Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano is sending starting quarterback Josh Freeman to the bench in favor of rookie Mike Glennon, who will make his first NFL start Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.
Schiano said last week at New England that he didn't consider pulling Freeman, dismissing the fact that Glennon warmed up on the sideline in the third quarter of the 23-3 loss that dropped the Buccaneers' record to 0-3.
On Monday, he said "Josh is our starter," when pressed about the quarterback pecking order.
The Buccaneers have scored three offensive touchdowns in their first three games. Freeman has been sacked seven times with a completion percentage of 45.7
Criticized for not throwing unless receivers are entirely uncovered downfield and erratic accuracy, Freeman is a free agent at the end of the 2013 season. The biggest knock on Glennon, a 6-foot-6, 220-pound pocket passer, is accuracy and limited mobility.
Glennon, known for his arm strength, has enough physical skills to excel. When the Buccaneers evaluated him, they rated Glennon as one of the top pro-style quarterbacks in the 2013 draft because of his ability to push the ball downfield with ease to top outside targets Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams.
Glennon was the backup to Russell Wilson at North Carolina State before Wilson transferred to Wisconsin for the 2011 season. Wilson, a third-round pick in 2012, has excelled in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks.
---The Cleveland Browns will stick with Brian Hoyer as their starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the rival Cincinnati Bengals.
Coach Rod Chudzinski said Hoyer will get the nod over Brandon Weeden after leading the Browns to a 31-27 victory on the road over the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday.
Making his first start for the Browns and the second of his NFL career, Hoyer completed 30 of 54 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns, including a winning 7-yard scoring strike to Jordan Cameron in the final minute. Hoyer also threw three interceptions but was impressive in leading the Browns to their first victory of the season during an unsettling week that saw running back Trent Richardson traded to the Indianapolis Colts.
Weeden started the first two games but suffered a thumb injury that forced him to sit out last week. The thumb has not healed sufficiently for him to return this week.
Hoyer is in his fifth year in the NFL. The Cleveland-area native was acquired by the Browns in the offseason from the Arizona Cardinals, where he played in two games last season. Hoyer spent his first three seasons with the New England Patriots as a backup to Tom Brady.
---The NFL Players' Association is questioning whether the proper steps were taken with Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor on Monday night after he suffered a concussion in a 37-21 loss in Denver.
Pryor absorbed a legal helmet-to-helmet hit from Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard on a run near the goal line in the fourth quarter. He stayed in the game for two more plays before coming out and then being escorted to the locker room for evaluation.
The union has concerns about whether the Raiders followed the league's concussion protocol.
"It's questionable," a source told ESPN.
Pryor lay face down on the field for a moment after the hit. Before the next play, there was a two-minute, 50-second delay while officials reviewed whether Pryor had fumbled.
But Raiders coach Dennis Allen said Pryor showed no concussion symptoms after the hit.
The union will wait to review game tape before deciding how to proceed.
"All indications are that the Raiders followed the proper protocol," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told ProFootballTalk.com.
Pryor posted Tuesday on Twitter that his memory of what happened during the game was vague.
Pryor's status remains up in the air for Sunday's home game against the Washington Redskins.
---Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder was limited in practice Wednesday in London by a rib injury and raised the possibility of backup Matt Cassel starting in his place on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Ponder suffered the rib injury in the Vikings' loss to the Cleveland Browns last Sunday. He finished that game and was able to throw on Wednesday during a team walkthrough practice.
Ponder wouldn't specify whether the ribs were bruised or broken. He said his biggest concern is absorbing another hit, particularly in that region of the body.
Ponder explained he played through similar rib injuries while at Florida State. The Vikings' equipment staff was preparing extra padding to protect the area.
Rib injury or not, Ponder has struggled in the Vikings' first three games. He has thrown five interceptions and only two touchdown passes.
---Baltimore Ravens players disagree with linebacker Ray Lewis' comments about the team lacking leadership this season.
