Glennon’s game a perfect fit for the pocket

jgiglio@newsobserver.comApril 22, 2013 


Mike Glennon of North Carolina State works out during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 24, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

JOE ROBBINS — Getty Images

At one point during their five-hour film session, ESPN’s Jon Gruden tweaks former N.C. State quarterback Mike Glennon about the trend of read-option quarterbacks in the NFL.

For the “Gruden’s QB Camp” episode, the former NFL coach shows Glennon a clip of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton running the read option and then one of Glennon.

“I don’t think this is your cup of tea, brother,” Gruden said during the show, which will air Tuesday on ESPN Classic (7:30 a.m.) and Wednesday on ESPNU (5 p.m.).

The ever stoic Glennon, who hopes to hear his name in the one of the first two rounds of the NFL draft this week, smiled and told Gruden: “There will always be a place for drop-back quarterbacks in the NFL.”

Glennon needs no further proof than this season’s Super Bowl winner. While Russell Wilson, Glennon’s predecessor at N.C. State, and Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick tore up the NFL with their mobility – and carried their respective teams to the NFC playoffs – it was a prototypical drop-back quarterback, Joe Flacco, who led the Baltimore Ravens to the NFL title.

Gruden even compared Glennon, in size and arm strength, to Flacco, the Super Bowl MVP.

“Yeah, I was definitely happy to see him win it all,” Glennon said in an interview Monday.

Glennon started the past two seasons for the Wolfpack and threw for 4,031 yards (second in school history to Philip Rivers) and 31 touchdowns in 2012.

In the draft buildup, other quarterbacks have gotten more attention than Glennon, a concept he’s used to and one that doesn’t affect him.

Ignoring speculation

A year after Wilson, Griffin and Andrew Luck made rookie splashes at quarterback, West Virginia’s Geno Smith could be the only quarterback taken in the first round on Thursday.

Mike Mayock, who analyzes the draft for the NFL Network, also has Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib, USC’s Matt Barkley and Florida State’s E.J. Manuel ranked ahead Glennon, who’s projected to go in the second or third round on Friday.

The weeks between the combine and draft have become the NFL’s second season. While Glennon has gone through workouts, and Gruden’s made-for-TV camp, he hasn’t paid any attention to the speculation about his future.

“I don’t listen or watch or even read about it,” said Glennon, who went 15-11 as a two-year starter in college. “It doesn’t do a whole lot of good. I’m pretty sure the draft board for each team is a lot different than what’s on the Internet.”

That type of focus has already helped Glennon, who waited three seasons behind Wilson for his chance to play.

Even before former coach Tom O’Brien and offensive coordinator Dana Bible recruited Glennon out of high school in Centreville, Va., he made his pro intentions clear.

“He was on a mission from the get-go,” Bible said Monday. “He had a very strong message about where he wanted to go and now here is, right on the verge of that happening.”

Skills made for Sundays

To Bible, who spent four seasons in the NFL in the 1990s and groomed Wilson and Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan in college, there’s no doubt there’s still room in the changing NFL landscape for a quarterback like Glennon.

“His skill set is made for Sunday,” Bible said. “Like anything else, there’s an evolution to our game but in the end it comes down (to) can you make throws under duress.

“You’ve got less than 3 seconds and somebody’s trying to knock you down and you’ve got put a throw 28 yards down the field on the money. Mike has shown he can do that.”

That’s what impressed Gruden, an NFL head coach for 11 seasons, about Glennon. Gruden shows Glennon a clip of his 19-yard touchdown pass, between two defenders to Rashard Smith against Vanderbilt in the Music City Bowl. Gruden stops the play and rewinds as Glennon’s about to get hit.

“You know what I like more than anything?” Gruden asked Glennon. “You’re standing in there. I mean, your right tackle is on the ground. The defensive tackle is beating down on you and you stand in the face of the rush and make a great throw.”

Glennon’s reaction to Gruden’s compliment isn’t that much different than the one to Gruden’s jab about the read option.

There’s isn’t much that Glennon does let get to him. He will watch the first round of the draft on Thursday from his family beach house in Ocean City, Md. He’s going to play golf during the day and then “hope my name will be called at night,” he said.

“Expect the worst and hope for the best,” Glennon said. “Ultimately, I want the best fit for the longevity of my career.”

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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