Commentary | Buccaneers, Glennon will struggle to keep up with Eagles' offense

Glennon likely to face same obstacles that grounded Freeman

adell@bradenton.comOctober 13, 2013 

Buccaneers Freeman Football

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano, left, and quarterback Mike Glennon, center, talk to Josh Freeman after he threw a touchdown pass against the New Orleans Saints Sept. 15 in Tampa. ASSOCIATED PRESS

PHELAN M. EBENHACK — AP

TAMPA

It's Mike Glennon time.

The rookie quarterback has had two weeks to dissect his inaugural NFL start and, with Josh Freeman banished to the hinterlands of Minnesota, he doesn't have to look over his shoulder.

Glennon is also the teacher's pet.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano has put his NFL life on the line under the notion that Glennon gives his team the best chance to win.

Will he make difference Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles?

Unfortunately not, because Glennon is dealing with the same problems Freeman confronted and, being a rookie with limited skills, he is not equipped to deal with it.

Freeman had 19 percent of his catchable passes dropped, which is the highest percentage in the NFL, according to the stat geeks at Pro Football Focus.

He was operating behind the most disappointing offensive line in the league with former Pro Bowl guards Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks either unable to play to their standards or unable to play.

The Bucs don't have a quality tight end or third receiver, and prized acquisition Vincent Jackson plays at times as if he developed stone hands at receiver.

Throw in a quarterback who is not NFL ready under the guise of a questionable offensive coaching staff, and it puts everything on the defense.

The Bucs tried to hide Glennon's deficiencies in their loss to Arizona, but blood stains don't disappear.

The Cardinals blitzed Glennon on 22 of his 45 dropbacks, and he responded with a quarterback rating of 18.7, the result of seven completions and two interceptions. Under pressure, his rating was 14.6.

The Cardinals loaded the box and took running back Doug Martin out of the game.

Glennon's only option was to throw his way out of the fix he was in and couldn't do it.

The Eagles will employ the same defensive scheme, but it's their offense that could make life miserable for Glennon. If he has to match their point production, he will be overwhelmed.

The Eagles are averaging 455 yards of offense per game, which ranks second only to Peyton Manning's storybook bunch in Denver, and their point production (27 ppg) ranks sixth in the NFL.

Philadelphia leads the NFL with 186.6 rushing yards per game, and Eagles running back LeSean McCoy ranks first with 514 yards on the ground.

The Bucs are averaging 100.5 rushing yards per game and overusing Martin.

Glennon is going to have to play mistake-free football and put up points. Someday he might be able to do it, but now he can't.

Brushing aside questions of whether Glennon is ready to take over the offense, Schiano is insisting he had no choice but to make the move.

"Ready or not, that doesn't matter, if he's the best chance for us to win. ... When are they ever really ready? There are guys well into their careers that aren't quite ready," said Schiano, who could've been describing himself.

"The thing that, I think, has been talked about is how mature he is, how hard he works. He's got a very good football mind. Are there things that are going to fool him? Sure. Are there mistakes that he'll make early in his career that he won't dare make later? Absolutely, because of the kind of worker he is and how smart he is. This guy will learn from his mistakes. That's the one thing I'm really confident about"

It's the same thing we once heard about Josh Freeman.

Freeman perspective

The Freeman-Schiano discord started to brew way before this season began according to former Bucs icon Ronde Barber.

Barber told Sirius XM NFL Radio that he saw the discontent in Freeman way before training camp, that the problem began when Freeman realized the Bucs were not going to renew his expiring contract and sign him to a long-term deal.

"He seemed different this year. It was as if he was resigned to his fate (with the Bucs)." Barber said. "He has every ounce of talent you would want from that position. He has the big arm and certainly has the football IQ. But it went south quick."

Foles back for more

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is out with an injury, but his replacement, Nick Foles, might present bigger problems for the Bucs.

He is not as mobile as Vick, but gets the ball out quicker.

Foles beat the Bucs last year as a rookie. Tampa Bay's defense it better this year, especially with cornerback Darrelle Revis and safety Dashon Goldson. But DeSean Jackson will keep Revis occupied. We'll see how the rest of the secondary holds up.

Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reachedat 941-745-7056. Follow him on Twitter at @ADellSports.

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