When watching the 2013 NFL Draft, I thought the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were already set at quarterback. I was one of the folks that had confidence that Josh Freeman could put it all together and lead the Bucs into the future, based on flashes of brilliance from his past.
I was blissfully ignorant and completely unaware of what was about to happen.
“With the 11th pick in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Buccaneers select Mike Glennon, QB, NC State.”
I was shocked.
Convinced he would be used as an insurance plan for Freeman, I had no expectations of him getting significant playing time in the foreseeable future.
I was dead wrong.
We all know how the Josh Freeman saga ended, and consequently, it’s what it took for the Mike Glennon era to begin. The former NC State standout took the helm and had both moments of joy and despair. In 13 starts, he led the Buccaneers to a 4-9 record while throwing for 2,608 yards, 19 TDs, and 9 INTs over those games.
But despite those promising numbers, Glennon was less than impressive in the grand scheme of things. His immobility left him as a sitting duck in the pocket behind an underperforming offensive line. His ability to protect the ball, while great in its own right, aided to his unwillingness to take a chance on the deep ball. When he did decide to take shots downfield, he was largely inaccurate.
Glennon averaged only 6.27 yards per passing attempt. That’s not good enough in a league in which offensive firepower is at an all-time high. However, what the 2nd-year quarterback does have is the size to play the game.
Listed at 6’6″, 225 pounds, Mike has the prototypical frame for an NFL passer. And at the young age of 24, he has plenty of time to grow into an effective starter in this league. But does he have the arm or the mobility to do just that?
While Glennon lacks accuracy on deep passes, he still posted a better completion percentage than former starter Josh Freeman. While the Buccaneers would have liked Mike’s percentage to be higher than 59.4%, they have to be able to acknowledge how impressive a number like that is given the circumstances of the situation.
Glennon was a rookie quarterback playing for arguably the worst head coach in the NFL, with a disappointing offensive line and dismal receiving core once you got passed Vincent Jackson. He was working with a stable of rookie running backs, and a defense that lacked consistency. It was a situation ripe for disaster, and yet Mike Glennon was not a complete failure. Some would even argue that he was the best rookie passer from last year’s draft class, and I’m inclined to agree.
But if you wanted me to answer the question of “Is he good enough to be a team’s franchise quarterback?”, I would have to say no.
I’ve already glanced over the notion that today’s NFL requires two things from a quarterback that used to be considered luxuries: the ability to extend plays with his feet, and an accurate deep pass that can stretch the defense.
After watching each of Glennon’s 13 starts in 2013, it is clear that he lacks the quick feet that he needs in order to make today’s pass rushers miss. He’s a big, slow target that will look for a check down while standing still, and hope for the best.
I’ve already mentioned Glennon’s inaccuracies on the deep ball, which is necessary to get the defense to stop putting eight defenders in the box to stop the run. The threat of the long pass needs to be there consistently to give your running game room to get going.
Those are the big reasons that I believe contributed to bringing Josh McCown to Tampa, and are the same reasons I believe the Buccaneers aren’t done addressing the position. The Bucs want to adapt to today’s wave of mobile, strong-armed passers. Luckily for them, the draft is full of them.
Their depth chart, however, is a different story.