Bears Strategy to Solve the Quarterback Position Is Only Logical

Yesterday I addressed the first of two Bear-related articles at Yahoo! Sports.  The first was a pretty negative  view point expressed by Andy Behrens that pretty much corresponds to the national view point.  Today I’d like to talk a little about a more balanced article written by Frank Schwab.

Like me, Schwab can’t understand why General Manager Ryan Pace is getting so much flack for aggressively pursuing answers to the quarterback position.

Combining the two big moves at quarterback brought on a separate wave of criticism. Because after almost seven decades of futility at the position, people apparently wanted Pace to just keep doing things the same way they’ve always been done. There’s nothing wrong with investing in both options. Mike Glennon will presumably begin this season as the starter. If he’s bad, the Bears will cut him and they haven’t affected their salary-cap situation. If he’s good, there will be chances to trade him. If he’s great, maybe the Bears keep Glennon and trade Mitch Trubisky. And let’s be clear: If Glennon is great, it’s a problem the Bears haven’t had since Vince Lombardi was an unknown assistant at Army. There are worse problems to have.

Pace’s plan, especially to move up and get Trubisky, was aggressive. That’s OK.

Couldn’t agree more with every word.

The heavy criticism that Pace has gotten for trading away a third round pick and two fourth round picks to move up to get Trubisky is absurd when compared to what both the Chiefs and the Texans had to give up to acquire lesser prospects.  Furthermore, Pace’s explanation that he felt he had to trade up to get Trubisky based upon the offers he was getting from quarterback needy teams for the third overall pick is, for some reason, being largely ignored while national outlets continue to push the baseless assumption that the Bears didn’t need to make the trade.

Similarly, people who claim that the Bears should have kept Brian Hoyer or someone similar as a placeholder instead of signing Glennon simply aren’t thinking straight.

Mike Glennon is a legitimate swing at solving the position.  Is he a great swing?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Behrens certainly didn’t think so but, the humorous videos of Glennon fumbling the ball aside, he didn’t really make any legitimate points.

Bottom line, Glennon was the best free agent available and is a legitimate attempt at a long term solution to the problem. Hoyer would have been a waste of a year.

Would Behrens have rather the Bears had handled the off-season the way the 49ers and Browns did, both of whom I’ve seen continually praised despite the fact that neither made a good move to solve their quarterback dilemmas?  Or the way the Jets did by deciding to tank the 2017 season and pray that one of the supposedly superior quartbacks in the potential 2018 class 1) continues to develop and 2) comes out early?  Anyone remember who the consensus #1 overall pick for 2017 was this time last year?  Deshaun Watson.

The only legitimate criticism I’ve heard is the way the Bears handled the draft with Glennon.  Certainly the Bears didn’t have to tell Glennon that they were planning to take Trubisky.  Indeed, they did the right thing by not doing so.  There’s no getting around that he was going to have to be surprised by it and that’s just the way it had to be.

But Glennon was at the Bears draft party when Trubisky’s name was called.  Why any active player would be invited to such a party given the chances that any of them could be watching his eventual replacement be drafted is beyond me.

It was bound to happen that Glennon would be unhappy about this.  That’s life in the league.  But this added drama to a situation that definitely didn’t need any more of it.

The other related thing that bothers me is the continual criticism that the Bears have received for supposedly not telling head coach John Fox that they were trading up to take Trubisky.  It has been made crystal clear that Fox was with Pace every step of the way in this process.

Was he happy with it?  Hell, who would be?  He needs help now.  But he accepted the decision and he said that he was on board with it.  If he wasn’t told about the trade until “hours before the draft” then its obviously because, though they had been working it before that, the decision wasn’t finalized until then.  Indeed, this is exactly what Chris Mortenson, the originator of the initial report, said in a later Tweet that, for some reason continues to be ignored.  I see no reason why there should be any more to it than that and I’ve seen zero evidence that there was.

