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Mike Glennon vs. Game Film: Week 8 - collapse under pressure, on the field and from his sideline

As always, we turn to the game film to see how the Bucs' quarterback did in the previous game. While Glennon did show some signs of development when he had space and time to throw and scan the field, the results when the pressure was ratchet up - both from the Carolina defense and from his own coaches - were a lot uglier.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Another week in the NFL calender rolls by, another week the Bucs are looking for their first win of 2013. Last Thursday's defeat was extra bitter, coming not only at the hands of hated division rivals, but being embarrassed on a nationally-televised prime time game.

The game was clearly a terrible one of the Bucs, being outscored 31-6 through the first 57 minutes of the game. The match was notable, however, for how much the team put on Glennon's shoulders as the game wore on. It seemed to be less a case of a show of trust in Glennon's abilities by the coaching staff, and more a case of panic by the brain trust on the sidelines.

How bad was it? The last time the Bucs ran the ball was with 5:42 left in the third quarter. That's not a commitment to balance, or to run game that Greg Schiano so heavily emphasised when he was first revealed as the Bucs' head coach twenty-two months ago. To show just how much the Bucs threw at their third round rookie, I've even marked on our usual weekly pass chart when the fourth quarter began.

We'll have a little Glennon analysis, but first the weekly pass chart breakdown:

Pass Attempt Down & Distance Result Notes
1 1st & 10 2 to Lorig (3 YAC) Stared down Lorig, Mike James was wide open in the middle of the field
2 3rd & 4 Dropped by Jackson Pass was fine, if Jackson catches this it's a first down
3 1st & 10 0 to Crabtree (0 YAC) Crabtree was probably right read, might have been a tight window to Williams but hard to say for sure
4 3rd & 10 29 to Jackson (0 YAC) Like Glennon's footwork here, escapes sack, rolls out pocket & keeps eyes downfield for the deep open man
5 1st & 10 20 to James (13 YAC) Good job of holding in the pocket and waiting for a receiver to come free
6 2nd & 8 Dropped by Crabtree Nice deepish pass along the sideline, something Glennon's struggled with. Unfortunately LB knocks ball out of Crabtree's hands
7 3rd & 8 Incomplete to Wright Glennon made the right read, but the pass was wildly inaccurate, too high & too far in front. Didn't put much lower body into the throw
8 1st & 10 Incomplete to James Glennon throws off back foot retreating from a flee blitzer, pass was too high as a result - James gets hands to it but LB breaks it up. If pass is more accurate, James can secure it easily
9 2nd & 7 Incomplete to Williams Goes through progression to find open man but again, pass too high and too far in front because of a little pressure and again, feet turned to stone. No lower body in the throw
10 3rd & 7 16 to Underwood (2 YAC) Good job of moving in the pocket then setting his feet before the throw
11 1st & 10 12 to Williams (3 YAC) Desgined roll-out, good job of watching the receivers on the roll before stopping to set the feet before the throw
12 1st & 10 -2 to James (5 YAC) Looks like Glennon just straight-up panicked because a DE was in his face, dumps it off inaccurately to James
13 2nd & 12 7 to Leonard (12 YAC) The three downfield routes are covered but Leonard & Lorig are free in either flat. Personally I'd had gone Lorig in the right flat - defenders were further away from him & he was further downfield - but no real complaints
14 1st & 10 6 to Leonard (0 YAC) Underwood was WIIIIDE open in a big patch of grass in the soft spot between zones about 15 yards further down the field than where Leonard was
15 2nd & 4 24 to Underwood (0 YAC) Underwood was covered, Glennon threw it high to let Underwood catch the jump ball in the middle of the field, but this is inside the two-minute warning. Williams was open near the sideline for a gain of 14, and would have saved the timeout
16 1st & 10 Sacked Greg Hardy beats Carimi (who's in at LG) inside and sacks Glennon. Bad by Carimi, but looks like Glennon was trying to throw again to the middle of the field (Bucs are out of timeouts here), out of FG range, when Leonard is open by the sideline, could have made yardage & saved clock, so poor situational awareness
17 2nd & 20 10 to Wright (0 YAC) At this point the half is over, so I won't pick Glennon up on throwing into the middle of the field again. Good quick release on the pass, though
18 2nd & 9 Incomplete to Jackson Pass thrown too high for Jackson, Glennon was running away from a blitzer and didn't set his feet
19 3rd & 9 Dropped by Williams Pass was high and a tough catch, but still catchable so I'm gonna put this one on Williams
20 1st & 10 9 to Dawson (3 YAC) Nice placement by Glennon to Dawson on a crossing route, allowed Dawson to keep stride and make YAC
21 1st & 10 9 to Jackson (0 YAC) Ball placement was a little low, but catchable
22 2nd & 1 Sacked Dotson got beaten around the edge, if Glennon was a little quicker through his progression this'd be a first down (he was winding up to throw to Lorig when he's sacked), but likewise if Dotson hadn't got beaten Glennon would have had time to make that pass for the first down
23 3rd & 7 Incomplete to Jackson Pass broken up, Glennon was flushed from the pocket and was scrambling towards sideline, fires ball in to a double-covered Jacskon. About 12 yards deeper than Jackson was an open Underwood who Glennon absolutely should have thrown to

