TAMPA — Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford has barely had a chance to adjust the seat behind his desk to the proper setting, so still isn’t sure what his plans are for quarterback Mike Glennon.
Tedford’s plans for Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin are already starting to take shape, though, and that could be where the biggest change in the Bucs offensive attack is taking place.
Unlike former head coach Greg Schiano, who preferred to give the bulk of the carries to a single back such as Martin, Tedford plans to use a two- and maybe even three-back scheme that constantly forces defenses to adjust to his personnel.
“When I was at (the University of California) we were always very fortunate to have two very good backs, whether it was J.J. Arrington and Marshawn Lynch or Lynch and Justin Forsett, or Lynch and Jahvid Best or Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen,’’ Tedford said Wednesday.
“We really had a good one-two punch in the backfield there and I think that’s what you need. For one guy to carry the load the whole time, especially as physical as this level is, is a lot. So (we’re looking) to have two and probably three backs that can provide different things for you.’’
Tedford and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier held news conferences Wednesday at One Buc Place, taking questions for the first time since joining new head coach Lovie Smith’s staff. While Frazier suggested his defense could look familiar to longtime Bucs fans, Tedford indicated his offense might include some new wrinkles.
Whether the Bucs have the backs in place to add those wrinkles is hard to tell, Tedford said. He’s only been breaking down film of his new players for a few days and the limited work that backs such as Mike James and Bobby Rainey received last year has made it hard to gauge their true abilities.
Tedford does believe, however, there is “talent and potential’’ in those and other runners on the roster. And they are not the only young players that impressed Tedford during his initial review of last year’s game tape.
Tedford’s first impression of Glennon was positive, as well, and while he isn’t ready to ordain him as the Bucs’ starter for 2014, it is obvious he sees some staring-caliber qualities in the rookie.
“I think he’s got a lot of poise in the pocket,’’ said Tedford, a 25-year coaching veteran who is making the jump from the college ranks to the NFL for the first time in his career. “And he doesn’t get frustrated in the pocket. He’s pretty smart with the football. When things aren’t there, he’ll throw the ball away and he makes good decisions. And good decisions come in many forms, whether you’re trying to complete a pass, throw the football away, manage the clock, whatever it may be. “Physically he brings some real positives, but I also think there are some things he can improve on, and I think he realizes that. I think he understands what his limitations are and that we can improve on that in the weight room with strength and conditioning. And I think there are some quarterback fundamentals that we can help him with.”
Glennon replaced Josh Freeman as the starter in Week 4 and went on to complete 247 of 416 passes (59 percent) for 2,068 yards, 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
A third-round draft pick out of North Carolina State, Glennon produced an 83.9 passer rating that was the best among all rookie quarterbacks last year, though some think he’ll be limited in the future by a lack of athleticism.
Tedford isn’t so sure. He has developed six quarterbacks who were selected in the first round of the NFL draft and thinks Glennon has the ability to get out of the pocket and change the launch point of his throws.
“You don’t want to be a sitting duck in one spot all the time,’’ Tedford said.
Tedford saw evidence Glennon was a leader in the locker room and the huddle.
“When you’re a rookie, a backup and then you move into that (starter’s) role, it’s hard to grab the reins and do that,” Tedford said. “But my understanding is he’s a very well-respected guy in the locker room and I think that will continue to get better. The more you do it, the more you feel this is you’re team and the more leadership you can provide.’’
The Bucs appear to have some leaders emerging on the defensive side of the ball, as well, according to Frazier.
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and weakside linebacker Lavonte David are two reasons the Bucs’ new defense will not only look like one Bucs fans are accustomed to seeing but might perform like one, too.
“It will be very similar to what (Smith) did in Chicago and to what he did when he was working with Tony (Dungy) here years ago,’’ said Frazier, who was fired Dec. 30 after three seasons as Vikings head coach.
“It won’t be a whole lot different in that way, but those two components along with (a) pass rusher and a corner that can tackle as well as cover will really help to solidify this defense. You also need a (middle) linebacker than can function, as well.
“But we have two pieces in place with Gerald and Lavonte that gives you a chance now to add to some other areas. You’re not starting from ground zero with this defense.’’