Week Four Rookie Review

Mike Glennon of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

By: Shasky Clarke

Quarterbacks

E.J. Manuel, Buffalo: 10/22 167 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 2 sacks

Once again, Manuel’s numbers were poor. The big young quarterback is raw both maneuvering the pocket and making decisions. Although he overthrew an open Stevie Johnson for what would’ve been a sure score against blown Ravens cover two coverage, his accuracy continues to be pretty good.

Geno Smith, New York Jets: 23/34 289 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 5 sacks, 2 lost fumbles

Smith had a relatively disaster day on Sunday, turning the ball over four times, sometimes in embarrassing ways. He has been inconsistent handling pressure and has been all too willing to put the ball in harm’s way.

But to put things in perspective, the rookie completed more than 67% of his passes and enjoyed 8.5 yards per pass attempt against a pretty good Tennessee defense. Smith also lost his top two receivers, losing Stephen Hill to a concussion very early on as well as Santonio Holmes to a hamstring.

Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay: 24/43 193 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 2 sacks, 1 lost fumble

Glennon’s first start was indicative of what he is – hit and miss. Glennon was hot and cold at various points in the game. His biggest issue was anticipating and reacting to Arizona’s relentlessly blitzing pass rush.

Tampa Bay’s offensive line struggled to pick up pressures and, though Glennon mostly showed good poise, standing tall in the pocket, the pressure really impacted his ability to move the ball consistently.

Defensive Rookie of the Year Race

Inside Linebacker Kiko Alonso, Buffalo:

The high energy, playmaking Alonso is shocking the league with his substantial early impact. But it should not come as a surprise. He had a whopping six interceptions and 21 tackles for loss as a two-year starter at Oregon.

After his two interception day against Baltimore, he now has intercepted at least one pass in each of the last three weeks bringing him to four interceptions on the year.

Defensive Lineman Sheldon Richardson, New York Jets:

The Jets rookie interior lineman is an elite athlete with the elite performance to match. He is a disruptive force against the run and a guy capable of being a dangerous interior rusher. He has racked up 1.5 sacks and has already been the best player on one of the top few defenses in the league.

Earning More Time

Running Back Andre Ellington, Arizona: 4 carries, 29 yards, 7.3, 3 catches

Veteran starter Rashard Mendenhall had a tough day on Sunday versus Tampa Bay. Ellington himself dropped a ball or two. But he remains a versatile weapon capable of consistently being an efficiently explosive runner as well as splitting out wide on many occasions. He was great at Clemson and could and should be the lead guy in the Arizona backfield.

Other Standouts

Center Travis Frederick, Dallas:

Better. Frederick lacks great quickness and athleticism but he has elite size and is smart and skilled.

Cornerback David Amerson, Washington:

Amerson’s 45 yard interception return touchdown turned the Raider game around. He was a terrific playmaker at North Carolina State and was probably a steal for the Redskins in the second round.

He flashed his speed and excellent break on the ball, closing and capitalizing on Raider quarterback Matt Flynn’s lack of zip on a short pass across the field.

Struggles

Safety Matt Elam, Baltimore: Had a tough sequence where he first blew deep zone coverage, fortunately escaping a touchdown because of an inaccurate Bills E.J. Manuel pass. He then was beaten in man coverage against tight end Scott Chandler on an intermediate route. Finally, Elam whiffed on a tackle on running back Fred Jackson, leading to a 16 yard touchdown.

Chicago right tackle Jordan Mills vs. Detroit defensive ends Willie Young and Israel Idonije

Bears fifth round pick Jordan Mills has been part of a much-improved Chicago offensive line thus far. But he had his worst game on Sunday versus the combination of Willie Young and Israel Idonije.

The two of them made life difficult at certain points for Mills and the Bears offense. The duo of right guard Kyle Long and right tackle Mills looks capable going forward. But opposing defenses will surely see them, as well as center Roberto Garza, as the potential weak point of the offense.

Safeties John Cyprien and Josh Evans, Jacksonville

If the Jaguars are hoping Cyprien and Evans are going to be a future centerpiece of their defense, Sunday, and the 2013 season overall, give no indication that it will be positive.

Cyprien, lacking great athleticism, has struggled both in coverage and making open field tackles consistently. Evans was enthusiastic energy-wise early in the Colts game but was also a liability.