FanPost

The Mind of a Bears QB

Mike Glennon has received quite a bit of criticism lately and not all of it is out of line. Glennon is slow and he has a slower release. Those qualities alone limit exactly how much of a difference maker Glennon can be. But for all the vitriol currently surrounding the embattled QB there is hope for an ascension. You'll read some baseline information and then get a bigger picture afterwards.

Mike Glennon was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL draft (73rd overall). He was the 3rd quarterback taken behind EJ Manuel and Geno Smith (what a year!) He ended up winning the starting job over Josh Freeman. He's listed at 6'7, had a 4.94 40 time, 7.49 cone, and a Wonderlic score of 26 (equivalent to the average score of an Electronics Technician). For Reference, Trubisky had a Trubisky is listed at 6'2 witha 4.67 40, 6.87 3 cone, and a Wonderlic score of 25 (equivalent to the average score of a Salesperson). Some wonderlick scores for reference...

(I'll post a more complete list below)

There are a few notable QB's with low scores but good ones are more rare when looking at the full list. (Rothlisberger 25, Pennington 25, Favre 22, Culpepper 18, Testaverde 17, Bradshaw 15 (where's Rob Riggle when you need him?), Marino 16, McNair 15, McNabb 14)

As you can see, the wonderlic for both Trubisky and Glennon is below other players who have had success. The wonderlic, while not perfect, does give a general idea of IQ. For some positions that is more important than others. For the quarterback position it is relatively important. Obviously it isn't the only factor as one needs the physical skills to be able to actually throw the right passes once they are identified. Blaine Gabbert scored a 42. Tom Brady scored a 33. Peyton Manning scored a 28 (equivalent to the average accountant or reporter). Jay Cutler was a 26.

One main criticism of Glennon is that he locks on. Splitting a hair, it seems he more often progresses slowly. Most likely, the wonderlic score correlates with this. What you are looking at is IQ. If you were talking about a computer, you would be discussing the processor. There are other factors that make a computer's intelligence (RAM, hard drive space, etc.) While science has discovered people can memorize and shift responsibility to the basal ganglia (for habits) to help people with training process information faster, IQ remains the same (or decreases with brain damage). Jay Cutler, also accused of locking on, had the same wonderlic score as Glennon.

When people talk about a player needing "practice" they are talking about training the basal ganglia. This is important because the IQ part of the brain (generaly the frontal cortex) can only process so much information at once. Having habits developed in the basal ganglia frees the frontal cortex. This would be equivalent to using a GPU instead of CPU for some processing (often seen in bitcoin mining). When you hear about players playing fast and not having to think, you are talking about the Basal Ganglia taking over. It's located at the base of the spine so the neural signals don't have to travel as far and it's quicker as a result.

The Basal Ganglia giveth but also taketh away. As much as you can offload good habits to it, it can also pick up bad habits. Once this area of the brain learns, it is difficult to unlearn (as anyone who has tried to break a bad habit can tell you). It doesn't help to necessarily start before the good habits are well solidified. You can ask Glennon, who started week 4 of his rookie year, about his habit of not moving past his receivers quickly. The basal ganglia is also located close to the emotional centers of the brain and tends not too work as well when feeling strong emotions.

Players also have the advantage of a pre-snap read. IQ doesn't have too much to do with this because it happens at a slower pace. IQ is very important after the snap because there is a time crunch. The more mental work that can be done prior to the snap the less work, needs to be done after the snap. As I mentioned, Manning scored a 28 which isn't dumb but also isn't on the high end. Manning was great pre-snap and that helped make up for a somewhat deficient IQ as far as quarterbacks are concerned. This may be more akin to having great spreadsheets saved in the hard drive. Playing experience tends to help this but it can also be learned from the sidelines looking at shots. Another way this can help is to read the field in halves, eliminate one half of the field pre-snap (or certain players in the progression), and then you need to only look at half the field.

You should have a general understanding then of why IQ is important for an NFL QB along with ways. As you can see, there are ways to overcome a relatively lower IQ from the QB position.

