When the Arizona Cardinals arrived in Tampa and began preparations for their Sunday game against the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium, they were planning to face veteran quarterback Josh Freeman.
Tha changed Wednesday when Bucs head coach Greg Schiano pulled the trigger on a quarterback change, benching Freeman in favor of Mike Glennon, who will be making his first NFL start against Arizona.
So, exactly how much does that change Arizona’s defensive game plan?
“It really does, but you prepare for their offense,” Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said Wednesday. “Josh (Freeman) brought special things as far as athleticism, Mike (Glennon) brings a big, strong arm.”
As is usually the case, there is a bit of a surprise element when a quarterback change is made, especially so early in the season.
“They obviously felt it was needed, I don’t know why, not being a part of their organization,” Arians said. “But any time you face a rookie quarterback, you know that it’s his first time out there.
“We should have an advantage, I think.”
Glennon, a third-round pick out of North Carolina State, was the third quarterback selected in the 2013 NFL Draft in April. While he has yet to take a snap in the regular season, Glennon did throw for 397 yards and three touchdowns in four preseason contests for Tampa Bay.
“I loved him,” Arians said when asked about his impressions of Glennon entering the draft. “Big, strong arm, big, tall guy. I knew his older brother, good family, good football family.
“He’s tough, a good leader. Obviously, he supplanted Russell Wilson (at North Carolina State), so that says a lot about him.”
Glennon will be the fourth rookie quarterback since 2010 to make his first professional start against the Cardinals.
In 2010, Arizona beat St. Louis 17-13 in Sam Bradford’s debut. On Opening Day 2011, the Cardinals survived a 422-yard outburst from Carolina’s Cam Newton to beat the Panthers 28-21. And in the 2012 season-opener, Arizona defeated Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks 20-16.
The Arizona Cardinals Broadcast Department contributed to this report