24 1st & 10 15 to Wright (2 YAC) Kept his head and made a good pass under a collapsing pocket
25 1st & 10 5 to Williams (7 YAC) Looks like a designed smoke-type route, or a receiver screen-type route without actually having the screen of blocking receivers out in front
26 2nd & 5 Incomplete to Wright Glennon just seemed to not see the safety underneath Wright, or believed that the safety didn't have the closing speed to get there; either way, the safety did have the closing speed, and knocks down the ball
27 1st & 10 2 to James (7 YAC) Designed RB screen, DT doesn't bite so is able to bring down James before he can do much damage
28 2nd & 8 Incomplete to Jackson Again looked like Glennon must have believed the DB didn't have the closing speed, but Munnerlyn jumps in front of Jackson, potential interception threat (though would have been a really tough catch for any receiver, let alone a DB)
29 3rd & 8 Incomplete to Leonard Glennon has a defensive end draped around him, throws it at Leonard but since he is being dragged down, the ball thuds into the floor short of Leonard
30 1st & 10 Incomplete to Williams Ball is thrown far too high, again with Glennon having pressure in his face
31 2nd & 10 3 to Wright (0 YAC) Ball placement is a little low, Wright needs to slow down to haul it in. Could be result of a collapsing pocket
32 3rd & 7 -3 to Leonard (0 YAC) Glennon goes to the check down as protection breaks down. Still, if he would have stood firm and accepted the oncoming hit, Underwood was open for a 15-ish yard gain along the sideline
33 1st & 10 11 to Leonard (8 YAC)
34 1st & 10 Incomplete to Underwood Underwood had a corner draped all over him, this seems an example of where Glennon throws to where he thinks should be open, not who is actually open
35 2nd & 10 11 to Jackson (3 YAC)
36 1st & 10 9 to Leonard (5 YAC)
37 2nd & 1 7 to Underwood (7 YAC) Same route as pass attempt #25
38 1st & 10 3 to Williams (0 YAC) DB was draped all over Williams, meanwhile Leonard had distance from his defender on the other side of the field, would have been the better call
39 2nd & 7 1 to Leonard (0 YAC) Thrown while he was being taken to the ground by a defensive lineman, so good job in the circumstances
40 3rd & 6 15 to Jackson (7 YAC) Good read
41 1st & 10 13 to Page (1 YAC)
42 1st & 10 Incomplete to Page Pass was thrown a little too hard and a little far behind making it very, very hard for a receiver to rein in. Not impossible but you'd have to put this one on Glennon, not Page
43 2nd & 10 10 to Wright (0 YAC), touchdown Nice job by Glennon, scrambling but keeping his eyes scanning for a receiving threat
44 1st & 10 Sacked for +3 Glennon shifts around in the pocket, gets very "hoppy", ends up getting sacked at the LOS as he's starting to wind up for a throw. However as he's 'sacked' from behind, he falls forward for a gain of two (which technically makes it a tackle, not a sack)
45 2nd & 7 Incomplete to Wright Munnerlyn bats the ball down, which is being aimed at Wright
46 1st & 5 Incomplete to Jackson Deep sideline pass sails out of bounds
47 2nd & 5 Ball thrown away Glennon was being chased out of the pocket, so (fairly) chucks the ball into the stands
48 2nd & 15 10 to Wright (0 YAC) Right read, finding Wright in a soft spot in zone coverage
49 3rd & 5 15 to Jackson (9 YAC) Good ball placement allows Jackson to keep stride & make YAC
50 1st & 10 5 to James (2 YAC) Underwood was open on an out route towards the sideline (which would have saved clock) but Glennon never looks that way
51 2nd & 5 Incomplete to Page Deepish throw to Page towards the endzone sideline, inevitably flies out of bounds. Don't blame Glennon for wanting to take a shot at the endzone, though
52 3rd & 5 Sacked While there were receivers open, there was no chance Glennon could find them as Joseph is beaten straight off the snap
53 1st & 10 Incomplete to Jackson Jackson can't hold on to the ball as he's got defenders draped over him, wouldn't have been caught in bounds anyway
54 2nd & 10 Incomplete to Jackson Ball thrown far too high, sails out of bounds
55 3rd & 10 Incomplete to Jackson Jackson gets wrapped up by a linebacker as soon as the ball gets to him, pass broken up
56 4th & 10 Incomplete Glennon flushed out towards the sideline, throws the ball away as defensive linemen descend on him

