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:
- Nothing reported from camp practice is important because no team is going to show their fans / media anything relevant. The NFL has become the most secretive league in sports. Teams aren’t going display even an ounce of actual strategy while some rival scout sits with the public in the stands (which happens often).
- Preseason game reps are the most overrated thing in football. Whether fans want to believe it or not, most franchises know about 45 of their final 53-man roster before the first preseason game is kicked off. The guys who can make an impact and grab those final 8 slots are going to make that impact on the practice field, not in preseason games. (The practice field fans and media DON’T see, where the actual playbook is used.)
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?
And what about John Fox’s role in this whole soap opera? Fox knows starting a rookie quarterback comes with growing pains and the chances of a winning season are low. But would he rather risk keeping his gig moving forward by betting on the right arm of Glennon? Doesn’t he have a far better chance of being the head coach in 2018 if Trubisky starts day one and improves over the sixteen-game 2017 campaign?
Prepare yourselves, Bears fans. For over the next two months you will hear about every Trubisky botched snap, every Trubisky deep completion, every Trubisky everything. Every local newspaper writer will have a different take on every practice session. The amount of Trubisky information will be overwhelming.
And unlike the camps and fake games of yesteryear, it all matters.