Another thing to keep in mind is that NFL offenses generally have a progression one goes through. It's another way to cut down on thinking. They are generally instructed to just read "NO" and to hit a throw they think is open as soon as they see it (not even looking at other routes). The reason they do this is because you can't go back to it. You can't say 1. is a no, 2 is a maybe but 3 might be bigger, 3 is a no... let's go back to 2. It won't work.

I should also point out that, unless a player is able to clear their mind in big moments, a low wonderlic score could mean choking in big moments (as tended to happen with Jay Cutler). The extra "thinking" going on in these big moments means all the information they need to process is held up as other things are processing. Think about running an antivirus scan in the background as you try to use your computer... not a great experience right? We may have seen this effect Glennon the entirety of the last game as he played his former team.

This brings me back to where Glennon and Trubisky are at this moment, and what is best for them.

Mike Glennon would benefit quite a bit from getting it in his Basal Ganglia that "maybe"="no". He gets these reads that are not a clear "NO" and that is where he has trouble. This means if he does look off, his throw is late. It means if he doesn't look off... HIS THROW IS LATE. Either way, it proves to be way too much for him to process when it's a close call. He just doesn't have a high enough IQ. If this results in more throw-aways or dump offs (I know people will groan) then so be it. He'll be a much better quarterback if he can get more automatic with those "gray area" reads and just say NO! He needs to move reading "open" to the basal ganglia. In truth, it probably will not result in more throw aways or dump offs as people have pointed out wide open receivers he missed while tossing to those "kinda" open routes.

Complicating the matter is this being a new offense for Glennon, Trubisky cutting into his reps, receivers changing on him week to week... and his foot speed. In other words, less is being offloaded to other areas of his brain. Plus, he can't buy time to process things. This is another reason you see him struggle in a "dirty" pocket... it's more to process in his brain... and he lacks the ability to buy time. It probably doesn't help that he's feeling extra pressure from Trubisky.

Moving on to Trubisky, who seems to have a slightly lower IQ. Trubisky did great in the first preseason game. He also really didn't show great progress from where he was in college. His success under center came with designed rollouts which cut the field/read in half. The rest was from a shotgun, and had mechanics he already had stored in his basil ganglia in college. You might think he read the field well but he went against a vanilla defense (which requires less processing). He was challenged more in the third preseason games... he saw a few straight drop backs. He saw more confusing overages and pre-snap reads. He tripped over his own feet. he threw the ball into the hands of the other team. He was letting the play clock expire. He wasn't calling out the mike. It gave a more accurate representation of where he would be if he started a regular season game.

It also shows the wisdom of the current path for Mitchell Trubisky. The more he can offload some of the though process to the basal ganglia. Namely, his footwork on those drop backs seem like they would be helpful to him. he can get more used to calling out the protections and looking at what he can figure out pre-snap looking at the plays Glennon is running. He can learn from Glennon's mistakes. Trubisky does benefit from the ability to buy time to process with his legs (many of the lower wonderlic score QB's had decent mobility). That said, one does not want him to have the habit of taking off prematurely as other running quarterbacks have done (stunting their development).

I would also say that both quarterbacks would benefit from emotional awareness training to help clear out any clutter they may experience from emotional moments. They just don't have a good enough IQ to overcome the extra thought processes.

As is, both quarterbacks have a great opportunity to ascend. Mike Glennon probably needs to meditate and focus on seeing "maybe" as "no". Trubisky needs more time to develop these areas of his brain that will help him process things more smoothly once he plays. He is probably as frustrated as everyone else but the mind grows at its own pace (just like muscles). It's a biological process.

The fact of the matter is, IQ is functionally every bit of a limit as someone's speed. IQ doesn't get faster. It is a limitation one must work around.

*Please note that this is written knowing that the wonderlic has its shortcomings. I personally would love to see players' minds tested more thoroughly with various better instruments that have been developed over the years.

