SEATTLE — Mike Glennon and Russell Wilson were nearly inseparable. Whether it was sharing quarterback meeting rooms at North Carolina State or being roommates on the road, everywhere Wilson went, Glennon followed.
Glennon and Wilson will be reunited on the field Sunday when the NFC-leading Seattle Seahawks host the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And Glennon gets the first shot at trying to break down Seattle’s impenetrable home field, where the Seahawks have won 11 straight, one shy of their franchise record.
“He knows how to study, he knows how to learn. He doesn’t make too many mistakes. He’s a guy who has a great arm. He’s very poised in most situations. I have a lot of respect for him. I like the way he plays and it’ll be fun seeing him soon,” Wilson said. “He’s a lot taller than me. He’s like a giraffe compared to what am I, a zebra? Something shorter.”
The relationship between Wilson and Glennon dates to N.C. State, but has continued past Wilson’s departure from the school, which led to Glennon becoming the starter. Glennon was Wilson’s backup until the spring of 2011. Wilson, who was pursuing a pro baseball career, was granted his release from N.C. State and as a graduate student was able to transfer to Wisconsin and play immediately. Glennon became the Wolfpack starter, Wilson led the Badgers to the Rose Bowl, and both ended up as starters in the NFL. They’ve remained in contact and Glennon wasn’t surprised by how successful Wilson was in his rookie season. It looked familiar.
“The thing that was crazy to me watching him a lot last year was he made the NFL look like college all over again,” Glennon said.
Here are five more things to watch as the Bucs try to keep Seattle from a 12th straight home win:
PASSING PROBLEMS: Seattle’s passing game is a mess, but not because of Wilson. The line has struggled in pass protection, giving up seven sacks last week against St. Louis and leading to one of the uglier offensive performances in recent memory by Seattle with 135 total yards of offense. Giving Wilson adequate protection has been a problem since starting tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini went down with injuries, but was really exposed by the Rams. Bucs DT Gerald McCoy said Tampa Bay can draw encouragement from how the Rams played defensively against Seattle. “It means they have a flaw, that everybody can have a bad game,” McCoy said. “The thing about it is it may give us confidence, but just from the guys I know over there, and from being around Pete Carroll, after a performance like that, they’re going to come out on fire.”
BEAST MODE: Carroll said he sat next to Marshawn Lynch flying back from St. Louis, both frustrated with the lack of touches for the star running back. Lynch had just eight carries against the Rams. More baffling, for the second straight game the Seahawks failed to give Lynch the ball in a goal line situation.
“There was no intention in it at all. Unfortunately we didn’t get him going. That’s not how we play,” Carroll said. “Hopefully we’ll do better this time. Sometimes it happens, and it was unfortunate for a lot of reasons, but I share the frustration with him. I don’t mind one bit him being frustrated about that, I was too.”
SAFETY CHECK: Tampa Bay’s defense could be missing both starting safeties with Mark Barron and Dashon Goldson slowed by injuries. Barron has a hip problem suffered against Carolina, and Goldson is bothered by a knee that kept him inactive against the Panthers. The Bucs’ defense ranks in the bottom half of the league in yards allowed passing and saw Cam Newton complete 72 percent of his passes and throw for two TDs last time out.
STOPPING BENNETT: DE Michael Bennett signed with Seattle as a free agent after leading Tampa Bay with nine sacks last season. He’s on pace to match that career high with a team-leading 4 1-2 through eight games. The Bucs anticipate the Seahawks will move him around a bunch Sunday, giving him opportunities to rush the passer from both the left and right sides. Tampa Bay LT Donald Penn expects to be tested by his former teammate. “I’m looking forward to it. I’m going to send Mike a text: ‘Just stay on the other side,’” Penn said. “He’s playing some good ball out there. ... He’s having a great year.”
WELCOME HOME: Seattle hasn’t seen home much in the last month. The Seahawks wrapped up a stretch with four of five on the road, going 3-1. They return home for five of their final eight games, including two of the next three before their bye week.
“I’m excited about the start of the second half. To me it’s the beginning of the finish is where we are right now,” Carroll said.