When Mike Glennon was asked if he’s now embroiled in a competition for the starting quarterback job, he didn’t hesitate. He didn’t ponder the question for a few moments and deliver a vague, locker room friendly response. You know, something like “Everybody is out here competing for their job every day. Quarterback is no different.”
Glennon didn’t do that. He looked forward and somewhat defiantly said, “No.”
Is Mike Glennon good at playing quarterback? No. But he’s not stupid. Hell, I don’t know the guy, he may very well be stupid, but he’s not oblivious to what’s happening around him. The only argument for keeping Mitch Trubisky on the bench was the sort of unprovable “he’s not ready”. That argument died yesterday. By giving Trubisky time with the ones in practice and announcing he’ll play with them again Sunday, John Fox made it abundantly clear he believes Trubisky is ready to play in the NFL. Coaches value practice reps the way the narrator of Looking Glass’ Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) valued the sea. “Brandy,” that man says, “You’re a fine girl. What a good wife you would be. But my life, my love and my lady is the sea.”
Coaches don’t go handing out first-team reps to projects. They are the single most important evaluative element of the off-season.
Trubisky: “I’ve showed them what I can do. I think I’ve progressed faster than they expected I would, but I’ve still got a long ways to go.”
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) August 23, 2017
Listen, these were never going to be navigable waters for Glennon. The talent gap between he and Trubisky is simply too wide. Glennon’s best hope to hold down the starting job for 2017 season required several factors. He needed to perform well in practice. (He hasn’t.) He needed to move the offense well in the preseason. (Not even close.) Subsequently he needed to let a notoriously conservative head coach take a conservative route with his rookie quarterback by providing a stable option at the top of the depth chart. (Nope.)
There was no giddy-up in this 2017 Chicago Bears season. There was no reason to believe this year’s model would be a significant improvement over 2016’s clanky, too-often-in-the-shop lemon. Then, in the first preseason game, a normally useless affair, the sun rose over a dark night sky. The narrative changed in an instant. There it was. There was the future. And that future was – dare we believe what are our eyes doth see – bright.
Last night the organization that drafted Mitch Trubisky went out of their way to shield their fans from that big, beautiful sun. Darkness returned. Mitch Trubisky didn’t get time with the first-string offense. Mitch Trubisky didn’t get time with the second-string offense. Mitch Trubisky was buried on the depth chart – behind two quarterbacks he’s infinitely better than – in a decision that was equal parts inane, irresponsible and indefensible.
Leaving Bruno Mars w/ one question for #Bears. Why did you want to see let less Trubisky instead of more Trubisky???
— Silvy (@WaddleandSilvy) August 20, 2017
Dear Ryan Pace,
How much more do you need to see?
He hasn’t been any good in the games he’s played in the NFL. He hasn’t been any good in camp practices for the Bears. He hasn’t been any good in the two preseason games he’s started. When do you expect he’s going to suddenly become good? Is it going to happen between now and the start of the season? That’s not much time, Ry.
You had to see what we all saw last night. A running game getting bulk yardage and an offensive line dominating the line of scrimmage. Only one thing was missing. A capable quarterback. And you made the boldest move of the NFL Draft to acquire one! What the hell are you waiting for?
I know, I know you gave Glennon a boatload of cash. That was silly. But you’re in the clear on that now. Trubisky has given you a mulligan. There won’t be a single newspaper column criticizing you for making this move. You know why? Because nobody wants to see Glennon play a single snap for this franchise.
Trust your eyes. Glennon is awful. Make the move.
Remember when people were calling for Ryan Pace to be fired?
Sure you do, it wasn’t that long ago.
He was stupid for taking a quarterback with just 13 collegiate starts, a D-II tight end, a safety with a rod in his leg and a tiny and a small running back from a small school. Guys like Matt Miller and Jason La Canfora quoted made-up sources saying Pace was SURELY going to be fired.
Said a high-level executive, “(Ryan Pace) just got fired with this draft.”
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 30, 2017
It’s early, of course, but two weeks into preseason, Pace is the unquestioned winner of Bears training camp.
Adam Hoge and Adam Jahns brought the topic up on their podcast last week. Who is the winner of training camp? Jahns named UDFA and 2017 Joe Anderson Boner Award winner Tanner Gentry. Hoge raved about rookies such as Adam Shaheen, Tarik Cohen, Eddie Jackson and, of course, Mitch Trubisky. Neither Hoge nor Jahns was wrong. Those guys all look legitimate. But one guy is responsible for all those individuals being in camp, in Bears uniforms. That’s Pace.
It’s funny how much a narrative can change once football players, you know, play football.
For those who have frequented this site over the last decade plus, you understand a few things about how I treat training camp and the preseason. The basics:
This training camp is different. This preseason is different. Because all eyes will be on one player: Mitch Trubisky.
