Yeah, I said it. I'm willing to stake my professional career on Mike Glennon panning out as a starter in the NFL.
Why, you ask?
The obvious attributes that put Mike Glennon in rare company are good size and a a big arm. He has the ability to zip balls in with the flick of a wrist, making throws that other QBs can't make with a full wind-up. He's capable of something Tampa fans haven't seen in a good long while: accurate throws with good velocity. The guy can outright slang it!
Not enough, you say?
Then let's get to the not so obvious attributes — his mechanics. When you take apart an NFL QB, there are three things you watch, and order is paramount. The first place you look to analyze any QB is at his feet. Glennon's never stop moving, it's a veritable Riverdance every time the guy drops back. While those feet never stop churning, nobody who's watched football at any level is going to mistake Glennon's chopping feet for the fleet feet that have become all the rage in the NFL over the last several seasons.
That leads us to number two on our list of things to watch, the eyes. Glennon knows as well as anyone that he's not going to run away from anybody. When his feet carry him forward in the pocket (where he's supposed to go when things start breaking down around him) his eyes are right where they should be every time — upfield.
High chop and upfield eye-bulbs don't do anything for you, however, if you don't pass the third test of mechanics. If you're a QB, you have to keep the ball high, shoulder coiled, ready for release. Glennon passes this test, as well, and that's where that flick of the wrist we talked about pays dividends.
Alright, so we've seen guys with attributes like those fail in this league before. Tangible - intangible, big arm - good mechanics, only get you into the league. They don't make you successful. Hard work, regardless of position, regardless of ability is absolutely essential to make it in this league.
Good news, Bucs fans. The number one thing that has bubbled to the surface over the last 24 hours is the overwhelming praise for Glennon's work ethic. From head man Greg Schiano to his OC Mike Sullivan to wide out Mike Williams, the praise has been effusive. Student of the game, passion for the game, first in/last out, smart.
All good, but why stake my "career" on it?
Better question is what career are we talking about anyway? The guys we should ask about are the two men who made the decision: Greg Schiano and Mark Dominik. The general concensus on Dominik is that he's on the ropes, especially with his first ever draft pick, Josh Freeman going down. The growing concensus on Schiano is that he may be on the ropes, as well. Something that seemed almost unimaginable three months ago roared to reality just three games into this season.
Make no mistake, sports fans, Dominik and Schiano are tied to this decision. They may be able to squirm free of the noose if Glennon is even marginally better at not losing games than Freeman. They will certainly sink into oblivion, however, if Glennon rolls out and shows the things we didn't talk about while we were praising him, above.
He's inconsistent. He's susceptible to poor headwork. Ball security is an issue when he's under durress. He plays down to his opponents. He's a risk taker indiscriminate of reward. In short, Mike Glennon is boom or doom.
So why are Schiano and Dominik staking their careers on such a player?
The answer is quite simple. They believe that this team is profusely talented, that they have corralled the cobras that haunted their defense last season, and they are right on the cusp of being something other than a circus sideshow. Most importantly, they believe that their profusely talented, retooled, team was listless and on the verge of collapse with Freeman at the reigns.
Where's that leave me and my so-called career? Well, I'm an unrepentant homer, so I'll survive. It's my opinion, however, that the Bucs will survive, as well. While the Decision may have been as much the result of a lack of options, the gulf between success and failure for this team is bridged by trotting a QB out there whose give-a-shit factor is still high.
Mike Glennon's most certainly is.