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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs try to cure Glennon's passing struggles

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Published:   |   Updated: December 12, 2013 at 12:26 PM

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TAMPA — Armed with a directive from coach Greg Schiano to take the morning off, Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon tried sleeping in on Tuesday. His biological clock, however, was having none of that.

Shortly after 8 a.m., which is the time he usually gets up on Tuesdays, Glennon found himself lying wide awake in bed, trying to figure out what to do with the few hours off he'd been given to catch his breath.

By 10 a.m. Glennon was cleaning his apartment and by 11 he was all but bagging the idea of a morning off and was getting ready to head into One Buc Place to begin preparing for this week's home finale against the 49ers.

Given Glennon's production the past two weeks, that probably wasn't a bad idea.

After turning in seven straight games in which he was as poised and productive as some of the top veterans in the league, Glennon has turned in two straight clunkers in which he has looked every bit the rookie he is.

A 64 percent passer with 12 touchdowns, two interceptions and a 98.5 passer rating in his previous seven games, Glennon was a 50 percent passer with two touchdowns, three interceptions and a rating of 55.5 in his past two.

Numbers like that would usually prompt a coach to order his quarterback to work a little harder, but Schiano says quarterbacks can't work much harder than Glennon has and that a break may be what he needs to regain his prior form.

“He's been grinding really, really hard,'' Schiano said. “Even during the bye week this guy didn't take off. So we wanted to make sure he got some rest first off and then, the other thing is, he's been getting hit a lot.

“He's faced some really good (defensive) fronts lately and he's been taking shots and when you get hit by a 300-plus-pound defensive lineman, I liken that to being in a car accident, except we actually get up and play the next play.''

Hits on Glennon have been on the increase in recent weeks and they may be one of the contributing factors to his slump. After being hit 23 times and sacked 15 times in his his previous seven games, he absorbed 12 hits and 10 sacks in the past two.

But it may not just be the hits that are affecting Glennon's play. The amount of consistent pressure he's been facing also may be taking a toll, because Glennon is apparently facing more pressure than almost any other quarterback in the league.

According to ProFootballFocus, Glennon has had to deliver the ball in the face of pressure on 44.8 percent of his drop backs this year. Only Terrelle Pryor of Oakland (46.1) has been under pressure more often.

Glennon is nowhere near as accurate a thrower under pressure as he is when he has time in the pocket. According to PFF, Glennon has completed only 56 of the 125 passes he has thrown under pressure (45 percent). On other throws, he has a completion percentage of 71.

“We have faced some very, very good football players, some very, very good schemes the last couple weeks and we've been in situations where we're throwing the ball on their terms,'' Bucs offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said.

“I'm talking about third-and-extra long or two-minute type scenarios where you're trying to play catch up. That's going to be a disadvantage for most quarterbacks and certainly for us.''

Dropped passes can be a disadvantage, too, and Schiano said that became a problem at times last week against the Bills. Something else that has become more of a problem for Glennon in recent weeks is decision-making.

That was beginning to look like it might be one of Glennon's strengths but since throwing only four interceptions in his first eight games as a pro, he has thrown three in his past two games.

“Yeah, I think there have been a couple of situations where maybe he's been forcing it a little bit,'' Sullivan said. “He's got to make sure he sees it the right way so that he can make the appropriate read, make the right decision.''

It may not just be Glennon's decisions that are adversely affecting his play. Sullivan continues to use game plans that lean heavily on downfield throws and those throws are much harder to complete than short ones.

Schiano has said he'd like to make more use of shorter throws when possible, but he said the Bucs want to take advantage of what the defense offers.

“If we feel like there's an opportunity to take shots where the reward outweighs the risk, then were going to do that even though we know the completion percentage will be less,'' he said.

“If we don't feel that, then we're going to take what the defense gives us underneath. I think each week that's the challenge because people change up when you have a rookie quarterback.

“And people change up when it's just (wide receiver) Vincent (Jackson) and when it's Tiquan (Underwood) over there and not Mike Williams. People change how they play us, so we have to make sure that we stay ahead of that.''

Glennon believes he has managed to stay ahead even after taking a few hours off on Tuesday morning. Now in the home stretch of what has been a long rookie season, he said he doesn't feel physically or mentally tired and is eager for the opportunity to break out of his first pro slump.

“I come in and keep to my routine every week and prepare the same way and I'm just forcing myself to stay on top of things and not letting myself get away from it mentally has really helped me out,'' he said.

“I mean, it was nice to be able to get away from it all for a couple of hours, but it actually felt a little weird, because I have a routine now and I'm just so ingrained in it. But it was nice not to have to worry about an alarm or any of that.''

 

rcummings@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7979

Twitter: @RCummingsTBO

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