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Glennon Has Bond with New Receivers

Posted Oct 3, 2013

The Bucs have added two players to rookie QB Mike Glennon's corps of targets this week, and they happen to be wideouts with which Glennon became very familiar during the preseason

  • QB Mike Glennon completed seven passes for 105 yards to Tiquan Underwood and Chris Owusu during the preseason
  • Underwood and Owusu are prime candidates to fill the vacant third-receiver role in Tampa Bay's offense
  • Glennon has a comfort level with both new receivers thanks to the preseason as well as training camp reps
One thing that gave rookie quarterback Mike Glennon confidence going into his first start for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was the heavy playing time he received in August during the preseason.  Glennon estimated that he took more snaps than any other rookie passer this summer.

If that experience gave him a certain comfort level in running the Buccaneers' offense, the effect has only increased this week.  Since the team began its bye week on Monday, it has added Chris Owusu and Tiquan Underwood to the receiving corps, Owusu in a promotion from the practice squad and Underwood in a veteran re-signing.  It just so happens that, during a good portion of that valuable playing time Glennon received in August, he was sharing the huddle with those two wideouts.

That's particularly true of Underwood, who played in all four preseason games and started alongside Glennon in the finale. Owusu only played in the opener and then missed the next three games due to an ankle injury; however, he and Glennon also shared countless reps on the practice field during training camp.

"Both those guys are really talented," said Glennon.  "Tiquan obviously has been around the league for a little while and made a lot of plays and it’s great to have him back. Chris Owusu, in the preseason he was hurt, but in practice we saw what he was capable of doing and before he got hurt he was doing a lot of special things. To have both of those guys I think will help us.”

Glennon first entered an NFL game at the end of the first quarter of the preseason opener against Baltimore.  The two receivers to come into the game with him were Owusu and Underwood.  Glennon would go on to target those two nine times, completing two to Owusu for 48 yards and one to Underwood for six.  (Glennon's very first professional pass was actually a 61-yard completion to tight end Tom Crabtree, who also happens to be a good bet to return to action next week after recovering from an ankle injury.)

- QB Mike Glennon's first NFL drive included Chris Owusu and Tiquan Underwood as his WRs

Over the course of the preseason, Owusu and Underwood would combine to catch seven passes for 105 yards.  All of them were thrown by Glennon.  Underwood wasn't around for Glennon's first pro start, but he's seen the tape, and that combined with his first-hand experience in August has him confident the two can work together well.

“When my reps came, he was the quarterback that was in, so I am pretty much comfortable with him," said Underwood.  "And now that I’m back, I see that he’s more comfortable with the offense, taking command of the huddle. It’s a neat thing to see, a young rookie like that taking control of his role and running with the opportunity.”

Underwood said he is going to take whatever chances he can find to get in some extra work with Glennon to try to forge even more of a "chemistry."  The veteran receiver has been keeping himself ready to play at a place called "Stars" in Anaheim, California, hitting the weight room and running football drills.  Meanwhile, Owusu has stayed in the Bucs' system on the practice squad as his ankle injury has slowly healed.  The Bucs think both players can step right in and help on offense behind starters Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams.

“We’re looking for Ti to come in and play at a high level that we’ve seen him play at; we need him to do that," said Head Coach Greg Schiano.  "Chris Owusu, we’ve moved up to the active roster and we’re looking for him to play well. With Eric Page and Russell Shepard there as well, we need all the guys to bring their game and add to Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams.”

When my reps came, he was the quarterback that was in, so I am pretty much comfortable with him.
-- WR Tiquan Underwood

Obviously, Glennon is still going to rely heavily on Jackson and Williams, and he already did a fine job of spreading the ball around to nine different pass-catchers in his first start.  Still, it doesn't hurt that two of his new targets, at least one of whom has a good chance at significant playing time as the new third receiver, are already so familiar.

“I’m happy to be back here playing football again, and I’m going to just try to pick up where I left off,” said Underwood.

Where Underwood left off was catching passes from Mike Glennon.  The Buccaneers would also like to see that connection re-established as quickly as possible.