TAMPA — About an hour before Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano learned of his firing, he told his team during post-season exit meeting Monday morning that they were in good shape moving forward, in part, because they have their quarterback.
He was speaking, of course, about rookie Mike Glennon. And Schiano didn’t come off that statement later in the day when he held a news conference at the Renaissance International Plaza Hotel.
“I think the world of Mike Glennon,’’ Schiano said. “I think in a very, very tough set of circumstances this year, this guy performed at a very high level.
“He’s ultra-intelligent, he can make every throw. And you can say that we didn’t do this or that, but here’s a guy who threw two touchdown passes in eight games, and I don’t know if that’s ever been done by a rookie.’’
Glennon, the team’s third-round pick in the 2013 draft, won only four of 13 starts, but finished with a 83.9 passer rating that ranked third among rookie quarterbacks through 13 starts since 2010.
His 19 touchdown passes almost doubled the previous franchise record for a rookie, set by Josh Freeman in 2009, and his 2,608 passing yards were the most for a Bucs rookie.
And he did it, Schiano pointed out, with an offense that for the majority of the games he played, was missing injured WR Mike Williams and RB Doug Martin, two of the Bucs’ most productive players.
“Yet, Mike overcame that and did what I thought was an excellent job,’’ Schiano said. “So, that’s what I mean when I say, moving forward, whoever gets the opportunity to be a part of this great franchise is going to have a guy that they can lean on.’’
Kicking it into gear
One thing the new Bucs coach should have that Schiano did not this past season is Connor Barth, the most accurate and consistent kicker in franchise history.
Barth missed the entire 2013 season after tearing his right Achilles tendon while participating in a charity basketball game in July, but said he is already well down the road to recovery.
“It’s coming along well,’’ Barth said during a brief stop in the Bucs locker room Monday. “I’ve been kicking a little bit, actually hitting back the 50(-yard range) again, but I’m not doing anything crazy.
“I’ just trying to get my leg back in shape. I’ve still got some rehab to do, something strengthening to do, but I’m close to getting back to where I want to where I was, to where I want to be.’’
Barth, who joined the Bucs as a free agent in November, 2009, has hit on 91 of 108 field goals he’s attempted for an 84.3-percent conversion rate that his the best in Bucs history.
Barth also holds the franchise record for most consecutive field goals made (25), as well as the single-season franchise record for most field goals of 50 yards or more (six), set in 2012.
Barth said he believes he’ll be ready to participate fully when training camp begins and may even be ready for full-time work when the Bucs offseason workout program begins in April.
“It’s been five and half months, so I have to imagine in six months I’ll be feeling pretty good,’’ he said. “Offseason workouts begin in (late) April, and I should be in great shape by then.
Counting his blessings
Lavonte David on Sunday finished off one of the best seasons ever for an NFL linebacker, one in which he became the first to record at least six sacks and five interceptions in the same season.
That wasn’t good enough to earn David a spot on this year’s Pro Bowl team, but with a little help from his friends around the league, David seems to have gotten over the snub.
“I was getting Twitter mentions from guys from other teams saying I should be there, and it means a lot that those guys see how I play,’’ David said. “It’s an honor to even be considered, and it’s only my second year.
“So it’s a blessing really. All I can do is play football. If it were up to me I’d be in all six (pass rusher) spots. But I was voted an alternate, so that’s still a blessing.’’
Barth wasn’t the only injured Buccaneer to make a return to the locker room on Monday. WR Mike Williams, who missed the last 10 games of the season with a torn hamstring, was back as well.
Williams believes he’ll soon be back on the field working out in preparation for a comeback season in 2014. He said he never wants to go through another season like 2013 again.
“It was real hard,’’ Williams said. “I’ve never been injured like that before and having to watch it and not be able to help that was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. But in a couple of weeks, I’ll be back out there working out again. I’m looking forward to that.’’