Point Plank: Mike Glennon Is Not Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III, and Not Yet a Franchise Quarterback


Nov 24, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon (8) throws a pass during the third quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Usually here at the Pewter Plank, we strongly recommend reading Scott Reynold’s “Fab 5” over at Pewter Report, as it’s usually a great look inside the Tampa Bay organization from one of its most connected media members. But this week, things went off the tracks just a bit.

Here is a quote from the article:

  • While he is on pace to throw for 1,400 yards less in three less starts than Luck had last year, Glennon will likely throw about a dozen less interceptions and complete nearly 10 percent more of his passes than the number one overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft did a year ago. In fact, one could argue that Glennon is out-playing Luck, who is completing 226-of-386 passes (58.5 percent) for 2,593 yards with 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2013. 

And of course, there were Greg Cossel’s comments on local radio about Mike Glennon “being more advanced than Robert Griffin III.”

But here’s something you must realize about Mike Glennon.

He’s not Andrew Luck. And he’s not Robert Griffin III.

Let’s first start with Luck, who Glennon is allegedly out-playing, according to Scott Reynolds. Luck has thrown more interceptions than Glennon, but he’s also taken fewer sacks behind a worse offensive line. He also fumbles less often than Glennon, which is amazing considering the following statement, which definitely sets Luck apart from Glennon.

Andrew Luck is a mobile quarterback who is extremely effective as a runner.

He has carried the ball 43 times this season for 262 yards and four touchdowns. He is arguably the most effective runner on his team, ahead of running backs Trent Richardson and Donald Brown.

Mike Glennon, on the other hand, has carried the football 22 times for 31 yards and no scores. Any time Glennon leaves the pocket and takes off to run, he avoids any and all contact and gets down safely.

Nov 24, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Colts 40-11. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

That’s a major difference, and must be taken into account when comparing the two quarterbacks. Andrew Luck provides a lot more under center than Mike Glennon, as evidenced by the difference in their “QBR” ratings.

QBR is the quarterback rating alternative developed by ESPN to account for running quarterbacks and other factors. So while Glennon is ahead of Luck in the traditional QB Rating battle, Luck is well ahead of Glennon in the “QBR” rankings.

Let’s now move over to Griffin III, and consider his situation as compared to Glennon. As a rookie, Griffin rallied his team in the second half of the season to a six game winning streak, and in five of those games, Griffin posted a QB Rating over 100, including one perfect score in the category.

He has since suffered a leg injury for seemingly the tenth time in his football career, and has struggled to return to his normal form. Just like Darrelle Revis is just now rounding into shape as the corner he once was over a year after his ACL injury, Griffin is struggling to have the confidence and endurance in his knee to do what he must do as a quarterback to succeed.

But even then, Griffin has continued to run the football effectively, and that sets him apart from discussions comparing him to Glennon as an overall quarterback. Glennon should be compared against Jay Cutler, Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and other true dropback passers.

This was a topic seemingly missed by Reynolds in his article, who mentioned Aaron Rodgers as a pocket passer despite his fantastic athletic ability and proven prowess at scoring rushing touchdowns in crucial situations, and celebrating with his signature “Discount Double Check” move. Since 2009, Rodgers has averaged more than four yards per carry, and has scored at least twice on the ground in every season except for his now injury-shortened 2013 campaign.

And just because the Buccaneers won a Super Bowl with Brad Johnson, it doesn’t mean the team should seek out Brad Johnson 2.0 to lead them to another Lombardi trophy. This is yet another point raised by Reynolds in his article, and it’s an incredibly flawed premise.

Quarterbacks don’t win Super Bowls on their own, and simply having the same kind of quarterback as one who once led a team to a Super Bowl is no way to construct a team, and no way to evaluate quarterbacks. If the Seahawks decided to pursue Matt Hasselbeck 2.0, they’d never have given Russell Wilson a chance to do what he’s doing as a quarterback.

Mike Glennon has exhibited some fantastic traits in recent weeks, but let’s not be too quick to crown him as a franchise quarterback.

Remember 2010, when Josh Freeman seemed like the future of the franchise at QB? He had a four-game stretch during that season which is very similar to the one Glennon is on now, with three good games surrounding one disappointing game. (For Glennon, the “good” games are Seattle, Atlanta, and Detroit, with Miami as the disappointment. For Freeman, it was Arizona, Carolina, and San Francisco as the “good” games with Atlanta as the disappointment.)

But Freeman exhibited his trademark inconsistency and post two straight games with sub-70 QB Ratings in the next two weeks, and it’s now up to Glennon to prove he can do better.

Franchise quarterbacks never earn that title over the course of a month. They earn it by showing repeatable skills that improve over time, and Glennon has a chance to prove that starting this Sunday against an impressive Carolina defense.