Mike Glennon put up some terrible statistics last week: 9/25 for 90 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and one sack. It surely wasn't a good performance, and he was saved on a couple of mediocre throws by supreme adjustments by Vincent Jackson. Still, after watching the tape it's clear that his outing wasn't as soul-destroyingly awful as it first appeared: a few drops and penalties negated some good throws, while the down and distance often hurt as well as the route combinations.
Still, that doesn't mean it was an excusable performance. Two issues have proven to be consistent for Mike Glennon this season: ball placement, particularly on outside throws, and decisiveness. Glennon has too often been late on throws or simply neglected to take the open throw, even when he was staring right at it. There are instances where I'm watching the All-22 and simply shouting "HE'S OPEN, THROW IT!" as I'm sure a lot of you do in the stadium, too. That's an issue that will have to be resolved if he's to remain the team's starter next year.
On to the tape!
|1||1st&10||Incomplete to Vincent Jackson||Tipped at the line.|
|2||1st&10||Incomplete to Vincent Jackson||Just a little too far inside , but Jackson could have caught this|
|3||3rd&10||Incomplete to Tim Wright||Badly thrown and not on the same page as Wright (ball's outside, he cuts inside). Owusu is open for deep out on the other side, but Glennon never looks that way.|
|4||1st&10||Complete to Vincent Jackson for 10 yards||A little late on the throw, but well-placed|
|5||3rd&7||Complete to Vincent Jackson for 22 yards||On time, high and to the outside, terrific adjustment by VJax to make a tough catch.|
|6||1st&10||Complete to Bobby Rainey for 4 yards||Waits ages and doesn't see wide-open Underwood behind the deep coverage|
|7||3rd&4||Complete to Skye Dawson for 6 yards||Great ball placement prevents Kiko Alonso from picking it off. Placed anywhere else, this is an interception. Great play.|
|8||3rd&14||Complete to Vincent Jackson for 38 yards, touchdown||Coverage scramble, then just chucks it up to VJax, who makes a ridiculous adjustment to grab the touchdown.|
|9||1st&10||Incomplete to Tim Wright||Thrown away under pressure|
|10||3rd&11||Incomplete to Tiquan Underwood||Miscommunication|
|11||1st&10||Incomplete to Tiquan Underwood||Really good deep throw, but defender just gets a hand on it. Good throw with someone at his feet, too.|
|12||3rd&9||Intercepted||Miscommunication -- Jackson goes to cut back out but Glennon throws it inside.|
|13||2nd&7||Incomplete to Erik Lorig||Designed swing route, terrible ball placement by Glennon.|
|14||3rd&7||Complete to Skye Dawson for 3 yards||Free rusher forces quick throw. Tim Wright would have been open for first down had protection been called better.|
|15||3rd&6||Incomplete||Senses phantom pressure and starts scrambling into pressure, forcing him to throw it away.|
|16||2nd&9||Intercepted||Terrible ball placement causes this interception. More air or placed farther outside would have been a likely first down or touchdown.|
|17||1st&10||Incomplete to Skye Dawson||Nearly picked off on near-identical throw to last play. Again too far inside and not enough air.|
|18||2nd&15||Incomplete to Tiquan Underwood||Dropped by Underwood on short crossing route. Quick throw because of pressure. Second time Alonso nearly got his hand on this after faking blitz and dropping out. I don't think Glennon saw him either time.|
|19||3rd&15||Incomplete to Tim Wright||Inaccurate throw, late but under pressure. Not a good read vs. this zone coverage look, either, as the safety can drive on the ball & receiver with time to spare.|
|20||3rd&6||Complete to Tim Wright for 16 yards||Good throw, a bet late but accurate and good placement.|
|21||2nd&10||Good throw, good read.|
|22||3rd&5||Sacked for -9 yards||Coverage sack. No one really open.|
|23||2nd&13||Incomplete to Vincent Jackson||Bad placement on the deep ball|
|24||2nd&7||Complete to Bobby Rainey for -8 yards||Failed screen. Great read by Kiko Alonso|
|25||3rd&7||Incomplete to Skye Dawson||A little high and inside for diminutive Skye. Good anticipation, just a little off on the throw.|
|26||2nd&7||Incomplete to Tiquan Underwood||Indecisive, then makes the wrong decision on a crossing route to Underwood.|
|27||3rd&12||Incomplete to Vincent Jackson for 14 yards||The infamous 'did he tap his feet' non-touchdown. Decent throw, but into double coverage. Nowhere else to really go to, though.|
|28||2nd&1||Incomplete to Bobby Rainey||Indecisive again, ball should be out to a wide open Vincent Jackson. Instead scrambles and then throws an idiotic little flip to Rainey that should have been picked off.|
|29||3rd&6||Incomplete to Vincent Jackson||Good throw, incomplete because Jackson was held|
Overall, this was a poor outing for Mike Glennon, although it wasn't as bad on a second watch as it appeared to be live. A few recurring issues are becoming clear for Mike Glennon, though: bad ball placement on sideline routes, and a tendency to hold on to the ball too long. That's part of the reason why Glennon has been sacked so often (7.9%, 27th in the NFL). He's also leaving yards on the field because of it, especially on third down.
Third and long? Bucs have one conversion in last 30 chances when facing third and 8 or longer. (Glennon-to-Jackson 38-yard TD vs. Buffalo)— Greg Auman (@gregauman) December 12, 2013
That's an ugly stat, and some of that was on display this weekend, too. Note these two throws, #6 and #28. Pictures speak louder than many, many words, after all.
Tiquan Underwood is wide open for the touchdown, running away from his coverage and the lone deep safety. Glennon should have recognized that that would happen as soon as he saw that the Bills only had one safety deep and he was playing just half of the field. In fact, that ball should have been out already at this point. Instead, Glennon's fixated on a very well-covered Vincent Jackson.
That's about as succinctly as I can put it. I don't know what Glennon's coached to do on these plays, but I do know that no coach would ask their quarterback to just hold on to it forever. At some point that ball has to be out. In this latest picture it even looks like he's staring down Jackson, who is wide open because his defender fell down. Instead, he'll hold on to it, scramble to his left a little and then try to flip it to Bobby Rainey, which nearly sees the ball being picked off.
Those issues are not uncommon for rookie quarterbacks: the NFL moves at a different speed and it's not always easy to recognize who's open and who's not while managing a muddy pocket. But it is a skill that all good NFL quarterbacks must develop, and it's been a consistent concern for Mike Glennon this year, especially over the last two games.