Sunday will be a game with a quarterback still in his first full season as a starter while on the other side you have a quarterback who is in his rookie season and will be making his 11th career start this weekend. That is the scene as the San Francisco 49ers travel to Florida to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a crucial Week 15 game which will go a long way in determining where the 9-4 49ers stand in the NFC Playoff picture.
In a game with Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback in his first full season as a starting quarterback and Mike Glennon, the rookie making his 11th career start, the key will be the ability of both defenses to generate a consistent pass rush and get to the quarterback. Given that both the 49ers and Buccaneers are the worst passing offenses in terms of yards per game in the league, the chance to make an impact on defense by rushing the passer is totally doable. Yet looking at the recent performances of both quarterbacks, the 49ers’ defense appears to be the one that should have the easier time of getting to the quarterback.
Mike Glennon, despite throwing two touchdowns in a winning effort against the Bills, was 9-of-25 passing for 90 yards and also threw for two interceptions while being sacked once. He will be going up against a 49ers defense that did a very good job of pressuring and at times frustrating Russell Wilson in their Week 14 game against the Seattle Seahawks despite only recording one sack. With pass rushers like Aldon Smith, Ahmad Brooks and defensive linemen like Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, and Glenn Dorsey who can also pressure and get to the quarterback, the 49ers’ defense is well placed to be able to make Glennon commit a number of rookie quarterback mistakes.
As far as the Buccaneers’ defense is concerned, they come off a game where they sacked Buffalo Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel seven times in their Week 14 encounter. The Buccaneers’ defense has consistently been the best unit of this team even when they started the season 0-8, and a large part of that has been because of the play of linebacker Lavonte David who is second on the team in sacks with six just one behind defensive lineman Gerald McCoy who leads the team with seven. Their ability to pressure Kaepernick as well as their ability to prevent him from getting out of the pocket to make a play with his legs will factor heavily into whether or not the Buccaneers can slow down the 49ers on Sunday afternoon.