Ryan Fitzpatrick 48 QB
Greg McElroy 48 QB
Jason Maas 43 QB
Blaine Gabbert 42 QB
Drew Henson 42 QB
Ryan Nassib 41 QB
Bruce Eugene 41 QB
Hugh Millen 41 QB
Carson Wentz 40 QB
Alex Smith 40 QB
Darrell Hackney 40 QB
Jeff Matthews 40 QB
Sean Mannion 40 QB
Eli Manning 39 QB
Todd Husak 39 QB
Brian Griese 39 QB
Matthew Stafford 38 QB
Colin Kaepernick 38 QB
Matt Flynn 38 QB
Omar Jacobs 38 QB
Charlie Frye 38 QB
Craig Crenzel 38 QB
Scott Frost 38 QB
Kevin Hogan 38 QB
Scott Tolzien 38 QB
Akili Smith 37 QB
Tony Romo 37 QB
Andrew Luck 37 QB
Travis Lulay 37 QB
Marques Hagans 37 QB
Chuck Hartlieb 37 QB
Jared Goff 36 QB
Sam Bradford 36 QB
Justin Holland 36 QB
Drew Bledsoe 36 QB
Jason Garrett 36 QB
Anthony Dilweg 36 QB
Jared Zabransky 36 QB
Aaron Rodgers 35 QB
Matt Leinart 35 QB
Christian Ponder 35 QB
Kellen Clemens 35 QB
Wes Pate 35 QB
Zak Kustok 35 QB
JT O'Sullivan 35 QB
Ryan lindley 35 QB
Travis Brown 35 QB
John Dutton 35 QB
Steve From 35 QB
Drew Stanton 35 QB
Craig Ochs 34 QB
Sam Keller 34 QB
Cory Pyles 34 QB
Ryan Tannehill 34 QB
Brad Kaaya 34 QB
Tom Brady 33 QB
Nathan Peterman 33 QB
Charlie Whitehurst 33 QB
Josh Betts 33 QB
Justin Fuente 33 QB
Mike Elkins 33 QB
Steve Young 33 QB
Marcus Mariota 33 QB
Kirk Cousins 33 QB
Johnny Manziel 32 QB
Matt Ryan 32 QB
Girbran Hamdan 32 QB
Joey Jarrington 32 QB
Patrick Ramsey 32 QB
Jesse Palmer 32 QB
Sage Rosenfels 32 QB
Walter Church 32 QB
Giovanni Carmazza 32 QB
Sam Keenan 32 QB
Kevin Daft 32 QB
Brian Brohm 32 QB
Josh Woodrum 32 QB
Matt Schaub 31 QB
Andrew Walton 31 QB
JP Losman 31 QB
Dave Ragone 31 QB
Kliff Kingsbury 31 QB
Greg Noll 31 QB
Justin Coleman 31 QB
Todd Bandhauer 31 QB
Cody Fajardo 31 QB
Rick Mirer 31 QB
Trent Edwards 31 QB
Connor Halliday 31 QB
Bryce Petty 31 QB
Quincy Carter 30 QB
Phillip Rivers 30 QB
Ricky Stanzi 30 QB
Ingle Martin 30 QB
Josh Haldi 30 QB
Stefan Lefors 30 QB
Trevor Knight 30 QB
Gino Guigudli 30 QB
Matt Mauck 30 QB
Scott Rislov 30 QB
Daniel Cobb 30 QB
Josh Mccown 30 QB
Darnell Kennedy 30 QB
Matt Barkley 30 QB
Josh Siple 30 QB
Bill Burke 30 QB
David Klingler 30 QB
John Beck 30 QB
Zach Mettenberger 30 QB
Troy Aikman 29 QB
Brady Quinn 29 QB
John Elway 29 QB
Andy Dalton 29 QB
Rex Grossman 29 QB
Chris Weinke 29 QB
Marc Bulger 29 QB
Jeff Driskel 29 QB
Nick Foles 29 QB
Josh Dobbs 29 QB
Brian Cook Click 29 QB
Matt Hasselbeck 29 QB
Bill Musgrave 29 QB
