EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – When Mike Glennon signed with the Giants as a free agent, his first challenge was to learn his new team's offense.
Yes, that statement is recited every time a quarterback changes teams. But Glennon has broken new ground with that concept. The Giants are his sixth team in six years. And that statement doesn't fully address all the formations, third-down passes and red zone options Glennon's mind has stored and released.
"This is my eighth offense in nine years, so I've gotten pretty used to it (understanding a new attack)," Glennon said. "It's just learning the terminology. It still takes time and I have to work at it. I have to study hard, but I guess I learn a new language every year."
Glennon's knowledge of offensive coordinator Jason Garrett's playbook will be tested when he starts the Giants' preseason opener against the Jets in MetLife Stadium. Coach Joe Judge has opted to give Daniel Jones the night off, so Glennon and Clayton Thorson will throw passes, the first time either of them has played in a game for the Giants.
"I think you always for the first one of the year, you get anxious to get out there and play," Glennon said. "When you're with a new team, with a new offense, new surrounding cast and all that, it's exciting to get back out there. Obviously, you want to put your best foot forward. And preseason or not, you're always competing, and you want to play to the best your ability."
Glennon's newcomer status won't shield him from Judge's high expectations.
"I want him to go out there and function, see the efficiency of the offense," Judge said. "To me, the quarterback's role is always to make sure the offense operates the way it should, that they're on the same page and just consistently improve."
View photos of the Giants' first unofficial depth chart of the 2021 season.
Glennon knows the drill. He was a third-round draft pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013. As a rookie, he started all 13 games in which he played. In the ensuing seven years, he started a total of 14 games. Glennon stayed with the Bucs for four seasons and has since done one-year stints with Chicago, Arizona, Oakland and Jacksonville. At each stop he had to digest a new offense.
"Everyone runs similar plays and concepts," he said. "It's just some coaches like to feature some more than others. That's what I've kind of gathered from it. I think that's some of the benefit I've had from bouncing around from team to team is you get good at certain plays, because some coordinators and coaches really like to run certain plays. You really learn that play in-and-out and then other coaches like another play. So, there are some benefits of bouncing around, because you're around a lot of good offensive minds and you get to learn a lot about football."
Glennon concedes there are flaws that occasionally surface after learning so many systems.
"Sometimes just naturally, you'll call something you used to call it, or you're like, 'What do we call that here?' because you're used to calling it one way," he said. "All-in-all, there's some carryover. I feel like in every offense, there are some words that translate, and other words, you have to start all over. It's just part of it. It's a lot of time studying in the offseason, and getting ready just to learn, as Jason likes to call it, the alphabet of our offense. Once you get the alphabet, then you can start speaking the words and the language."
Judge said Glennon has quickly become fluent in Garrett-ese.
"One thing I've seen in Mike is consistently taking a step forward every day," Judge said. "I'm pleased with the way he's managing the offense, and the more experience he has with Jason calling plays and playing with our players. Obviously, he's had a short-term window for that being in spring and being in training camp for three weeks now."
Glennon is comfortable in his current position in part because Garrett once resided in it. Garrett was a backup quarterback in his 13-year NFL career (9 starts in 41 games played), including with the Giants from 2000-03.
"I really just love how much Jason understands and sees things from the quarterback's perspective, because he played the position," Glennon said. "He understands what it's like to be back there in the pocket. He understands the nuances of actually playing the position versus coaching the position. I've really enjoyed that aspect of working with him in his offense and how he sees it."
The presence of Judge and Garrett was among the reasons joining the Giants was a stress-free decision for Glennon.
"I just think the team shared interest in me," he said. "Of course, I wanted to be around guys like Daniel and Jason and just this whole team. To come to New York, I mean, it's New York City, it's the Giants. It's got a global brand. Just all of the above was a reason why it was exciting to come here."
Glennon has played in just 21 games since his rookie season, so he is well-versed in the requirements of a backup quarterback.
"The number one job is you have to be ready to play and to go if need be," said Glennon, mindful Colt McCoy started two games for the Giants last season when Jones was injured. "But there's a lot of work behind the scenes. There's a lot of dialogue in the quarterback room. Me asking questions that pertain to me, but maybe I'm also asking it in hopes that it might be something that is good for Daniel to hear. Also, just being his support system and having his back. I think that goes a long way because it's inevitable in the NFL that you're going to throw an interception, or have a bad play here and there, and the crowd could be against you. I always want to be the guy that's there and that has his back when things are going bad, too. I want to let him know that we're all behind that. Just have that presence of like, 'Man, the whole stadium might be against me right now, but there there's someone in your corner.'"
Glennon has completed 599 of 980 passes (61.1%) for 6,235 yards, 43 touchdowns and 25 interceptions for a passer rating of 83.5. He would like to play more, but what he really craves is team success. Last year, he started five games for a Jaguars team that finished 1-15. In eight seasons, his teams are a combined 37-91 (.289). He has played on just one winning team – the 9-7 Bucs in 2016 – none that made the playoffs and his record as a starter is 6-21.
"I don't know if I would say I have a favorite year," Glennon said. "I haven't been on many winning teams, so hopefully this will be the year."
View the best photos from the Giants Fan Fest on Wednesday night at MetLife Stadium.