Mike Glennon had the best game of his career last Sunday. That's not a shocking insight, given his numbers (20/23 for 231 yards and two touchdowns). According to Total QBR, it was the third-best performance of the weekend. Football Outsiders had it as the ninth-best game of the week, and moved Mike Glennon up to 15th in their-season long rankings. Greg Cosell told 98.7 The Fan's Justin Pawlowski that Mike Glennon is clearly the best rookie quarterback in the NFL this year, and that he is a more advanced pocket passer than Robert Griffin III.
It was also the first game Glennon has played where I thought he showed the traits necessary for the Bucs to pass on a quarterback in the draft, trade or free agency next offseason. He was accurate, he missed only a single open receiver, he threw a catchable (though still far from good) deep ball, didn't make any head-scratching throws and, most importantly, he showcased the ability to make accurate, anticipation throws. Greg Cosell pointed out one specific second-quarter throw which got the Bucs to the goalline on Pawlowski's show.
This was a big-boy throw. It's not a throw we've seen Mike Glennon make with frequency this year, but in this case it was the one throw that elevated his game from that of a good game-manager's, to the game of a quarterback who can help carry his team to victory. Alex Smith would never in his lifetime make that throw, but he would make most of the other throws in this game, with the possible exception of the two deep balls.
For Glennon to become the team's starting quarterback beyond this season, he has to show that he can make these kinds of throws with some consistency. This game was a good first step: there were very few mistakes, his placement on deep balls was better, and that anticipation throw in particular was very impressive. He still needs some work (his slants were still a little behind the receivers), but it was a very promising performance.
If Mike Glennon can keep up this level of play, he will have earned the starting job for 2014. As much as I will always take an upgrade at quarterback if you can find it, Glennon played at a very high level against the Falcons. It wasn't perfect, but no quarterback ever is. He came close, though, and it could be a first step to earning the starting job for next year.