Dennis Dixon 29 QB
Jimmy Garoppolo 29 QB
Logan Thomas 29 QB
Keith Wenning 29 QB
Tom Savage 29 QB
Aaron Murray 29 QB
Blake Bortles 28 QB
Mark Sanchez 28 QB
Juston Wood 28 QB
Brooks Bollinger 28 QB
Seth Burford 28 QB
George Godsey 28 QB
Drew Brees 28 QB
Caitlin Down 28 QB
Peyton Manning 28 QB
Kevin Kolb 28 QB
Matt Gutierrez 28 QB
Deshone Kizer 28 QB
EJ Manuel 28 QB
Russell Wilson 28 QB
Nate Sudfeld 28 QB
Landry Jones 28 QB
Josh Freeman 27 QB
Joe Flacco 27 QB
Dustin Long 27 QB
Kyle Boller 27 QB
Brian St. Pierre 27 QB
Kirk Farmer 27 QB
Jason Guesser 27 QB
Brandon Dillman 27 QB
Jameis Winston 27 QB
Jonathan Smith 27 QB
Aaron Smith 27 QB
Mike McMahon 27 QB
David Rivers 27 QB
Josh Booty 27 QB
Tim Mckay 27 QB
Chris Greeson 27 QB
Ryan Leaf 27 QB
Kelly Stouffer 27 QB
Rich Gannon 27 QB
Alex Brink 27 QB
Brandon Weeden 27 QB
Carson Palmer 26 QB
Jay Cutler 26 QB
Kyle Orton 26 QB
C.J. Beathard 26 QB
Ryan Mallett 26 QB
Dan Orlovsky 26 QB
Brett Hundley 26 QB
Adrian Mcpherson 26 QB
Kellen Moore 26 QB
Jason White 26 QB
Timmy Chang 26 QB
Jason Fife 26 QB
Jared Lorenzen 26 QB
Major Applewhite 26 QB
Tim Lester 26 QB
Akili Smith 26 QB
Rodney Peete 26 QB
Mike Glennon 26 QB
Ben Roethlisberger 25 QB
Chad Pennington 25 QB
Colt McCoy 25 QB
Cardale Jones 25 QB
Shane Carden 25 QB
Ben Dougherty 25 QB
Casey Bramlett 25 QB
Bradley Van Pelt 25 QB
Byron Leftwich 25 QB
Ken Dorsey 25 QB
Dak Prescott 25 QB
David Neal 25 QB
Randy Fasani 25 QB
Davis Webb 25 QB
Mitchell Trubisky 25 QB
Shaun Hill 25 QB
Connor Cook 25 QB
Brock Osweiler 25 QB
Shane Griggs 25 QB
Josh Harris 25 QB
Spurgeon Wynn 25 QB
Brock Huard 25 QB
Joe Jermaine 25 QB
Shaun King 25 QB
JaMarcus Russell 24 QB
Jacoby Brissett 24 QB
Tyler Bray 24 QB
Geno Smith 24 QB
Brad Smith 24 QB
Brodie Croyle 24 QB
Chris Ricks 24 QB
Luke Mccown 24 QB
John Navarre 24 QB
Zac Dysert 24 QB
Josh Blankenship 24 QB
Eric Crouch 24 QB
David Carr 24 QB
Scott Mitchell 24 QB
Christian Hackenberg 24 QB
Patrick Mahomes 24 QB
Marquis Tuiasasopo 24 QB
Billy Joe Tolliver 24 QB
Kevin O'Connell 24 QB
Josh Johnson 24 QB
Colt Brennan 24 QB
John Skelton 24 QB
Robert Griffin III 24 QB
Jimmy Clausen 23 QB
Jason Campbell 23 QB
Jeff Smoker 23 QB
Robert Kent 23 QB
Dave Bryant 23 QB
Greg Zalman 23 QB
Tim Hasselbeck 23 QB
Jordan Palmer 23 QB
Justin Rascati 23 QB
Graham Harrell 23 QB
Jason Thomas 23 QB
