This article is the first in a series of position recaps and offseason outlooks for the Buccaneers. Check out each page, including the ‘Tweets from Readers” section where you can get involved.
Josh Freeman entered the 2013 season as the simultaneously unquestioned and under fire quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Kansas State product was coming off of a disappointing season in some aspects, but a record-setting season in others. It was this inconsistency and polarity from Freeman that led to his benching and release.
Freeman seemed to be very much a victim of the mental aspect of the quarterback position, as his physical tools as a passer and athlete ranked among the best in the NFL. Tall, strong, cannon for an arm and the athleticism to take off on run when needed.
Training camp went well for the Bucs’ starter, but the regular season brought about a complete and total failure. The perfect storm of a lacking running game, inconsistent performances from receivers, and awful accuracy from Freeman led to disappointing losses over the first three weeks and a benching that would lead to Freeman’s release.
Glennon’s Roller Coaster
Freeman was replaced by Mike Glennon, who stepped in during week 4 against Arizona and set the table for what his entire season would look like. A decent performance marred by an awful second half caused the Buccaneers to fall yet again, their fourth of what would be eight straight losses.
In fact, Glennon’s second halves were abysmal all season. During the first two quarters of games, Glennon threw 13 touchdowns compared to two interceptions and had a QB Rating over 100. In second halves, however, Glennon threw six touchdowns to seven interceptions and had a Blaine Gabbert-like 63.7 QB Rating.
Courtesy of ESPN.com, here are Glennon’s splits as he got deeper into games and threw more passes.
The steady decline over the course of the game is a red flag, but it’s unclear why Glennon’s performance drops so predictably. Is it his slow decision making? Was it poor coaching? Does he struggle to read defenses that have adapted to his style and tendencies? Or is it a mix of all of these?
Those are the questions that Lovie Smith, Jason Licht and the rest of the staff must answer as they prepare for their first season in charge.
Glennon’s overall numbers turned out just fine, as he posted 19 touchdowns to only 9 interceptions and earned one of the best quarterback ratings for a rookie passer in league history. But his poor yards per attempt numbers signal a lack of efficiency, and his struggles as games progress into the second half signal other issues that may be too much for even Jeff Tedford to fix.
There is potential for Glennon to develop into a Matt Ryan-type of quarterback, if he remains well protected and has a stable of weapons around him in the passing game. But to reach Ryan’s level, Glennon will need to quicken his decision-making and become more brave about the passes he chooses to throw.
For more thoughts on Mike Glennon, check out the following articles from this past season breaking down the rookie quarterback’s play: