Mike Glennon had a 13-game season that can be considered, if nothing else, polarizing. On the surface, he had a remarkably productive year for a rookie who had been thrown into the fire earlier than expected. His touchdown to interception ratio is very flattering, and he was easily the most consistent of the three starting rookie quarterbacks. But a deeper inspection of the statistics and game film reveals a much more unsettling picture. He avoided quite a few big mistakes, but may have avoided the big plays just as much. He took sacks that were completely avoidable, exacerbating and magnifying the decline of his offensive line. He showed very little willingness to stay in the pocket and deliver a pass both while under fire and while enjoying a pocket cleaner than those of my shorts fresh out of the dryer. But, as he played, some of the weapons around him dropped Acme anvils on Wile E. Coyote.
Many have asked: What can you expect out of him when he has no weapons? How can he improve when he has no one to catch the ball or block for him?
Well, quite simply, you should be able to expect more than what he delivered. That is, if he's to prove that he can be a capable starter, not just for the Bucs, but in the league. I won't take the time here to go too deeply into Gur's breakdowns, but how many times did we see Glennon miss a wide open no-name? How many times did he leave the pocket early and create the perfect angle for a previously blocked defensive end to beat Donald Penn for the sack? How many times did he pass up Tiquan Underwood blowing past a defender and take the checkdown instead? Even when Mike Williams was playing, how many times did Glennon ignore him and lock on to Vincent Jackson? How many times did he hold on to the ball for what felt like an eternity and take the sack instead of throwing the ball away? How many times am I going to ask "How many times"? I've lost track of all of these things.
But my point is that the criticisms of Glennon are largely separate from the pieces surrounding him. As I commented on shadowchicken's 24 points a game post, Glennon’s play can be analyzed separately from the other guys around him. If he misses a pass, it doesn’t matter if the WR is Mike Williams, Vincent Jackson, or Michael Jackson. A bad pass is a bad pass. A missed receiver is a missed receiver. A ball held for 5 seconds is a plea to be sacked no matter who he’s locked on to or who’s blocking for him. Him fleeing the pocket and letting a DE get a better angle on him is the same whether Donald Penn or Donald Duck is blocking for him. His play can easily be looked at individually. Pointing to injuries around him, and even the coaching, to an extent, as excuses is just taking the easy way out. It’s lazy. Holding on to hope just because we want to won’t do anybody any justice.
Injuries are only an acceptable excuse if the argument is about his production. Mike Williams would surely have gotten more receptions, targets, touchdowns, yards, and the such than Skye Dawson. For example, and I may be wrong here since I haven't seen much too in-depth, Matt Ryan's overall production went down a bit with the demise of many parts of his offense. But he still played pretty well overall. He did. He himself. The quarterback. Just him. That's all I'm talking about. That one guy. He did pretty well despite the circumstances. I don't expect a rookie in Glennon to have done as well individually as Ryan did. But the worries from Glennon's season performance go beyond simple rookie mistakes. They speak more to a troublesome mentality with him. He'll protect the ball and won't take too many risks. He won't win the game for you, but he probably won't lose it for you either. He's a valuable guy to have as a quarterback. But, so far, he fits the profile, not of a capable starter, but of a very good backup.
I've written too many words already, so I'll make this last part short. No one really cares what he looks like. We don't knock him because he looks like this. Or this. Or even this. He can look like the Elephant Man for all I care. If he plays well, he simply plays well.