To recap:

  • Quarters 1-3: 23 pass attempts (not including two aborted plays on low snaps by Larsen that, since they were on third down, would likely have been passes)
  • Fourth Quarter: 33 pass attempts
33 pass attempts in the fourth quarter! That's more than two pass attempts a minute, over the quarter. Of course, the Panthers had the ball too - the Bucs had possession for roughly nine minutes in the fourth quarter, meaning Glennon had over three-and-a-half pass attempts for every minute the Bucs had the ball in the fourth quarter.

Obviously, that's just a ridiculous stat. Though he's been considerably better than I was expecting, he fell to the third round for a reason; you just cannot put that much of the game on his shoulders yet, and doing so just reeks of desperation by the offensive coaching staff.

But back to Glennon: how did he actually do?

The answer is, as it always is with Glennon, a mixed bag. It's always been the case that when he's trapped in the pocket, Glennon's feet stop moving, he doesn't put any lower body power into his throws, all of which results in inaccurate passes. That was more true than ever on Thursday night, and if anything, it seemed worse against the Panthers than it has been the rest of the season.

A huge issue that this made me aware of is that Glennon very rarely will be willing to just take the hit; he rushes throws leading to inaccurate passes when he's at risk of taking a hit, when if he would just stand firm and accept what's coming, he could be making many more completions. It's something that really needs to be addressed, as the offensive line on the whole did a really bad job against Carolina, and you need your QB to be able to counter that by being willing to take the hit in order to make accurate throws.

On the other hand, when there's space to move in the pocket, Glennon seems to have definitely improved - at least through the first three quarters - moving well when feeling pressure. Even when being flushed out the pocket Glennon has definitely improved in keeping his eyes downfield to find the open man.

The problem is, he doesn't keep his eyes far enough down field; he will target guys who are maybe 10, 15 yards downfield from him, but there were too many plays when there was a second open receiver 10 yards further downfield than that. It could be a case of Glennon hasn't yet developed the vertical vision to see beyond the immediate receiver - or it could be a case that Glennon doesn't have (or doesn't believe he has) the arm strength to get the ball down there. Either way, the Bucs missed out on several big gains because of that.

We also saw Glennon's tendency, especially in the fourth quarter, to throw the ball to the receiver he believes 'should' be open, rather than assessing what's going on in front of him. It's that mentality that leads me to believe he'd be a good West Coast Offense quarterback - his sense of anticipation and throwing to the ball to where it 'should' be would be a perfect match for the timing routes that are a huge part of the WCO. Unfortunately, it doesn't work so well in an offense where the routes are highly dependant on receivers and quarterbacks reading coverages and defensive alignments - which you might recognise as the hallmark of Sullivan's offense.

In all, it wasn't a great first national outing for Glennon at all. He did some things well, particularly earlier on, but in the face of pressure - both from the Carolina defense, and the pressure of having to carry the team on his back for the final third of the game - Glennon simply looked like a quarterback not ready to be out there yet. Behind a better offensive line, there's every chance Glennon could have given the Bucs a chance to compete this year - but that was arguably true of the last guy, too. Without an offensive line that can prevent pressure, especially up the middle, Glennon simply hasn't shown he can cope well enough to lead the team to much of anything - and until he does, it's getting harder and harder to see where that first one might come from.