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Mike Glennon vs Game Film: Week 10 - the worst game yet

The Bucs have finally got their first win of the season, but it happened to come during what was arguably Mike Glennon's worst game so far.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, the Buccaneers can finally put a tick in the 'W' column, but make no mistake - it was largely in spite, not because, of Mike Glennon. The young quarterback simply seems to be regressing week on week, with a different area of his play deteriorating each game. This game, it appeared to be the most significant area of all for Glennon to take a step backwards in - his ability to read the game.

That might sound a bit extreme, but it's true - there just hasn't been a game where Glennon had made as many bad reads and poor decisions as he did against the Dolphins.

Jon Gruden may have spent a large part of Monday night's game lauding various attributes of Glennon, but to be entirely honest he appears to have made them all up. A "cannon" for an arm? Glennon's longest completion through the air was 19 yards on Monday, and only two of his 11 completions were over 15 yards. Anticipation? Absolutely not, his ball placement has very noticeably regressed over the course of the season.

But above all, it really is his reading of the game that now has to be the biggest cause of concern. How big a cause for concern? Last week, I thought Glennon could be functional in a West Coast Offense when a new coaching regime is brought in, enough that the team could potentially consider running with Glennon for one more year, if a veteran QB is brought in to challenge him.

Having watched the All-22 on Glennon, I now believe that if this team rides with Glennon in 2014, they'll be looking at a top-three pick in the 2015 draft.

Glennon's game was so bad, that for the first time for a QB review, I've actually had to take screencaps to show just how poor his decision-making was.

First, though, here's our weekly chart of every pass the team called last week - the asterisked plays will be explained with screencaps below.

Pass Attempt Down & Distance Result Notes
1 2nd & 5 30 to Underwood (11 YAC)* Nit-picking here, but Glennon had no need to wait for Underwood to break the route before he threw it. On the other side, though, he had Jackson open deeper for a TD (though Glennon's limited arm strength might explain why he didn't attempts a throw to Jackson)
2 2nd & 9 9 to Jackson (5 YAC) Ball placement should have been better, if he had led Jackson into the catch, Jackson probably has the momentum to take the ball in for a touchdown
3 1st & Goal from the 4 Incomplete to Jackson PBU by Grimes, but even without it, Jackson would have probably caught it out of bounds, need better jump-ball accuracy
4 3rd & Goal from the 1 1 to Penn (0 YAC), touchdown Nice sell on the play-action but ball was underthrown & Penn had to catch it low due to Glennon backing away from a defender & throwing off the back foot
5 1st & 10 14 to Jackson (7 YAC)* Missed potential touchdown to Underwood
6 3rd & 5 Incomplete to Leonard Every receiver was tightly covered, so Glennon didn't really have much of an option here
7 1st & 10 Scramble Right decision
8 1st & 10 Incomplete to Jackson* DPI on Grimes, but if anything should have been OPI on Jackson as Grimes was in potential position to intercept as the deep sideline pass was underthrown. Tim Wright was open
9 2nd & 19 Incomplete to Dawson* Tim Wright was wiiiiide open in the middle of the field, would have set up as a minimum 3rd & 9 and probably much shorter than that. Instead, brings up 3rd & 19
10 3rd & 19 Incomplete to Jackson* HUGELY overthrows Jackson, almost picked off by Clemons. Tiquan Underwood was open for the first down
11 1st & 10 14 to Leonard (12 YAC) Right read & good placement to let Leonard make YAC (albeit with a lot of good effort on Leonard's part)
12 3rd & 9 17 to Underwood (7 YAC) Underwood had to slow down due to ball being placed poorly, allowing the defender who eventually brought him down to gain ground on him. Could have been a bigger gain.
13 3rd & 6 5 to Jackson (3 YAC)* Terrible decision, third down conversion was there to be had on a throw to Wright. In any case, very bad ball placement (way too high) killed off any momentum Jackson might have had to make the necessary YAC
14 1st & 10 Sack This was just a case of the right play called by the Dolphins' DC at the right time. Leonard had a check-release here, Miami disguised the coverage well so Leonard released into his route instead of picking up the corner blitz. Glennon didn't have a chance, really.
15 3rd & 15 Incomplete to Underwood All the receiving options were tightly covered, and Glennon did find the right read with Underwood. However, the ball was again poorly placed, thrown a little behind, casuing Underwood to slow down; Grimes broke up the catch. If the ball is thrown further in front this would have been very, very close to a first down, and YAC would have got it there
16 3rd & 10 Incomplete to Underwood* Jackson had a LOT of room open in the middle of the field. In Glennon's defense, he had pressure in his face but he has to know where his receivers are and what routes they're running.
17 2nd & 18 19 to Wright (7 YAC) Again, ball placement needs to be better, ball was high and Wright had to slow down allowing the LB to gain ground. If thrown at chest height, Wright picks up more than 7 after the catch
18 1st & 20 Scramble Right decision by Glennon, but Jackson stops running his route when it looks like the ball's not going to him. If he continued running his route at full pace, he would have been a viable option for Glennon to throw to
19 3rd & 19 Incomplete to Dawson Terrible throw, landing several yards in front of Dotson, but on second review looks like it was a result of being hit as he threw
20 1st & 10 Incomplete to Jackson* Jasckson was all kinds of covered; Underwood was open on the other side, but Glennon only ever stares at Jackson
21 2nd & 10 Incomplete to Jackson* Way overthrown, Underwood open the other side. Again.
22 3rd & 10 Interception Glennon just completely panicked under pressure and just threw it in the air to avoid getting hit, or so it looks like. For the third play in a row, Underwood was open for a first down on the other side of the field.
23 1st & 10 17 to Underwood (0 YAC) Right decision, ball still placed to high, Underwood has to jump for it, is hit in the air and brought down with his legs all tangled up in the receiver. Needlessly getting receivers hit in the air.
24 2nd & 8 2 to Leonard (3 YAC) Ball flipped out by Glennon as he was going down, so good job by Glennon having presence of mind to flick it to Leonard instead of being sacked.
25 3rd & 6 Incomplete to Underwood Glennon took a shot as he was being chased out of bounds, should have been picked off by an underneath defender. Glennon gets hit, roughing the passer against Miami
26 2nd & 11 11 to Rainey (6 YAC) Right choice by Glennon, good placement allowed YAC
27 3rd & 2 Runs out of bounds for loss of 5 Terrible game awareness by Glennon, not only loses yardage for the punt but keeps time on the clock for Miami by running out of bounds

