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Schiano insists Freeman Bucs' No. 1 QB

The SportsXchange

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano spent the first day of OTAs Monday trying to dial down the rhetoric surrounding starting quarterback Josh Freeman.

Over the weekend, Schiano told the National Football Post that rookie Mike Glennon "can play quickly" if the Buccaneers need him.

"But our situation will be only if he's needed," Schiano said. "Or if he wins the job. Look, I'm not against that."

Following the Bucs' first full squad workout with coaches of the offseason Monday, Schiano insisted for at least the third time this offseason that he remains committed to Freeman as the starting QB.

"From the day we arrived, our whole program is that it's going to be competition," Schiano said. "Now we haven't always been able to have that because you can only get so many guys on your roster. That's what we believe in. It's the most competitive sports league in the world. Look, there's someone who wants my job. I know I'm competing with an invisible ... it's somebody. I know if I don't get it done, somebody is going to come and take my job. So it is competition. I love it.

"But we have our starting quarterback. It's Josh Freeman. I'm not looking to find a new one. But I do like to have quality depth at every position and when you get that, just naturally these are the most competitive guys on the planet and it raises everybody's level."

When Schiano was still head coach of Rutgers, he attempted to recruit Glennon, who told him he wanted to play in the ACC, not the Big East. But the Bucs made Glennon the third quarterback taken in the NFL draft. Glennon was selected 73rd overall, after Geno Smith and before Matt Barkley.

The Bucs have made no real effort to sign Freeman to a contract extension, preferring that he play out his contract.

But there is a perception, nationally, that Freeman is not Schiano's quarterback. Glennon may be.

"I'm just trying to be honest with them when they ask the question," Schiano said. "I told you guys from the beginning, I'm going to shoot you straight. I just try to tell them the truth that I believe in competition but also that Josh Freeman is our starting quarterback. Maybe I should just not say anything and then it wouldn't be an issue. But Josh knows how I feel and you guys know and I know Mike Glennon does, too. I told him the day I drafted him. I don't sweat it."

NOTES: Guards Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks did not participate in the Monday OTAs. Joseph is coming off a torn patellar tendon in his knee and Nicks was limited to eight games as a rookie. DE Adrian Clayborn did return Monday. ... Rookie Akeem Spence, drafted in the fourth round, got the majority of the snaps as the starting nose tackle and seems on track to win the job. ... Schiano called him possible one of the NFL's strongest players, and Spence showed his toughness and resolve when he got into a dustup with guard Jeremy Zuttah. The two had to be separated, something that required multiple players to accomplish.
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