Lewis took the team to task after it was reported that wide receiver Torrey Smith was hit over the head on Sunday night by a stripper with a champagne bottle.
Quarterback Joe Flacco chided.
"Ray knows better than that. Things happen," Flacco said. "We're usually a pretty good team with stuff like that. If you look around the league, there's a lot of leadership problems then."
Linebacker Terrell Suggs said, "We have a lot of leaders on this team. I don't think that's one thing we're stressed (about), We don't know worry about that. We're worried about what we're trying to do as a team."
Lewis retired after the Ravens won the Super Bowl in February. Veterans Ed Reed, Anquan Boldin and Matt Birk also are no longer with the team.
"When you think about the Baltimore Ravens and the transition that they went through, they're missing leadership right now," Lewis said on Monday Night Football. "When you have an incident like (late Sunday) night, the first thing a leader is going to do is find some way to dissolve everything that's going on -- and actually dissolve it before it comes to that type of head or even gets to this point. When you talk about the Baltimore Ravens, they're going to have to refocus and find some leaders in that locker room very quickly."
Fullback Vonta Leach thinks the situation was overblown.
"Leadership on our team is good," Leach told The (Baltimore) Sun. "I don't think necessarily there's a question about our leadership. It's bad publicity, but no one got hurt or arrested. It could have been worse. Things happen. It's all right."
---The Dallas Cowboys placed starting defensive end Anthony Spencer on season-ending injured reserve and picked up cornerback Chris Greenwood from the Detroit Lions' practice squad.
Spencer faces surgery on his left knee, said his agent, Jordon Woy. It is the same knee that underwent surgery two months ago.
The 29-year-old Spencer missed all of the preseason after the first surgical procedure before he returned to play in the opener against the New York Giants. He injured the knee again during a Week 2 game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Greenwood was selected in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Lions. He sat out his rookie season with a torn abdominal muscle.
---Fullback John Conner signed a two-year contract with the New York Giants, according to several media reports.
Conner played for the New York Jets, including eight starts in 2011, and was released by the Cincinnati Bengals in August after losing a competition with Orson Charles in training camp.
The Giants needed a fullback after Henry Hynoski suffered a shoulder injury.
---The Cincinnati Bengals brought back a familiar face and said goodbye for now to a veteran, signing free-agent safety Chris Crocker to a contract and releasing offensive tackle Dennis Roland.
The 33-year-old Crocker wasn't re-signed after his contract expired last season and was out of football until the Bengals placed a call for help because of injury concerns in the secondary. The Bengals also signed Crocker at the same point in the season a year ago.
The 12-year veteran played in 59 games and started 53 for the Bengals from 2008 to 2012. Last season, he started nine of the 13 games he played in and tied for the team lead in interceptions with three.
Roland's contract was terminated by the Bengals. The sixth-year veteran played on special teams in the first three games of the season. Since the end of the 2008 season, Roland has the team's longest consecutive games played streak at 71.
---Former San Diego Chargers defensive back Paul Oliver has died at age 29, his family confirmed.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Oliver committed suicide.
Oliver last played in the NFL with the Chargers in 2011. A fourth-round supplemental draft pick in 2007, Oliver saw action in 57 games during four seasons with the Chargers. He started eight games at safety in 2010 and logged 44 tackles, two fumble recoveries and an interception.
He was with the New Orleans Saints for a short time in 2011 before re-signing with the Chargers.
The Chargers were rocked last year when former linebacker Junior Seau committed suicide.
---Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant was fined $7,875 by the NFL for making a throat-slashing gesture after scoring a touchdown last Sunday in a 31-7 win over the St. Louis Rams, ESPNDallas.com reported.
Bryant received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty during the game and later said he made a mistake. He normally celebrates touchdowns by making an X signal.
Despite acknowledging that he made the throat-slashing gesture, Bryant said he would appeal the fine.