An argument could be made that the Bears fan has never, not one time in the team’s history, been through this process. Since 1951 the Bears have selected four quarterbacks in the first round. The Jims (McMahon and Harbaugh) were of a different time; the level of scrutiny they faced before playing actual games was minimal. Cade McNown was handed the starting quarterback job as a rookie. Rex Grossman was never going to play as a rookie, with that message stated by the organization repeatedly post-draft.
Mitch Trubisky is better than Mike Glennon. Right now. Today. He is the better quarterback. The Bears know this. And while you will hear all the normal platitudes about patience and development and bringing the kid up to the speed of the professional game (including Trubisky pledging allegiance to the backup role) there isn’t a person associated with the Chicago Bears who isn’t rooting for Trubisky to blow them away this summer and make it impossible to keep him on the bench come September.
That would go for any rookie quarterback. But it goes double for a guy drafted in such a bold, unpredictable manner. If reports start emanating from Bourbonnais that Trubisky is the superior performer and if he looks the part once the fake games start, a tsunami of fan support will overwhelm Halas Hall. Bears fans are an impatient lot but they see the right pieces forming up and down the roster under Ryan Pace. The calls to Waddle & Silvy and The Score will be relentless and passionate.
Just ask yourself this: are you willing to sit and watch the Bears slog their way to 6 or 7 wins under Glennon while the better player holds a clipboard?
Promises be damned.
The Bears need to start their best quarterback in 2017.
Early indications are it is not Mike Glennon.
Beat reporters aren’t allowed to report who played well and who didn’t during organized team activities and minicamp practices but they’ve had a hard time hiding the fact that Glennon has struggled. And almost unanimously, they’ve “hinted” Trubisky looks like he belongs. If that continues to be the case, the Bears shouldn’t bother wasting time with Glennon.
Although he has 18 starts under his belt, Glennon isn’t exactly a known commodity. He showed promise as a rookie — at least in terms of being able to protect the ball — but regressed in his second year. The hope was that he improved under the tutelage of Dirk Koetter, but the Bears haven’t seen that yet. They shouldn’t wait.
The biggest knock on Trubisky was a lack of experience. He can’t fix that by sitting on the bench and watching Glennon struggle. Trubisky has the size to hold up to the physicality of the NFL and the ability to play right away. If he’s able to grasp the playbooks and adjust to the speed of the action, there really isn’t a good reason not to throw him in.
Many figured Houston would not be part of the Bears plans in 2017. Patrick Finley opines otherwise in the Sun-Times:
The Bears think Houston still can be a pass-rushing threat three seasons after then-general manager Phil Emery signed him to a five-year, $35 million contract. They signaled that by not signing or drafting any significant outside linebackers this offseason.
After rehabbing in New York during the offseason, Houston has participated in OTAs. He said his recovery is on schedule, though he hesitated to predict when he would be at full strength.
‘‘All you can do is work day by day and try to get better,’’ he said. ‘‘I work to be impactful, and I work to be the best at what I do.’’
Outside linebacker Willie Young, for one, can’t imagine how he would have handled tearing both his ACLs in a span of three seasons.
As the Chicago Bears go through OTAs this week, much of the focus is on Mike Glennon’s feelings. But the reality of the situation is this: Glennon needs to play well for himself more than the Bears need him to play well.
Right after the Bears traded up for Mitch Trubisky, some of Chicago’s most prominent media members focused on how the team’s presumed starter not being happy could have a negative impact on the Bears 2017 season. The problem with that logic is that it ignores what kind of impact Glennon playing poorly and pouting will have on his own career. Regardless of who else is on the Bears’ roster, this is Glennon’s big audition. He needs to play well and be professional or he’ll never get another chance. He knows this. If he doesn’t, he’ll spend the season on the bench.
The base case scenario for Glennon is that Trubisky is every bit the player the Bears think he is but John Fox chooses to stick with the veteran. Glennon then puts together a productive season and the Bears move him to a contender for a high draft pick.
Sure, there’s plenty of football to be discussed and dissected over the next eight months. But the future of the Chicago Bears rests on the development and performance of one Mitch “Friends Call Me Mitchell” Trubisky. That’s it. That’s the story moving forward.
Here are the probable scenarios at quarterback for the coming season.
Seriously, who cares? Rich Campbell makes the argument in Monday’s Tribune that the Bears must repair their relationship with the recently-signed QB before the start of the 2017 season. But Thursday night was a concrete, definitive statement from Ryan Pace: Glennon, you’re not the guy. (Thank God)
And I don’t care what Pace and Fox say about Glennon being the starting quarterback. They both know the ideal scenario is Mitch Trubisky winning this job in OTAs and over the summer and making it impossible to keep him off the field. That validates the pick and means the future of the franchise starts now.
My favorite pick …
Make it two: tight end Adam Shaheen and running back Tarik Cohen. Both players face major jumps in competition after playing at small schools. It has seemingly been forgotten that the Bears did have needs on offense. They ranked 28th in scoring last year. They needed more firepower.