Point Plank articles are responses to articles from around the web about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and offer a different perspective on the opinions and narratives being told by other sites. For this installment, we’ll be taking a look at Bleacher Report’s Knox Bardeen and his article about Mike Glennon’s future under new Buccaneers’ general manager Jason Licht.
It’s easy to look back at Jason Licht’s history as a scout and executive and believe that he’s averse to spending a high pick on a quarterback, and therefore should not be expected to bring in a top rookie to content with Mike Glennon in 2014.
After all, as Knox Bardeen points out in the article referenced above, teams that Licht has worked for have not taken quarterbacks high in the draft at all, and when they have, it has been with mixed success.
Kevin Kolb and Kevin O’Donnell are the only two quarterbacks taken in the first two rounds by any of the teams Licht has ever worked for, and it’s safe to say that neither worked out. Kolb even followed Licht to Arizona, and simply couldn’t stay effective or healthy enough to help the Cardinals win.
Using this information, Bardeen speculates that Licht would not use a high draft pick to bring in a quarterback to compete with Glennon, and would instead opt for a veteran to compete with Glennon and a later round draft choice.
There are two major flaws in that logic, which Bardeen references but doesn’t find strong enough to derail his point.
Licht Has Never Had An Opportunity To Draft a QB Early in the Draft
Licht’s time with the Patriots and Eagles meant that from the start of his career as a member of a front office, he spent time with teams that had established starting quarterbacks. By the time he entered a role as an executive with the Patriots, Tom Brady was already under center, and once he got to Philadelphia, Donovan McNabb’s reign under center was underway.
So for most of the first decade of Licht’s career as a front office member in the NFL, his franchises had no use for a top-ranked rookie quarterback.
Once he moved to Arizona, things became a bit different. When he arrived, Kurt Warner was still in town, and in 2009 Warner helped the Cardinals make the playoffs before riding off into the sunset. That set the Cards up with a poor draft pick in a weak QB class (Tim Tebow went the pick before the Cardinals), so they signed Derek Anderson to bring some experience to the position.
The following year, after a disappointing season with Anderson under center, the Cardinals opted to make a move for Kevin Kolb to play quarterback, rather than risk a pick on any of the first-round quarterbacks who would be available to them. Cam Newton would be the first overall pick, and after Newton, the only first-round selections at the position would be Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder. It’s safe to say that Licht and the rest of the Cardinals’ staff made the right move here.
The Cardinals did pass up an opportunity to move up in the second round to grab Andy Dalton or Colin Kaepernick, although the former might not be all that good anyway, and the latter was considered to be “not ready” to play in the NFL right out of the gate.
In 2012, the Cardinals again missed out on the top quarterbacks in the first round, passing on Brandon Weeden to wisely make a pick elsewhere. The Cards wouldn’t pick again until the third round, and would not take Nick Foles, nor would they trade up to take Russell Wilson. Either way, the Cardinals would enter 2012 with an awful mess at the QB position, and would struggle as a result.
The 2013 draft provided few options at QB, and the Cardinals passed entirely, wisely avoiding Geno Smith and the other disappointing options in that draft class. It’s interesting to note that the Cardinals passed on an opportunity to take Mike Glennon, instead opting for Tyrann Mathieu in the third round.
The Cardinals would bring in Carson Palmer to play quarterback for this past season, rather than trying to pick from a poor draft class. Palmer wasn’t awful, but he certainly wasn’t good, and as Bardeen points out in the article above, the revolving door at quarterback in Arizona will continue to spin for some time.
Licht Doesn’t Want a Revolving Door at Quarterback
So what would make anyone think that Licht would want to keep up the uncertainty at the quarterback position?
Bardeen’s article seems to imply that the Buccaneers should “wait and see” with Glennon, rather than making any major moves now to bring in a better player at the quarterback position. That’s a foolish approach, in my opinion.
If Licht and his team are able to evaluate Glennon this offseason and determine that he’s not the future of the franchise under center, they very well could make a move early in the draft to pick up a new quarterback. The thought that the Buccaneers wouldn’t take a quarterback early to spare Glennon from “looking over his shoulder” is odd, as that’s what Glennon should be doing if his abilities are under fire from the front office.
On the other hand, it’s possible that Licht and his team will like what they see from Glennon, and choose to move forward with him in 2014. While I don’t believe Glennon will succeed and flourish into a top quarterback without major changes to his approach, it’s certainly not impossible, and he’s definitely good enough to win football games with.
But bringing in a veteran with experience under center and a late-round rookie would set up the exact revolving door that Bardeen claims he’s trying to avoid by not taking a first-round talent at quarterback. Bringing in mediocre backup options to a quarterback you’re unsure about isn’t the way to improve the situation at quarterback.
Licht knows that, because that’s exactly what happened in Arizona.
John Skelton, Ryan Lindley, Derek Anderson, Kevin Kolb and Brian Hoyer combined to embarrass the Cardinals under center for two years of Licht’s tenure, and all of them were veteran pickups via trade or free agency, or late-round draft choices. There’s no way that Licht wants to go down that road again.
So if Licht is comfortable with Mike Glennon, he’ll likely bring in a new backup just to make sure Dan Orlovsky isn’t the only option should Glennon get hurt. But if he doesn’t feel safe with Glennon, it would be foolish to expect Licht to hesitate at the one position that plagued his team in Arizona during his tenure.