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.
Hell, I doubted the Cohen pick myself, comparing it to the Garrett Wolfe selection several years ago. In attending one training camp practice, I knew he wasn’t Wolfe and against Denver last week Cohen looked downright special. Both Hoge and Jahns have raved about Shaheen being a potential cornerstone. Jackson should start this year and would’ve been a first-round pick if he worked out before the draft last spring. And Gentry just hasn’t done anything wrong yet, elevating up the depth chart with a legitimate shot to make the final 53.
But this draft is about Trubisky…
…and the first glimpse we got of him was nothing short of special. The “it’s only preseason” argument doesn’t matter because the kid from Ohio was throwing perfect passes. There is no defense for a perfect pass.
The talk of firing Pace was always stupid. He came out of the 2016 draft with the league’s second-leading rusher, a guy who is going to anchor the offensive line for the next decade and a player who certainly looks the part of a premier pass rusher. Now, it’s possible that Pace has added four more cornerstone players…including a franchise quarterback.
The Problem With Playing Mike Glennon
Last week’s preseason game showed a lot of what I saw on tape before the Bears signed Mike Glennon. There were four plays that stood out as reasons why the Bears will have a hard time winning with the “veteran”:
- His first pass of the game. He had Cam Meredith in the middle of the field, but his ball placement was terrible. The throw was high and behind Meredith, making him reach up and back, leaving his body exposed to a big hit.
- The interception. He was pressured and he crapped his pants. If Chris Harris didn’t get a pick-six there, Aqib Talib would have.
- He can’t be blamed for Whitehair’s bad snap, but that play should’ve never been a turnover. He had a great opportunity to jump on the ball, but just couldn’t bend down and get there. Most quarterbacks prevent that from being a turnover.
- Another pass to Meredith, this time it was a deep shot in which Meredith had a step on the defender. A halfway decent throw would’ve been a big gain, but he lofted the ball short and Meredith had to become a defensive back.
The problem with Glennon is that you need everybody else to be perfect. They have to run the ball, their line has to hold up and their receivers have to make difficult catches. If any of those things don’t happen, they won’t win.
Trubisky, however, can make his own offense. The rookie creates a margin for error for the other 10 guys on the field and the play caller. Don’t think the other guys on the team didn’t notice how well he played.
If Glennon isn’t significantly better this week, the Bears can’t justify sticking with him.
Glennon wasn’t even my most disappointing vet in the first preseason game. I knew he wasn’t any good. I thought Jaye Howard was. Now, I’m not so sure. He looked slow and out of shape. Perhaps he’s still coming back from injury, but I still expected more.
The Bears aren’t going to keep more than six defensive linemen. Howard is a good distance behind the three starters (Hicks, Goldman and Unrein) and looked much worse than Jon Bullard and CJ Wilson.
If the Bears keep a sixth defensive lineman, it’s more likely to be a young guy than a veteran who just might not have anything left in the tank.
I hope Howard can get into shape because if he can lay at the level he was at two years ago, the Bears front seven might be the best in the league.