Mike Glennon is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' starting quarterback this year, but one question has divided the Bucs' fanbase for weeks: should Mike Glennon get next season as well? Should the Bucs draft themselves a quarterback in May? Do you just hate Mike Glennon or what?
In an effort to assuage the fears of fellow fans, I present to you this FAQ, filled with answers to questions I see over, and over, and over, and over again. Hopefully this rational explanation will help people understand my position and appreciate its validity, even if they don't agree with it.
Oh, who am I kidding. I just hope you'll enjoy raging at my ignorance.
Why are you so harsh on Mike Glennon?
Mike Glennon has done very well for a rookie, especially a third-round rookie. He's outperformed his draft status and is outperforming every other rookie quarterback. Unfortunately for him, the question he needs to answer is a different one. That question is very simple: can the Tampa Bay Buccaneer upgrade on their starting quarterback in the 2014 offseason?
That's because that's the answer the Bucs will have to find for themselves this offseason. Regardless of what happens in the four remaining games, if (and that's a big if depending on many different things) the Bucs can get a quarterback better than Mike Glennon, they should do so. Not because Mike Glennon is bad, but because you should always take an upgrade at the quarterback position if you can get it. It's too important a position to settle for anything other than the best thing you can get.
So Glennon isn't competing against other rookie quarterbacks. He's not competing against a standard of whether he's good enough. He's competing against Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr. He's competing against Jay Cutler and Kirk Cousins. He's competing against every quarterback the Bucs could theoretically get their hands on this offseason.
That's why I'm so harsh on him. Sure, the struggles he has had are understandable given his draft position, rookie status and other issues. But the fact that they're understandable doesn't mean that the Bucs have to give him another year, if there are better options.
He should improve next season, though.
Well, maybe he will. But improvement is not a given, and plenty of quarterbacks have had one good year only to fall back. Others have had one bad year and then done well ago. Unless success is overwhelming and consistent, there's little guarantee of continued success, let alone improvement.
Sam Bradford is my favorite example. He's been basically the same guy ever since he entered the league, and he's been a big reason why the Rams have never been able to do well. He's not a horrible quarterback, but he's not good enough, either. And he's not getting better. So now the Rams have to ask themselves whether they're going to replace him -- the same question they asked themselves two years ago, and answered incorrectly (in hindsight).
That's why you can't turn down an upgrade at quarterback because you assume your guy is going to improve.
Mike Glennon is good enough to win games.
Sure, but that doesn't mean you don't try to upgrade on your quarterback. The position is too important not to. Would you be satisfied with Alex Smith? Or Andy Dalton? I wouldn't be. I'd try to upgrade on them, if I could. And I'd try to upgrade on Mike Glennon, if I could.
Note the "if I could", there. That doesn't mean I would definitely replace Mike Glennon this offseason, or even probably. It just means that I'm not going to rule out a draft selection or free agent signing without actually evaluating the available quarterbacks and Mike Glennon both. Because the quarterback position is too important to settle.
Mike Glennon is better than any quarterback the Bucs could draft or sign this year.
That's entirely possible, although I think Teddy Bridgewater is likely to be better at least. At this point it's a little early to say that definitively, though. First, it depends on how well Glennon plays over the final four games. We don't know that, yet. Second, a lot can happen between now and the draft. Bowl games, Senior Bowl, Combine, interviews, NFL research into personal backgrounds -- it all matters, and none of it has happened yet. We'll see what happens. Maybe you're right, maybe you're not, but I think it's too early to say that no available quarterback will look better than Glennon this offseason.
You'd see more team improvement if you drafted a (pass rusher/wide receiver/tight end/offensive lineman).
Mike Glennon's statistics look pretty good, though!
That depends on the statistics you look at. Touchdowns and interceptions, sure. Total yards is alright, too, but inflated by a high amount of attempts. There are other easily-ignored statistics where he looks worse, though: his sack rate is horrendous, and this is not something people look at very often even though most sacks are on the quarterback (they can throw away or find checkdowns to avoid sacks). His yards per attempt is well below average, although he's improved in recent games.
Those statistics are more indicative of his future success, too. Touchdowns and interceptions are relatively rare events, which means that that ratio is heavily influenced by variance. There's also an overemphasis on avoiding interceptions in today's NFL, in my opinion. Avoiding interceptions is easy -- just don't make difficult throws. The key is to be both productive and avoid interceptions as much as you could. But some turnovers are unavoidable -- it's just a part of playing the quarterback position.