By my count, that's seven good plays (or at least plays where Glennon couldn't have done anything better) out of twenty seven passes dialled up. Seven! And that includes both scramble and the sack, where Glennon didn't really have a chance - meaning only four of his passes couldn't have been better. That's just not franchise quarterback numbers.

So, instead of what I usually do here, which is write up my observations on Glennon, I'll just leave you with a series of screen caps that show why I now no longer believe Glennon should be allowed to remain the starter next season in any circumstances. (All pass attempt numbers refer to the above chart)

Pass Attempt #1



I wrote that Glennon had Jackson open for a touchdown. Well, you can see here that the high safety, is moving towards Underwood, as indicated by the yellow line. Well, Glennon passes to Underwood for 19 yards in the air, who adds another 11 yards after the catch for a thirty-yard gain. All well and good. But if Glennon had stepped up into the pocket (as there is a DE bearing down on him) as indicated by the yellow line, and thrown anywhere into the pale-coloured circle, Vincent Jackson has a step on the CB and there is no safety help over the top. In other words, a well-placed deep throw here has absolute home-run potential.


A few people have come to me saying Jackson is only open because Glennon is already in mid-throw to Underwood, so the safety has vacated the middle of the field as a result - meaning Jackson wasn't actually open.

It's true that, going on the above screencap, it does indeed look that way; however, the safety had turned away from Jackson before Glennon ever wound his arm up to throw to Underwood, as you can see below.



Others have said that Underwood was the right read on the play; I won't disagree on that - which is why in the list of passes above, I mentioned that this was nitpicking. Still, I mentioned in last week's article that it's been obvious for weeks now that safeties bite on where Glennon begins to stare. It's an indictment not of Glennon, but of John McNulty, for not having picked this up in film study and coached Glennon to utilise this more by looking off safeties, so I feel it's still fair to point out.

Pass Attempt #5



Glennon's going to throw along the pale-coloured line, and Jackson's going to catch it in stride for a total of a 14 yard gain, seven through the air and seven on the ground. But look at Underwood's path, as illustrated with the light blue line - he's heading into a huge amount of open space, outside of that deep safety - if Glennon gets a good throw to Underwood's outside shoulder, this should get the Bucs easily inside the ten, and very possibly a touchdown. The team ended up settling for a field goal on this drive.

Pass Attempt #8



This is the play where a DPI was called on Grimes, but should have been called as OPI on Jackson. In either case, I have no idea why Glennon was throwing at Jackson - as you can see in the yellow circle, Grimes was clearly ahead of Jackson, so it was going to be a very, very hard catch no matter what.

What makes the play worse is Tim Wright, who was running a crossing route across the field and, being a fast guy, was getting increasing separation from the linebacker covering him after this screencap was taken. The pale-coloured circle represents the path of Wright's route; the ball thrown anywhere along that expanse of field was likely to be caught by Wright. There is no question that Glennon should have been throwing to Wright here - and just to hammer the point home, I've circled in dark blue the first down markers. Yes, it's first and ten, but why would Glennon pass up the opportunity for a fresh set of downs, especially as, had Jackson not tackled Grimes to the ground (seriously refs, I'm a Bucs fan and all but there's now way this is was on Grimes), we could have been looking at an interception here.

Pass Attempt #9



Now, this is on 2nd & 19. There's two choices Glennon could have gone with here: trying to go for a big throw and get those 19 yards back at once, or go for a shorter throw to set up third-and-manageable.

