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.)
Forget about holding down the starting gig for 2017. Glennon now has two quarters in Nashville to earn his way onto the field for the opener. If he struggles Sunday, as he has since signing his Bears contract, will it really matter what Trubisky does with the same talent over what could amount to three or four snaps? If Glennon struggles Sunday, how can the Bears coaches convince the other fifty-two other men on their regular season roster that he gives them their best chance to beat the defending NFC champions on September 10th?
And while many of us, myself included, will be fixated on Glennon’s performance Sunday, let’s not forget how unimportant it is for the long-term. If Glennon doesn’t struggle Sunday – which would be a surprise – he’ll certainly have a howler or two during the four-game September gauntlet featuring three 2016 playoff teams and the up-and-coming Bucs. And with Trubisky now sharing first-team reps, the Bears won’t let the season get away and risk playing to an empty building in October and November, while the future of the franchise watches from the sideline.
Trubisky is playing and playing soon. The future is coming. And it may be here as early as Monday morning.