Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers wasn't Mike Glennon's best as a pro, but it might have been the one that best defined where the Tampa Bay quarterback's career should go from here.
If a quarterback were to finish a game with an 87 percent completion percentage, earning 9.7 yards per attempt and scoring two touchdowns while throwing no interceptions, it would be very easy to say he had an excellent performance.
10 plays, 92 yards on that drive. Very impressive by Glennon and the #Bucs. This is getting interesting.....— Tom Krasniqi (@TKras) December 15, 2013
That's what Glennon did on two no-huddle offensive drives Sunday against the 49ers, as he led the team to its only two scores of the day.
But on the other nine possessions, the quarterback for the Buccaneers was 5-of-19 for 44 yards with an interception and no touchdowns. That performance on its own would be universally considered awful, and for good reason.
On the drives that deviated from the original offensive game plan and ran no-huddle offense, the Buccaneers gained 172 yards. On their nine other drives? They tallied only 11 net yards.
Which means the problem is not with the talent on the field, including the rookie quarterback fighting for his job. It means the problems are on the sidelines and in the coaching booth.
Greg Schiano does not deserve another chance with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but after today's performance, there's reason to believe Glennon does.
Keep the Quarterback
Any employee working for a bad boss will fail to live up to their potential. It's just the nature of the employee/employer relationship.
So for Glennon, it's unfair to judge him completely based on the coaching he has received from Schiano and offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan during his brief time as quarterback of the Buccaneers.
After all, Glennon showed Sunday against a formidable San Francisco defense that he's capable of putting together impressive scoring drives. His running game was completely absent, yet he managed to conduct two long scoring campaigns and seemed rather poised while doing so.
But when the offense reverted to Sullivan's usual play-calling, Glennon was like a deer in headlights.
As Doug Farrar of Sports Illustrated pointed out earlier this season, the Buccaneers have a poor offensive system that needed work to become conducive to quarterback success. Nothing has changed since the article was posted, and the results speak for themselves.
Yet Glennon has still found windows of opportunity to show that he's a capable NFL quarterback. He's never going to be Aaron Rodgers or Peyton Manning, but if he can become a Matt Ryan-like commander for an offense aided by an All-Pro-laden defense, the Buccaneers will be happy with that.
Glennon has avoided costly mistakes and shown improvement on timing routes as he figures out how to anticipate throws at the NFL level. He's more than earned a chance to compete for a job in 2014, and he still has two more games to leave no doubt as to whether he should be the starter in Tampa Bay next season.
In other words, Glennon is not the problem in Tampa Bay.
Fire the Coach
The problem is the head coach.
As Patrik Nohe of the Miami Herald pointed out in a guest post for the Pewter Plank earlier this year, Schiano's problems with quarterbacks date back to his days at Rutgers. So it's no surprise to see Josh Freeman run out of town and to see Glennon struggle at times under Schiano's guidance.
But the more concerning aspect of Schiano's tenure with the Buccaneers has been his inability to bring the change the Buccaneers needed after firing Raheem Morris.
The Buccaneers are missing an alarming amount of tackles, they lead the league in penalties and penalty yards and they currently have only 11 wins in their first 30 games under their current boss.
Compare that to the first two seasons under Morris, who maintained a serviceable defense that improved in his second year as head coach and saw his team win 10 games in his second season alone. Morris' teams committed their fair share of penalties, but it was never as bad as it is with Schiano's current crew.
Should Mike Glennon and Greg Schiano get another chance in 2014?
The players certainly give Schiano full effort, which is something the Buccaneers didn't do for Morris during his final three months in charge. But effort isn't good enough in today's NFL.
Results are what matter, and Schiano has failed to deliver positive results during his tenure in Tampa Bay. Which is why it would be beneficial for all parties to see what Glennon can do in a different offense.
With a new coach in town for 2014, the organization would have the offseason to consider other options under center, but they should at least leave the door open for Glennon to prove he's better than his up-and-down debut indicates.
Judging a quarterback after just 11 games in a flawed system is short-sighted and can lead to missing out on a potential solution to a long-running problem under center in Tampa Bay.
But it's not too early to say that Schiano is failing the Buccaneers, as his 11 wins while leading from the sideline contradict the immense amount of talent on both sides of the football.