Commentary | Under pressure, Josh McCown clearly best QB for Buccaneers

adell@bradenton.comJune 8, 2014 

Buccaneers Panthers Football

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Mike Glennon (8) looks to pass against the Carolina Panthers in the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

BOB LEVERONE — AP

TAMPA

The gap between Josh McCown and Mike Glennon is getting wider.

The only thing we can say confidently about Glennon is that he is the first-team All-Underwear quarterback.

Bucs head coach Lovie Smith has coined offseason workouts without pads and hitting as underwear football, and Glennon has shined in those conditions.

But under fire, when the bullets are flying, he is a different specimen say the stat geeks at Pro Football Focus, who made this offseason a painful one for the Bucs backup quarterback.

Statistically, McCown overwhelms Glennon in three important categories: performing under pressure, third downs and second half.

Based on his performance for the Chicago Bears last season, McCown shines under pressure. Glennon wilts.

Things could get worse in an NFL that is constantly evolving and with a Bucs offensive line that is highly suspect.

These days, many quarterbacks have to rely on themselves to be productive. It means being mobile and throwing short, quick passes with accuracy that enables the receiver to catch the ball in stride.

John Madden had this to say about today's NFL offensive lines: "It used to be block the blitz and account for everyone. Now it's don't account for anyone and just throw it before they get there," he told Sports On Earth.

This is an ideal situation for McCown. For the slow-footed Glennon, with his lack of mobility and questionable accuracy, it's potential disaster.

PFF's quarterback rating is different than the NFL's, which is more a measure of what the entire offense did on a given play. PFF gauges how well a quarterback actually performed in a given situation to include whether an accurate pass or a sure interception was dropped.

For Chicago last season, McCown threw 13 touchdowns with one interception, but you can't just credit his elite receivers, Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall.

Looking at how quarterbacks performed on third downs was not encouraging for Glennon. He ranked last in YAC (yards after catch) at 3.1 yards on third downs and was sacked a league-high 25 times on third downs in 155 drop-backs.

Josh Freeman, the guy Glennon replaced, was sacked three times in 55 third-down dropbacks. McCown was sacked twice in 61 third-down dropbacks.

If the Bucs are going to run an up-tempo offense that stresses a lot of short passes, accuracy and athleticism from the quarterback is essential.

Glennon was the worst at setting up receivers for yards after catch, which is a weakness he brought with him from college. According to PFF, he finished last in the percentage of his total yards which came from yards after the catch, while McCown was 22nd.

McCown excelled in the short and long passing game.

In the 7- to 8-yard dropback passing game, he had a league-high quarterback rating of 121.2 and 9.5 yards per attempt to rank second. Glennon was sacked a league-high 27 times in 7- to 8-yard dropbacks.

It's no great revelation that Glennon is not athletic and lacks mobility, but when you break down his numbers they don't fit a quarterback who figures to have a successful NFL career or is a good fit in an offense that Lovie Smith wants to be fast.

The future seems to be moving further away from Glennon.

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

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