Unfortunately, Glennon chose the first one, to Skye Dawson, who is tightly covered (as you can see in the yellow circle). The orange line indicates the rough trajectory of Glennon's pass - the ball is overthrown.

In the huge pale-coloured circle, though, is Tim Wright. Again, the chains are marked out with blue circles. If Glennon throws to the wide, wide open Tim Wright, then as a bare minimum, the team are looking at 3rd & 9, though Wright would certainly have managed to add yardage after the catch. Instead, Glennon overthrows the tightly-covered Dawson, setting up 3rd & 19

Pass Attempt #10



So it's now 3rd & 19. You can see at the top of the screen you've got Vincent Jackson (who Glennon eventually throws to, in the yellow circle) and Skye Dawson, both one with corner covering them and a safety over the top. You can understand the logic from a pre-snap look - Glennon sees Underwood on one side with a safety over the top, and two receivers with a safety over the top on the other side. It makes sense, pre-snap, to look to your two-receiver side first, letting the safety pick one receiver to help with and then throw to the other.

The problem is that the Dolphins appear to be playing a hybrid scheme, with man coverage on one half of the field and zone coverage on the other. What you'd hope Glennon would do, seeing both receivers on that side are tightly covered, is hitch to the other side of the field to at least see what's happening with Underwood, who's running a corner or flag route. As you can see in the pale-coloured circle, Underwood's got a huge soft spot in the middle of the zones on that side of the field to run his route into.



Again, the yellow circle is around Vincent Jackson, who was target on the play. The ball is actually way over thrown and is nearly picked off by the safety over the top, Chris Clemons.

But look at the light blue line I've drawn - that's an imagined trajectory of the pass Glennon should have thrown. Underwood still has PLENTY of space around him to work with; if Glennon throws anywhere in that pale-coloured circle, then Underwood will easily be able convert the 3rd & 19 - just look how close he is to the first down markers, in dark blue circles. Instead, an over thrown pass to a tightly covered receiver that almost ends in a pick. Not smart football from Glennon.

Pass Attempt #13



This is a 3rd & 6 play. Glennon's going to throw to Vincent Jackson, in the yellow circle, who has a linebacker, in the dark blue circle, tracking him down. Meanwhile, Tim Wright is running into a big patch of open space, marked with a pale circle. Wright is effectively in a foot race with the high safety, in the light-blue circle; it's a foot race Wright wins, and if Glennon throws to him, as indicated by the line, then Wright gets the team into as a minimum 1st & Goal.



Instead, Glennon throws far too high for Jackson, and his having to jump for the ball kills his momentum, and therefore is unable to make sustainable YAC and is brought down a yard shy of the first down. Meanwhile, Wright still has plenty of space where Glennon could have thrown to the ball to him. As before, the down markers are circled in dark blue - a pass to Wright is a first down inside the Miami 10, but the pass to Jackson resulted in field goal.

Pass Attempt #16



Glennon, under pressure, throws to Underwood, who's running a route in towards the CB at the bottom of the screencap. Glennon has to have a better feel for where his receivers are going to be on a play. If he's going to throw it up under pressure, don't throw it to the route running towards a defender; throw it to the receiver running into a huge patch of green in the middle of the field (in the pale circle), which Jackson is about to do. Again from the dark blue circles, you can see that a better decision here - on 3rd & 10 - would have quite easily resulted in a first down for the Bucs.

Pass Attempt #20



This is a max-protect play-action pass play - only two receiver release downfield, Jackson, at the top of the screen, and Underwood, at the bottom of the screen. FOUR defender converge on Jackson - each one circled in yellow. In the pale circle, however, you see Underwood with a single man in coverage. The CB on Underwood gets lost on the play - he's giving Underwood inside release, and is moving in the direction of the blue line. Underwood, however, is actually going to cut outside, in the direction of the pale-coloured line. If Glennon makes the throw I've drawn in above, then Underwood catches this for a six yard gain, setting up 2nd & 4. Instead, Glennon only ever looks at Jackson, and with four defenders around him, the pass is batted away.

Pass Attempt #21



Very next play, 2nd and 10. Glennon decides to throw to Jackson, circled in yellow at the bottom of the screencap, despite the fact that there is a safety over the top of him, also circled in yellow. There is, however, Tiquan Underwood, completely wide open on the other side of the field, in the pale-coloured circle. Underwood is six yards past the first down marker; that throw should be a given. Instead Glennon decides to overthrow Jackson...



... as in, way overthrow Jackson. That brings up third and 10; despite Underwood being open again on the other side of the field, Glennon underthrows to Jackson, the ball landing instead in the arms of the corner trailing underneath Jackson. That made it the third straight play where Glennon favoured a covered Jackson over a wide-open Underwood, because he didn't go through his progression despite the fact Jackson was covered.

Including the interception, which I didn't annotate here, that makes ten passes where Glennon could and should have made a better decision. That's ten of 24 passes that Glennon threw, or just over 40%. You simply cannot have a quarterback making poor decision on 40% of his passes; and that is why I now cannot see any viable way for Glennon to remain the starter next season, despite the fact the team has its' first win.