The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have won three straight games, something very few people would have predicted after an abysmal 0-8 start. There are many reasons for the difference: an unleashed Gerald McCoy, weak opponents, a resurgent running game thanks to a change in scheme. Ask Greg Cosell, though, and you get one answer: it's all about the quarterback.
"Mike Glennon's the difference," Cosell told the Mac Attack on WFNZ 610AM in Charlotte. "Because Mike Glennon has shown to be a quarterback that I think they can build around. I think they have their quarterback. They don't need to draft one in my opinion unless things change dramatically, and I don't think they will. This kid has a really good feel for throwing the ball from the pocket."
I don't agree with that -- not yet, at least. The quarterback is so important in the NFL that you need to do everything you can to get the best possible player at that position -- within some reasonable limits, of course. Mike Glennon has shown many positive traits and has really improved his level of play over the past two weeks after struggling against Miami. If he can keep that up (and further drive the Bucs' draft position down), then it's entirely possible that the Bucs can't upgrade on Mike Glennon -- either this offseason or, ideally, over the next 15 years.
For now, I'm not prepared to take that step yet. Greg Cosell certainly knows more about NFL quarterback play than me, so it may be wiser to pay more attention to him than to me, though. I do agree with Cosell on one thing: Glennon's showing shades of Matt Ryan, the quarterback he's been compared to most often besides Joe Flacco. The latter comparison doesn't make much sense given Glennon's just above-average arm.
"He was coached at North Carolina State by the same offensive coaching staff that coached Matt Ryan at Boston College. And that staff felt that he was Matt Ryan. They couldn't understand why he wasn't talked about that way. And the more I watch Mike Glennon I think there's definite similarities to Matt Ryan and I think that he actually has a naturally stronger arm."
If the Bucs have Matt Ryan in Mike Glennon they should be pretty happy. Matt Ryan coming out of college wasn't perfect and he wasn't a true top 10 quarterback until two years ago, but he's taken strides, cleaned up some of his mechanics, increased his arm strength and improved his reactions to pressure. He turned himself from an above average quarterback into close to an elite one.
Mike Glennon may be able to do the same thing one day, but he does have some things to work on before he can get to that level. He needs to learn to throw away the ball rather than taking sacks, and he has a bit of a tendency to feel phantom pressure and scramble when it isn't needed. Part of that is just the fact that the interior offensive line has struggled in recent weeks.
One thing I'd love to see him correct that he probably won't is his delivery: he has a bit of a looping, long throwing motion which can cause him to be late and a bit off on his throws and lead to a few more sacks than is strictly necessary. Quarterbacks don't tend to change their mechanics much, though, as it's a very hard thing to alter after spending your entire life throwing one way -- but it's not impossible, either.
Those flaws aren't minor, but Glennon's a rookie who could easily improve and has improved over the past few weeks. If he continues to do that, the Bucs won't be looking for a quarterback this season, and the team may have found a way to solve it's ever-present quarterback issues. It's still early and things may change, but there's reason to be hopeful.