Connor Shaw 23 QB
Tim Tebow 22 QB
Brett Farve 22 QB
Mark Brunell 22 QB
Trent Dilfer 22 QB
Matt Scott 22 QB
Chad Henne 22 QB
BJ Simons 22 QB
Scott Mcmullen 22 QB
Chris Simms 22 QB
Chad Kelly 22 QB
Ronald Curry 22 QB
Ben Leard 22 QB
Bart Hendricks 22 QB
Chris Chaloupka 22 QB
Gramley 22 QB
Tim Couch 22 QB
Mike Took 22 QB
Mark Brunel 22 QB
Brett Favre 22 QB
Chris Miller 22 QB
Erik Ainge 22 QB
Jevan Snead 22 QB
AJ McCarron 22 QB
Cam Newton 21 QB
Retton Mitchell 21 QB
Mark Garcia 21 QB
Scott Covington 21 QB
Don Makowski 21 QB
Jeff Rowe 21 QB
Tyler Thigpen 21 QB
Jerod Evans 21 QB
Deshaun Watson 20 QB
Teddy Bridgewater 20 QB
Jake Locker 20 QB
Derek Carr 20 QB
Cody Pickett 20 QB
Tyler Wilson 20 QB
Andrew Hall 20 QB
Casey Clausen 20 QB
Ryan Little 20 QB
John Welsh 20 QB
Michael Vick 20 QB
Dylan Smith 20 QB
Richart Casey 20 QB
Jonathan Beasley 20 QB
Scott Tries Back 20 QB
Luke Getsy 20 QB
Andre' Woodson 20 QB
Garrett Grayson 20 QB
Anthony Boone 20 QB
Reggie Mcneal 19 QB
Bruce Gradkowski 19 QB
Tarvaris Jackson 19 QB
DJ Shockley 19 QB
Derek Anderson 19 QB
Matt Jones 19 QB
Brian Randall 19 QB
Jared Allen 19 QB
AJ Feeley 19 QB
Daunte Culpepper 18 QB
Eric Meyer 18 QB
Cleo Lemon 18 QB
Jarius Jackson 18 QB
Joe Hamilton 18 QB
Kevin Frederick 18 QB
Tyler Palko 18 QB
Paxton Lynch 18 QB
Rod Rutherford 17 QB
Antwaan Randle El 17 QB
Rohan Davey 17 QB
Woodrow Dantzler 17 QB
Aaron Brooks 17 QB
Jeff Blake 17 QB
Vinny Testaverde 17 QB
Terry Bradshaw 16 QB
Kent Smith 16 QB
Dante Kanner 16 QB
Chris Redman 16 QB
Anthony Wright 16 QB
Heath Shuler 16 QB
Dan Marino 16 QB
Elvis Grbac 16 QB
Randall Cunningham 15 QB
Jim Kelly 15 QB
Vince Young 15 QB
Jim Sorgi 15 QB
Steve Mcnair 15 QB
Terry Bradshaw 15 QB
Troy Smith 15 QB
David Garrard 14 QB
Seneca Wallace 14 QB
Wayne Madkin 14 QB
Ortega Jenkins 14 QB
Donovan Mcnabb 14 QB
John David Booty 14 QB
Charlie Batch 14 QB
Kordell Stewart 14 QB
Rasheed Marshall 13 QB
Brock Berlin 13 QB
Brad Banks 13 QB
Neil O'Donnell 13 QB
Ted White 12 QB
Tobi Karrode 12 QB
Marcus Smith 11 QB
Ell Robertson 11 QB
Romario Miller 11 QB
Tee Martin 11 QB
Michael Bishop 10 QB
Jeff George 10 QB
Chris Leak 8 QB
Vince Evans 8 QB
Terrelle Pryor 7 QB
Vince Young 6 QB
Oscar Davenport 6 QB

This Fanpost was written by a Windy City Gridiron member and does not necessarily reflect the ideas or opinions of its staff or community.