The Carolina Panthers defense has thrived against traditional, pocket passers this season, but has not fared as well against mobile quarterbacks Russell Wilson and EJ Manuel.
The Panthers not only will face a pocket passer in Thursday nights game at Tampa Bay, but also a rookie pocket passer, at that. They hope to make former N.C. State quarterback Mike Glennons prime-time debut a miserable night.
Hes a good quarterback. Hes still a rookie, though, defensive end Charles Johnson said Tuesday. Were going to try to make him make bad decisions, disguise a little bit. Stop the run and get after him up front.
The Panthers (3-3) have the leagues third-ranked defense, and are fifth against the pass. But they had their hands full the first two weeks with Wilson and Manuel, mobile quarterbacks who led Seattle and Buffalo to victories against Carolina by avoiding sacks and keeping plays alive.
Wilson threw for 320 yards and the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter of Seattles 12-7 victory in Week 1. He was sacked twice.
The following week Manuel threw for 320 yards and was sacked once in Buffalos 24-23 win. Manuel, the rookie from Florida State, eluded defensive end Greg Hardy on the Bills game-winning drive, which Manuel capped with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Stevie Johnson with two seconds left.
But facing traditional drop-back passers in the past four games, the Panthers have averaged four sacks a game while allowing 114 fewer net passing yards a game than they did in the losses to Seattle and Buffalo.
Glennon, who measured just under 6-foot-7 at the Senior Bowl, has a strong arm and a good pocket presence. But mobility was never his strong suit at N.C. State.
Hes more of a one-dimensional guy, said Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly, who faced Glennon when he was at Boston College. Running is not necessarily what hes going to do the best. He can throw the ball all over the place, though. Itll be better for those (defensive linemen) because they dont have to worry about him running all over the place.
Since replacing Josh Freeman, who has since signed with Minnesota, Glennon has completed 76 passes in 130 attempts the most completions and attempts for a quarterback in his first three games in league history.
Glennon has been sacked seven times during that span, which isnt terrible considering how often the Bucs have been throwing.
Still, the Panthers like their front fours chances Thursday.
Those guys up front, they hunt. Thats what theyve been doing since Day 1, cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said. So if (Bucs wideouts) Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams want to do all those deep routes, they probably wont have time with our defensive line.
Tampa Bay second-year coach Greg Schiano is expecting the Panthers to come at Glennon from a number of angles.
Carolina has a very good pass rush out of their front four, they do mix in the pressure, its not like they dont do it at all, Schiano said. With a rookie quarterback, we fully expect to see a good mix of four-man, three-man and all-out as well. Mikes got to be prepared for everything, and weve got to protect our passer for sure.
With Doug Martin, the Bucs Pro Bowl running back, out indefinitely with a torn labrum, Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott could decide to be more aggressive in going after Glennon.
I like pocket passers more than I like a scrambler, free safety Mike Mitchell said. A guy like Cam (Newton) might roll out of the pocket and throw a dart and its a touchdown, whereas a pocket passer thats most likely going to be a sack. So its always tougher to play a scrambler. But this kids good. He is a rookie, but you have to respect him as an NFL football player.
Mitchell said Glennon has a strong arm and has done a nice job with blitz recognition. Mitchell said hes faced big quarterbacks before, but never one as tall as Glennon.
Six (feet), seven thats going to be crazy. ... Itll be funny to see what he looks like under center, said Mitchell, who doesnt anticipate any problems bringing the 225-pound Glennon down.
It doesnt really matter if hes 300 or 150 (pounds), 7 feet or 5-10, if you really want to, youll tackle him.
Person: 704-358-5123; Twitter: @josephperson
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email email@example.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less