The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won their second game of the season against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, and it was largely thanks to the play of rookie quarterback Mike Glennon.
The first-year quarterback threw only one incompletion on an aimed throw, and seemed to be in complete control as he threw his way to his best game as a pro QB.
And much like losing brings out some of the negative aspects of a team, and brings to light the frustrations and bad decisions a team makes, winning can bring out the positives and turn them into more than what they are. Glennon’s play is one example.
There are examples of Glennon doing some great things, as Sander of Bucs Nation points out in this article. That throw to Tiquan Underwood against the Falcons was incredible, and is something he must gain confidence from and build upon over the next six games.
But then come the headlines like this, from 98.7 The Fan in Tampa. As they do every week, the hosts of the midday show spoke to Greg Cosell of NFL Films and talked about Mike Glennon. The discussion created the following headline:
In context, the quote was speaking about Glennon’s ability as a pocket passer in the NFL, and obviously not as an athlete or even as a future prospect. And it seems as though Cosell locked in on the play mentioned by Sander in the article above, and saw it as a sign of Glennon’s development.
His throw to Tiquan Underwood was fantastic, and it shows signs of progress. But 99 times out of 100, Glennon waits for a receiver to come open before throwing the football. There’s nothing wrong with that, but as Cosell said in his interview, when quarterbacks make anticipation throws, it improves the entire offense.
One play doesn’t dictate the future of an NFL quarterback. Whether it’s a failure or a success, one moment does not define what a quarterback can do. Glennon has shown that he’s capable of throwing a receiver open, but now he must prove that it’s a repeatable skill. Because as I noted in my article breaking down his film from Sunday, he still struggles to place the ball on timing throws, and rarely uses anticipation to throw to a receiver who isn’t obviously open.
Then comes the other side of the same argument, from former Tampa Bay quarterback and current football pundit Shaun King. He told local radio that Glennon doesn’t have a high ceiling, and that the Buccaneers should look to draft a replacement (thanks to JoeBucsFan for the story).
That notion goes along with what Joe Bussell had to say in a podcast we recorded this week, which you can listen to here. Joe sees the positives and negatives in Glennon, and agrees that he has more to show before he can be crowned a franchise quarterback for the Buccaneers.
And finally, we have the opinion of the Buccaneers as told through Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune. In an article posted this week, Cummings and the quotes he received from Greg Schiano praise Glennon’s decision making, as Cummings specifically cites a play on which Glennon threw the ball away.
Glennon has limited his mistakes as a rookie, but he’s been very close to a few mistakes that don’t show up on his stat sheet. Dropped interceptions, running out of bounds on third down near the end of a game, and poor ball handling which has led to fumbles might not show up on the standard quarterback statistical rundown, but they show that Glennon is still a rookie, and still has breakdowns under center.
The moral of this story is that there is still time left for Mike Glennon to prove himself worthy of a starting job in 2014, or relegate himself to the bench and give him more time to learn and develop. Crowning Glennon as “better than RGIII” or damning him to being replaced in the draft is a great headline, but it’s short-sighted and ignores the truth of the situation.
Glennon is on an extended tryout to be a starting NFL quarterback, and so far his grade isn’t an “A”, and it’s not an “F” either. It’s an “I”, for incomplete.
We’ll continue to evaluate Glennon game-by-game, and consider the entire season once the final game has been played. As of now, he’s shown that he’s capable of being a starter in this league, but that he might not be the best option available to the Buccaneers this offseason. But he’s trending upwards, and has plenty of time to prove that the skills he showed against Atlanta are a part of his repertoire and will be on display in pewter and red for years to come.