TAMPA — On the first play of his first NFL game on Thursday night, Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie quarterback Mike Glennon did exactly what he did not want to do.
But with the Baltimore Ravens pass rush closing in, he also showed some poise, quickly gathering himself at Tampa Bay’s 6-yard line and finding tight end Tom Crabtree downfield for what turned into a 61-yard completion.
“My initial read wasn’t open and I started panicking,’’ said Glennon, a third-round draft pick from relieved starter Josh Freeman late in the in the first quarter. “I was actually going to take a safety there. But then, all of a sudden, Crabtree flashed on me.
“I didn’t know if he was going to take it to the house or not but that was definitely a pretty unique way to kick off my career.’’
The play set up Derek Dimke’s 35-yard field goal for a 6-0 lead. Though the Bucs lost 44-16 to the reigning Super Bowl champions, Glennon complete 11 of 23 passes for 169 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. He also managed to make a good impression on head coach Greg Schiano.
“It got a little dicey there (on that first play), but that’s one thing Mike does well — he keeps his cool and he was able to find Tom, so I think he did a good job running the operation,’’ Schiano said.
Glennon is second on the Bucs depth chart, behind Freeman and ahead of veteran Dan Orlovsky.
“We plan on keeping three quarterbacks,’’ Schiano said. “Now, you never know what can actually happen, but that’s the plan. And Dan Orlosvsky is our third quarterback.”
Schiano does not foresee a battle for the No. 1 spot.
“Josh has done everything to my expectations so far, so I don’t see that being the way things play out,” Schiano said.
Bank on it
Schiano knows a tentative cornerback when he sees one, the tendency to give a receiver more cushion in coverage a dead giveaway. But Schiano didn’t see anything like that from rookie CB Johnthan Banks on Thursday.
The second-round draft pick is looking to jump from college standout to NFL starter.
“Jonathan keeps getting better at playing with his eyes, and that’s the hardest thing to do as a defensive back — put your eyes where they’re supposed to be,’’ Schiano said. “If they’re supposed to be on the quarterback, have them there. If they’re supposed to be on your man, have them there. And if you’re supposed to take them off your man at a certain time and put them on the quarterback, do that.
“Now, that sounds easy, but it’s not, especially when the guy you’re covering is bearing down on you and there’s a crowd full of people out there waiting to see if you get beat.”
Banks, who won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top collegiate defensive back last year, finished the Bucs preseason opener with one pass breakup and a team-leading five tackles.
Put me in, Coach
In what amounted to a cameo appearance against the Ravens, WLB Lavonte David provided one of Tampa Bay’s few highlights. David sacked Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco off a delayed blitz, creating a down-and-distance situation that resulted in Flacco throwing an interception two plays later.
The interception by CB Danny Gorrer marked the end of David’s night.
“I was just getting back into the groove then,’’ David said. “I actually didn’t want to come out. I had to, because I have to listen to the coaches, but I was just getting my blood flowing. I was ready to play the whole game.’’
Solid, not spectacular
Freeman played only two series, completing four of seven throws for 34 yards. He was also sacked once, but Schiano didn’t think it stained an otherwise solid outing.
“There was nowhere to go with that ball, so he can try to run there, but there was nowhere to run with it either,’’ Schiano said. “Sometimes, you’re going to get sacked.”
Schiano liked Freeman’s 22-yard pass to Kevin Ogletree on third-and-7, calling it “vintage Josh.”
“That’s what he does well,” Schiano said, “he keeps his eyes down the field. He didn’t have a chance to be spectacular, but he was solid.”
RB Peyton Hillis (hyper-extended knee) and WR Chris Owusu (high ankle sprain) were injured Thursday, though Schiano wasn’t sure how severely. Gorrer (groin) also left the game early.