The Bears have become a punching bag for the national media.  I understand that when you go 3-13, you aren’t going to get the benefit of the doubt on these decisions.  But the criticism that writers and commentators across the league have continued to leveled at the Bears is, as far as I can tell, totally baseless.

There’s not a thing wrong with what the Bears have done at quarterback this off-season.  Ryan Pace acted aggressively to solve a situation that is long overdue to be solved.

Will it work?  I can’t say.  But I can say that I’m glad to see someone giving it a legitimate try and I think any other view point defies logic.

The Bears Unnecessarily Risky Off-Season

Many who follow (or used to follow) this blog probably think I’ve abandoned it. I haven’t. Its just that I work for a living and things have been a little crazy. They’re probably going to get a lot more crazy in the near future but I’m hoping that doesn’t mean I can’t continue to post every once in a while.

Having said that, I thought I’d reference a couple articles from Yahoo! Sports today and tomorrow that have a little something for everyone.

For those cynics who think the Bears are going to be pretty bad this year because they can’t do anything right, I give you this article from Andy Behrens today. The article criticizes virtually everything from the quarterback situation to the Bears defense. This is a perfectly natural reaction and, as far as I can tell, its one shared around the league nationally. When you go 3-13 and have only won 9 games in two years, you aren’t going to get the benefit of the doubt very often. It doesn’t help that head coach John Fox isn’t what you’d call media friendly.

I’m going to leave the assessment of the way the Bears handled the quarterbacks for tomorrow. Today I’d like to chime in some other somewhat valid criticisms of the Bears off-season. From Behrens:

“The list of Chicago’s free agent additions on offense looks like a last-place fantasy roster from 2014: [Mike] Glennon, Mark Sanchez, Victor Cruz, Markus Wheaton, Kendall Wright, Rueben Randle, Dion Sims, Benny Cunningham. A few of those players could be serviceable, but none move the needle for a team coming off a 3-win season. In April, the Bears’ drafted as if their singular goal was to flummox anyone providing analysis on live TV. After using the No. 2 overall pick on [Mitch] Trubisky, Chicago spent three of its four remaining selections on players from non-FBS schools. It’s not at all clear that any of them, or Trubisky, will contribute in a meaningful way in 2017.

“So, um … Bear down. Woo.”

OK. This is mostly hard truth. Certainly the wide receiver free agents look like dart being thrown at a board. The Bears are hoping one or two stick. The Bears did manage to re-make their secondary with the signings of Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper. But for the most part, Fox got virtually no help in the off-season. Some have chosen to interpret this as general manager Ryan Pace throwing Fox under the bus with the idea that he will be hiring a new coach for 2018. But I’ve a sneaking suspicion that its more likely that Fox is getting a free year as long as the team shows at least some improvement.

I also don’t disagree with Behrens’ assessment of the draft but for an entirely different reason. People who think the Bears draft was a problem because it didn’t supply immediate help just don’t understand the situation. The Bears are rebuilding. They aren’t planning for this year. They’re planning for a couple years down the road. In that respect, Pace obviously felt that he could draft guys who might require a bit longer to develop and its hard to refute that logic.

No. The problem as I see it is a different one.

The NFL draft by its very nature is a crop shoot. Its full of risk at even the best of times with roughly half of all first round picks busting out. That percentage increases to something close to three quarters for quarterbacks. The Bears took those normal risks and at least doubled them by taking small school prospects that require even more projection than usual to get right.

Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of great NFL players who came from small schools, not the least of whom was the late great Walter Payton (Jackson State). Its perfectly OK to take a player like that every once in a while. But to do with with 3 of 5 with the quarterback, Trubisky, being one of the two that wasn’t? That’s asking for trouble, my friends.

The Bears really needed to approach this draft the way they approached the one in 2016 when they found Jordan Howard and Cody Whitehair. Taking the guys from FBS schools carries enough risk. There’s little reason to introduce more to the process.

Here’s hoping that I’m wrong and that all of these guys work out. But if they do, it’s going to require some luck. And the Bears haven’t had much of that lately.