Figuring Out The Left Side

June 16th, 2014
Josh McCown did not put up great numbers throwing to his left last season.

Josh McCown did not put up great numbers throwing to his left last season.

The start of the NFL slumber has begun. For the next 5 1/2 weeks, NFL news will be scant because players are on vacation, coaches and general managers take time off, and it is not unusual for teams to shut down their operations for a week or so between now and when training camps open.

The numbers crunchers over at Pro Football Focus have been like squirrels preparing for winter and have stashed away various nuts to last through the annual NFL siesta: some of those nuts are quarterback statistical graffiti.

One thing Joe was curious about was throwing to the left side of the field. Joe has heard from NFL experts that backup quarterback Mike Glennon struggled throwing to his left. While the geeks don’t find that to be the case, Glennon’s numbers throwing to his left weren’t great, and Josh McCown’s were not strong, either.

McCown, per the nerds, completed 53.8 percent of his passes to his left for an accuracy rate of 67.6 percent and a measly 5.3 yards per attempt.

Glennon’s numbers were 51.3 completion percentage to his left with an accuracy rate of 61.1 percent for a paltry 4.6 yards per attempt.

You can’t say either quarterback was good throwing to his left, at least not from last year’s numbers (which was Glennon’s rookie season).

If those numbers don’t improve in preseason games, if Joe were a defensive coordinator for the Stinking Panthers, he would try to force McCown (Glennon?) to throw left and load up coverages on the Bucs’ center and right side of the field.

16 Responses to “Figuring Out The Left Side”

  1. OB Says:


    I am a little confused, how can you complete only 50 some per cent and be 60 some per cent accurate? Is the difference drops and breakups?

    If so, that is a big difference. Also was the yards just how far the pass was thrown beyond the line or is that also yards after the catch?

    Lastly, because we have over five weeks to fill, how many of the plays were designed to go to the left? If some of the passes were designed to go to a receiver of any kind at the line or just beyond so they could run, these should be thrown out by the squirrels. Give them some more nuts and get them re figuring.

    Keep up the good work

  2. biff barker Says:

    Surprised McCown’s numbers weren’t better given the very good receivers he had in Chicago.

  3. Greg Says:

    OK Ill state the obvious here since it was not in the story. Glennon never had a number 2 receiver or a 3 or a 4. I think Evans will help along with the free agent receivers we brought in. Should be a lot of fun if my playing Maddens with the new players is any indicator

  4. Bucnjim Says:

    It’s pretty tough for all right handers to roll or even slide to he left while throwing the ball. Favre was pretty good at it if I remember right. Brees is great at rolling to his right, but I’m not sure how well he does to his left. I would bet most left handed QB’s are better at throwing down the left side of the field.

  5. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    McCowns passing yards and lack of picks looked good because he kept throwing short, high percentage passes throughout most of his plays. It looks good on paper, but it wasn’t enough to win games consistently.

    Tampa fans memories are very short apparently. When we are third and six and we see passes for 4 yards with no yards after catch, it will all come back. One of the more frustrating things about Dungy ball (back then) was at the ball wasn’t thrown beyond the first down marker very much.

    That changed when Gruden came…briefly.

    One of my favorite WRs was Ike Hilliard. We always knew that if we needed a first down andthe ball was thrown his way, he would make the catch. He didn’t get many yards after catch though, so he had to be beyond the marker. Hardly ever had drops.

    As much as I hated MeShawn’s attitude, we always knew he would fight for a catch. He had more drops than Hilliard, but picks were hardly ever thrown his way. He was the kind of guy who would take hits if it meant making a catch, and if he could not catch it, he always tried to make sure it was not picked.

    We have no one like those two guys (so far). Jackson is a big play guy, but with Glennon he had a lot of incompletions or drops. We don’t really know what Evans will be yet, though in theory he compares to Jackson.

    We need a Mr. Reliable in the middle if you ask me. Like a Hilliard. Maybe one of the TEs or RBs can become that.

    Wright reminds me of Joey J. for some reason, though it is different positions.

  6. ToesOnTheLine Says:

    “Joe has heard from NFL experts that backup quarterback Mike Glennon struggled throwing to his left. While the geeks don’t find that to be the case…”

    Stats may not always tell the whole story, but they don’t lie either. Neither our starter as of now or our starter of the very very near future are statistically horrible at making a difficult throw for most right handed QB’s

  7. Joe Says:


    Think a target at shooting practice. That’s partially how the nerds determine accuracy.

  8. Mr. Patrick Says:

    It could be because The Bucs’ only good receiver was always lined up on the right side

  9. Brandon Says:

    Completion percentage and accuracy rating should be technically the same thing. I think Joe meant “QB Rating”.

  10. Brandon Says:

    It’s always harder to throw to the opposite handed side. In order to throw to the opposite side because the QB MUST reset their feet in that direction which is always a huge tip that the ball is going to that side whereas throwing in the middle and the right doesn’t necessarily require the QB to reset his feet.

  11. csidedave Says:

    To me it wasn’t how Glennon looked throwing to the left, it was how he looked when he was ROLLING to the left. Hopefully he is able to work on his footwork.

  12. Bobby Says:

    I’ve seen McCown and I believe in the long run Glennon is a better QB but I want Glennon to learn under McCown because I think he will emerge a better QB for it. Go back and watch the Chicago v Minnesota game from last year and you will see some real crap throws from McCown. I think he is more athletic than Glennon but Glennon has a much better arm. Just my observation. Wish we could just put McCown’s legs on Glennon’s body.

  13. fb Says:

    @Bucbonzai, while I agree with a lot of what you are saying, I think we as bucs fans are still ingrained with the stink of Dungy ball. Yes, the offense back then would not even throw to the first down marker. But in reality, I don’t think that is a fair gauge of an offense or QB. If the offense is a quick tempo short passing game like we seem to be expecting, I don’t care if the QB makes the pass 5 to 10 yards in the air, so long as he hits the target in his break with room to run. Get the ball in the playmakers hands. Sure a long bomb is fun to watch, but in reality the time needed to allow that play to develop is too long to make your money on when going against the top defenses you are likely to see in the playoffs. Kurt Warner was a master at the quick release 5 to 15 yards hitting a fast receiver/RB in stride that took it 20 more. The only defense to give him fits was Tampa, which was a championship defense at that time, with no offense at all. If you get the ball out quick, to the receiver at their break, you will negate the pass rush, and your quick passing game becomes an extension of the running game. Then when coverage breaks, you take the shot downfield. But not the other way around. If we could average 5 yards with a short passing game, I’ll take that all day long.

  14. kevin Says:

    Mccown was throwing to jeffrey on the left last year and I thought he did a pretty darn good job putting the ball in a position for alshon to make a play. I dont think the bears offense would have been ranked number 2 without the weeks mccown came in. Im not worried about our offense or defense. Im optomistic this will be a good year.

  15. owlykat Says:

    BucBozai, thanks for mentioning Ike Hilliard, the last great Slot Receiver for the Bucs. By the way, you will be interested to know that Jay Gruden must have thought so too because he hired Ike to be his WR Coach with the Redskins, and I wish him well. We need someone that good now. I believe that our kick returner from last year could be groomed to play there this year.

  16. owlykat Says:

    BucBonzai not Bucbozai! This tablet changes spelling.