More damning is the fact that every advanced statistic is far less positive about Glennon. Football Outsiders has him ranked 18th, ESPN's Total QBR has him ranked 25th and Advanced NFL Stats has him 35th. Probably because Glennon has produced a lot of completions for decent yards that didn't result in first downs on third down. Those advanced stats aren't the be-all, end-all of quarterbacking, but you can't ignore them when you talk about Glennon's stats, either.
In effect, if you say Glennon's statistics look really good, you're cherry-picking the good stats and ignoring the bad ones. That doesn't mean Glennon's going to be bad, but it does mean you can't really point to his statistics and convincingly say that he will be good, either.
But his supporting cast has been bad!
Well, that's true to an extent. The offensive line has been good in pass protection for most of the season, and Vincent Jackson has been productive and good this year despite a few too many drops early on. Tim Wright has emerged as a very competent pass-catching tight end, but the running game has been up-and-down at best.
But to truly evaluate a quarterback, you really have to watch the game film and try to separate his performance from his surroundings. That's why Gur has been breaking down each and every one of his throws. And really, the film shows there are some issues: his ball placement isn't great, he tends to be late on throws, and he doesn't take too many chances trying to throw the ball down the field, which means he leaves production on the field. Those are all issues. He's improved on some, and then regressed on others over time. As long as he continues to display those issues, the Bucs can upgrade on him.
He's improved every game, though!
Well, that's not really true, even though people keep saying it. He got better for his first few starts, though the improvement wasn't huge, and then regressed against the Seahawks and Dolphins, improved again for two games, and then looked worse against the Panthers again. There's no line of consistently inclining performance, but instead some variance and unevenness.
That's expected of a rookie quarterback. But it does mean that you can't automatically expect improvement in the future, specifically because it hasn't been consistent or automatic in the past.
But he broke rookie records!
He broke some really, really specific rookie records. Most rookie quarterbacks break records of some sort or other. It's just a matter of looking for them hard enough. Watch any NFL game and you'll see evidence of that, as broadcasters delight in finding something (anything) in which a player is first. That doesn't mean those records are significant.
Like, say, Glennon's consecutive games with a touchdown pass. That's pretty good, but it also ended this past game and is also a result of a complete inability to run for a touchdown on the season. It's good, but it's not any kind of definitive proof that he's going to be a success in the future.
This team has too many missing pieces to win the playoffs next year, so might as well draft something else.
I'm not sure how this argument works. If the Bucs are so far removed from the playoffs, then I would say that a quarterback would do more for them than any other position.
But I don't think the Bucs are all that far removed from making a big run, even at a Super Bowl title. The Bucs have All-Pro talent all over their defense and offense. No team's perfect and the Bucs certainly have some holes, but by and large, talent hasn't been the issue this year.
I don't think that matters, though. Quarterback is such an important and transcendent position that you should almost always pursue an upgrade, if you can get it.
But we gave Josh Freeman four years, why doesn't Glennon deserve two?
Because the Buccaneers were never realistically in position to upgrade on Freeman -- the best option was to trade three first-round picks for Robert Griffin III, and that was an unrealistically high price. Because he was the team's first-round pick with a massive (and largely guaranteed) contract. Because he looked like a top 10 quarterback in 2010 and the 2011 lockout and lack of talent gave him some extra time.
And in hindsight, giving Freeman the job without real competition in 2012 and 2013 was probably a mistake. Why are you arguing that the Bucs should repeat a strategy that turned out to be a mistake?
Well, at least he's better than Josh Freeman.
He's better than Josh Freeman now, sure. Is that really the benchmark you're going to use for your starting quarterback? "Be better than the Vikings' third-string QB and you have the job"? He's not better than 2010 Freeman, though, and we could argue about 2012 Freeman. Not that that's some indictment of Glennon, but it's useful to point out that Freeman once looked great, too.
You're angry over Freeman.
No, I think he was playing poorly and deserved to be benched. I think the team handled some of that poorly, but that has nothing to do with Mike Glennon. I'm also not sure how my motivations have anything to do with the validity of my arguments.
Well you just hate Mike Glennon.
No, I just don't think he's shown enough to be guaranteed a starting spot next year. If you want to use blanket dismissals like 'hater', you're not trying to have a rational discussion, though. You're avoiding an actual conversation by trying to find a reason to ignore my opinion, rather than reasons why the arguments may or may not be valid.