(On what Manuel said to him after the win over FSU)
“He just said, ‘I’m happy for you.’ We shook hands and that was about it. I knew it was tough on him.”

(On talking to Manuel about that game before the season)
“I knew that it was going to be a good game, because that was supposed to be our big year. They got us good my junior year, but that last year, they were flying high, but it was nice to kind of knock them off that.”

(On if he has talked to Manuel this season)
“Just very briefly, not a whole lot. When he got injured, I texted him just to see how he was doing, but not a whole lot.”

(On what has caused struggles in the second half of games)
“I don’t know. It’s something that [was] brought to the attention [of the team] a couple weeks ago, and we made [it] a point of emphasis to come out faster in the second half. I think the week was the Atlanta week and we came out well in that second half. It’s something that we’ve kind of focused on. I don’t think there’s an exact answer for it, but it’s something that [Head] Coach [Greg Schiano] has discussed with us as a team and made a point of emphasis.”

(On making adjustments at half time)
“I think a term that’s kind of overused is those ‘half-time adjustments.’ We talk about some things that are happening, but typically, their defense is their defense and we see the same thing in the second half as we did in the first half. [There] may be a wrinkle here and there, but it’s nothing major that will alter our game plan.”

(On what he took away from the loss at Carolina)
“I think, one, both the turnovers, just how much of an impact they can have on the game. Even though it wasn’t a mental mistake, that fumble right there shows you just can’t have those turnovers because [with] those three extra points, who knows what could happen in the game. Then, the second turnover – I have to know that once I got off my path and had to step up late, guys are fast enough at this level that I can’t just throw it down. It’s smarter for me to just throw it away. I just tried to grip it too hard, and when I did that, it didn’t come out well. It definitely will be [a learning experience]. Now, I know, going forward, if it’s not there right away, live to see another down. It would’ve been third-and-1 on the 50-yard line or so. Again, you just don’t know. Those two turnovers – who knows what would’ve happened had we not had those.”

(On the Buffalo defensive line)
“They’re really good. Those pass-rushers up front, they do a lot of stuff – they put the defensive backs on an island pretty much. They think that they can get to the quarterback and that those defensive backs can shut down our receivers. It’s something that we know we’ll have to handle. Our offensive line will do a great job against them, but those guys up front for them are playing really well, and it’s something that we have noticed and we’re aware of, that they are leading the league in sacks.”

(On emphasizing the short passing game because of Buffalo’s pass rush)
“I think it has to be. We’ll have to do different things to slow down that pass rush because they are so good. We’ll have to run the ball, we’ll have to work our quick game and we’ll have to take our shots when they’re there, because it’s tough against a pass rush that good that we can’t be holding the ball all day. Our coaches will do a good job making sure we get the ball out of our hands and don’t let them get to us.”

DT Gerald McCoy

(On the magnitude of affecting a quarterback’s throw)
“If I can get my hands in a quarterback’s face, and it’s just a matter of inches of a guy throwing the football – this is called the game of inches, right? So, a matter of inches on a throw can change anything. That could be the difference in a tipped pass that can cause an interception or an overthrow or a bad throw that causes an interception. You never know. Just that little bit matters.”

(On improving from last week)
“We’ve got to play better. This last week, collectively – and you know I never talk about the offense, but offense, defense, special teams – we didn’t play like the Buccaneers. We played like an NFL team. We played like professionals, we played hard, but we didn’t play like we’ve been coached and trained to do. As far as getting to the quarterback, we’ve just got to go. We’ve got to refocus. This is the last four weeks. We’ve got to turn it up. We’re not going to the playoffs. That’s a fact. So what? Are we going to lay down or are we going to finish off strong? We have four more weeks to leave our mark on 2013. What’re we going to do with it? It’s up to us.”

(On playing well at home)
“[When] people come into your house, it’s critical to play [well] at home. You’ve got your home field advantage, you’ve got the fans around you. [If] you go on the road, [nobody’s] cheering for you. You’ve got a few fans who travel, you’ve got some fans who are Bucs fans at away games, but at home, the fans are yours, so you’ve got to take advantage of it while you’ve got it, especially these last couple weeks.”

T Donald Penn

(On what the team needs to do to improve their second-half performance)
“I think we’ve got to put it on us. I really try not to put it on other teams. At the end of the day, we’ve got to execute. We’ve got to run the plays that the coaches call to the best of our ability, and near perfect. At times, we haven’t done that. At times, we have. It’s just something about getting more consistent and just coming out of those gates firing. We’ve got to come out of those gates firing. We’ve got to get that mentality in our head. When we do, we’re a deadly team. It’s been a tough year, and we’re all still fighting and crawling. We’re out there working out butts off and trying to get it better, but we’re having these ups and downs – it’s not helping us. We’ve got to stay even-keeled on the way up.”

(On Buffalo’s defensive line)
“They’ve got some good players on that front. They’re really underestimated. [Defensive end] Mario [Williams is] playing good, both Williams’ [defensive tackle Kyle Williams] are playing great football. The other d-tackle [Marcell Dareus], he’s a real good, physical player. [Number] fifty-five [defensive end Jerry Hughes], he’s a great pass-rusher that really gets no credit coming off the edge. They’re doing some good things. They’ve kind of got a lot of similarities [to us]: [they] do some good stuff ‘here,’ they do some good stuff ‘here,’ but they haven’t put it all together. At times, they do. At times, they don’t. We’ve got to go out there and just make sure we attack them and do what we can do well and just keep doing it consistently.”