The Bears have run out of excuses. Stop selling the silliness of Mike Glennon, NFL starting quarterback, and turn to rookie first-round pick Mitchell Trubisky, effective immediately.
At the beginning of the season, there was some reason to buy the idea of John Fox and Chicago’s offensive coaches wanting to go with Glennon. Beyond how much money they already had thrown away on the former Buccaneers backup, there was the old-school notion that Trubisky “had little starting experience” and Glennon gave them “the best chance to win” early.
Well, Glennon has had four starts, and the team is 1-3. After Sunday, the Bears will be two games behind in the NFC North, both to the Packers — who routed them 35-17 on Thursday night — and the winner of the Lions-Vikings game. Chicago now should know what the rest us of already did before Week 1 — it doesn’t have a team bound for the playoffs in 2017. If the Bears don’t, they should accept that Glennon isn’t the guy who’s going to get them there. Either way, it’s Trubisky time.
Glennon had a competent opener against the Falcons as the Bears fell just short. But otherwise, he has been rotten since, as he’s had twice as many turnovers (8) as touchdown passes (4). He got the overtime “win” at home against the Steelers last week while throwing for only 101 yards — because the Bears rushed for 220.
But then there came the hopeful last straw, the inefficient mess in Green Bay — 21-of-33, 218 yards, TD, 2 INTS, 2 fumbles lost. His passer rating continued its steady, weekly decline from 86.8 to 67.5. That was an injury-riddled Packers’ defense, by the way, with major cornerback coverage deficiencies against which Glennon struggled. His downfield accuracy as a pure pocket passer has been pitiful.
Before Glennon’s complete meltdown, former Cowboys QB and current CBS game analyst Tony Romo laid out exactly why the Bears need to play Trubisky.
“I really believe they’re going to go to him sooner than later,” Romo said. “I like Glennon, I just don’t know if this style fits him personally. They need a guy who can bootleg and move around.”
After the game, only one can wonder whether Glennon gave Romo anything left to like. Bears fans have seen enough, and they should hope Fox has, too. In his typical vague, coachspeak fashion, he said the team “will evaluate everything.”
When the Bears watch the film, they’ll see what Romo is talking about. Glennon is big, stationary and an easy target for pressure. He has been sacked “only” eight times over four games, but he’s been forced into more mistakes. He can’t buy much extra time with his feet and offers zero rushing threat.
Chicago’s offense isn’t all that complicated, and Trubisky is better built to do more with less. Sure, Glennon has been hampered by the fact that injuries to starting wide receivers Cameron Meredith and Kevin White have left him stuck with a slot man, Kendall Wright, as the No. 1 target. Dynamic young backs Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen aren’t just the lifeblood of the offense — they are the offense.
Trubisky can complement those backs better with his athleticism. He has the mobility to extend a lot of pass plays. His short-to-intermediate accuracy meshes with Wright, those backs and tight end Zach Miller.
There’s no longer any possible upside with Glennon. It was ridiculous the Bears didn’t put in Trubisky for some reps after the Packers opened up a 35-7 lead early in the fourth quarter. Heck, the Packers even got Aaron Rodgers’ backup, Brett Hundley, into the game, for mop-up work. That probably tells a lot about the difference in each team’s quarterback acumen.
So if the main issue with Trubisky was that he hadn’t played enough football, why wouldn’t you, you know, let him play football? Because it’s Fox and because it’s the Bears, a legitimate follow-up question is if not then, when?
Glad we asked, because Week 5 presents the perfect timing. The Bears won’t enjoy it after that kind of defeat, but they do get an extended “mini bye” before the Monday night home game vs. Minnesota.
That’s a lot of time to prep Trubisky for his first NFL start in a comfortable environment. The feeling has been, once the Bears come to terms with being out of contention, then it will OK to turn to Trubisky. But guess what: He’s the QB who gives a now-desperate team “the best chance to win.”
The Bears were probably looking at the Week 10 rematch with the Packers at Solider Field because it comes after their actual bye in Week 9. But until then, the Vikings, Ravens, Panthers and Saints present winnable games.
“Put the kid in!” and see what he’s got. It’s impossible for Trubisky to be any worse than Glennon is now, and he has the opportunity to be a lot better right away. With their running game and a defense that held both the Falcons and Steelers in check at home, the Bears are far from terrible. They would have stood a better chance against Rodgers and the Packers on the road had Glennon not been so charitable.
It’s OK if Trubisky comes in and checks down with a lot of dinking and dunking, because that would be what the personnel dictates. Glennon’s execution at times has made him look like the rookie in this scenario.
Glennon was cold enough in the non-frozen tundra to make the Bears’ decision for them. They should bring Trubisky out of his hibernation and never look back.
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