METAIRIE, La. — Luckily for Sean Payton and the Saints coaching staff, they’ve seen enough of Tampa Bay quarterback Mike Glennon in viewing video of past opponents that they know what they’re facing.
Payton didn’t need to see this recent stretch of game tape to know that he likes Glennon. He knew before this past April’s NFL draft.
“He kind of battled a little bit of that prototype that he was almost too tall, which I think is not true,” Payton said Thursday. “I think when you watch his footwork and his athleticism he makes quick decisions and those are the things that we’ve seen on college tape. We saw his accuracy and his competitiveness.”
The Saints will face Glennon for the first time Sunday at 3:25 p.m. in a game New Orleans (10-5) must have if it wants to control its playoff destiny.
New Orleans faced Josh Freeman when the Saints won in Tampa in Week 2. Fourteen weeks later, Freeman is lost somewhere on the Vikings roster while Glennon has begun his ascent.
The Bucs (4-11) are 4-8 since Glennon took over and his eight interceptions are among the fewest in the NFL for quarterbacks who have played at least 60 percent of snaps this season. He has thrown for 2,389 yards and 17 touchdowns in 12 starts.
“I’ve experienced a lot over the course of the year,” Glennon said. “I’ve had my good moments. I’ve had my not so good moments. But though it all, I’ve just continued to learn a lot and just try to take something from every situation, whether the good or the bad, just try to learn from it and kind of just build.”
The good included nearly leading Tampa Bay to a win at Seattle, throwing for 168 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions in the cauldron of sound known as CenturyLink Field.
The bad included finishing with a quarterback rating of 73.5 while throwing an interception and no touchdowns in a 27-6 loss to Carolina.
From what the Saints are seeing, Glennon could be a handful.
“He stays in the pocket,” safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “He’ll take a hit and make the tough throw. He’s patient and doesn’t really force too many things. It’s definitely different than Freeman is. He’s not a scrambler. He doesn’t really extend a play with his legs much. But he makes good decisions and is patient.”
“He certainly is someone that looks very decisive,” Payton added. “He has a big arm. They have done a really good job complementing what they are doing offensively with their shot plays and their running game.”
The Saints will have to handle Glennon and receiver Vincent Jackson, who is 12th in the NFL with 1,189, without the services of safety Kenny Vaccaro after the rookie was lost for the season with a broken fibula.
Jenkins isn’t concerned.
“I think we still have the versatility and the guys to be able to do it and keep all our packages up,” Jenkins said.