With his improved performance in the Chicago Bears’ 19-7 victory over the Tennessee Titans, Mike Glennon did just enough to guarantee he’ll be the Bears starting quarterback in week 1 against Atlanta.
But only that.
Even before the Bears entered training camp, the Chicago brass had already anointed Glennon the starting quarterback as they were content to let their shiny new rookie, No. 2 overall pick Mitchell Trubisky, sit and learn from the sidelines.
But it was Trubisky’s impressive debut in the first exhibition game, as well as another solid performance in the second exhibition game, that created a quarterback controversy that the Bears certainly didn’t want.
And while cries of “Glennon is our quarterback” rang out, the fans, the Bears management, as well as other Bears players, began to notice that Trubisky might be more ready than we all thought.
“I think I’ve progressed faster than they expected I would,” Trubisky told reporters last week. “But I’ve still got a long way to go, and I know that. But I think I’ve shown that I’ve earned these reps, and I just need to continue to get better each day.”
That prompted Bears coach John Fox to give Trubisky reps with the first team offense, as well as let him play (what ended up being one series) with the 1’s in the third preseason game against the Titans.
So while the Bears never formally announced a quarterback competition, you don’t need context clues to see that that’s low key what was happening. Whether it was because they wanted to see if Trubisky once again outperformed Glennon or if they wanted to light a fire under Glennon’s butt, the Bears fueled the fire that has burned since week 1 of the preseason in the Glennon vs. Trubisky debate.
And it worked.
Glennon methodically led his offense down the field on a 96-yard touchdown drive on the Bears’ first offensive series looking more like the quarterback Fox and GM Ryan Pace were preaching even after drafting Trubisky. But how long can that last? We’ve seen Glennon. We know who Glennon is. He’s a backup quarterback. So one has to wonder what Glennon we’ll get come week 1 of the season?
Then you have the fact that when Trubisky took over to start the second half, he continued to shine in the national spotlight. Sure, he had some rookie moments — tripping over his center, a near pick, and taking a delay of game — but he never once looked overwhelmed on the field. And perhaps that’s been his greatest strength to date.
If you compare Glennon’s and Trubisky’s stats side-by-side, Trubisky once again outperformed Glennon, although this time the gap was much, much closer. Glennon completed 11 of 18 passes for 134 yards, a touchdown, and a 102.5 rating. Trubisky completed 10 of 15 passes for 128 yards, a deep touchdown, and a 115.4 rating.
But while Trubisky continued to show progress and impress despite his 13 collegiate starts, Glennon’s performance on Sunday was surely enough to nab him the starting job heading into week 1. Though that was going to happen anyway, Bears fans have to feel a little better given the first team’s offense improvement (though maybe not that much better with No. 1 receiver Cameron Meredith going down with a torn ACL.)
The Bears were going to force Glennon down our throats no matter what. It didn’t matter if we didn’t want it; it didn’t matter how bad Glennon has looked this preseason; it didn’t matter how good Trubisky looked; it didn’t matter that Trubisky outperformed Glennon in the first two exhibition games. This was the Bears’ plan all along.
Glennon’s $18 million guaranteed for what’s most likely a one-year deal might’ve been the driving force behind his being announced as starter the moment he walked into Chicago. Perhaps giving Trubisky time to grow and become ready to start also played a factor for the Bears.
But seeing how Trubisky has developed, the command and confidence he possesses, as well as the fact that he’s clearly the most talented quarterback on the Bears’ roster, definitely puts a spin on things. It’s not a matter of if Trubisky will start this season so much as it’s when will Trubisky start this season.
Now for Bears fans, this season becomes: “When will Mitch Trubisky start?”