Things to Look for in the First Preseason Game: Quarterbacks

 

I hate the offseason. I mean I really do. Nothing but pure speculative judgments about personnel that we haven’t even seen play. Finally, this Thursday, we’ll get a chance to see what the Bears are made of as they take the field against the Broncos.

It would be easier to list the things that I won’t be looking for than the things that I will be. This is now truly General Manager Ryan Pace‘s team as the roster has been almost completely turned over since former head coach Marc Trestman and ex-General Manager Phil Emery left Halas Hall. Pace and head coach John Fox have now changed the culture of the team.  But do they have the talent to compete?

There are so many unknowns about this team you almost don’t know where to start. But over the next few days I’ll try to get you going starting exactly where you would expect – with the quarterbacks.

Although it will be fun to see the fresh second overall pick Mitch Trubisky play, he is apparently so undeveloped at this point its meaningless. If he plays well, it will be against third stringers who are playing vanilla defenses. If he doesn’t, it’s too early in his development to make a big deal out of it. He needs work.  We knew that.  Next summer will likely be the time to start paying attention to Trubisky’s performances, at least if the Bears get their way.

No, this preseason is about new veteran quarterback, Mike Glennon. What will be interesting to see is if Glennon is on the same page with these guys.

From what I’ve seen of him on tape, Bears fans are finally going to be able to leave behind the “see-it, throw-it” style that Jay Cutler lived and died with (mostly died with) for 8 years. We should see Glennon throwing with anticipation to receivers rather than waiting for them to get open and then trying to strong arm it in. This is, in my opinion, the only way to win consistently in the NFL and certainly it is the only way the Bears will ever see a top five quarterback perform (on their own team).

Not that Glennon is going to be a top five quarterback. If he was top twelve, I think everyone in town would be very happy. But at least he has a chance to be better than that.  Cutler never really did.

Glennon’s strength appears to be his accuracy and the fact that he usually puts the ball where only the receiver can get it. This means that his turnovers should be limited. However, this early in his progression with the team, that may not be entirely evident.

One draw back to throwing with anticipation is that you have to be on the same page with your receivers. The timing has to be good and quarterbacks of this type have a bad habit of looking very bad early on as they gradually get to know their guys on the other end of the pass. Missed connections tend to be frequent either because the receiver goes one way and the quarterback the other or because the timing is simply so bad that neither the ball of the receiver end up in the right spot.  It could be ugly for a couple weeks.  So keeping an eye on Glennon’s progress will be a key to the preseason. That starts on Thursday.

Mark Sanchez was the second string quarterback in Saturday’s scrimmage and he should get the second team snaps throughout the preseason. With Glennon still learning the offense and the personnel, he’ll go at least a quarter with Sanchez taking what’s left of the first half and probably playing into the third quarter. From there it will probably be Trubisky time as Connor Shaw hasn’t been practicing with an unspecified foot injury and may well not play.

Seeing how sharp Sanchez is with what apparently are limited reps in practice will be something to keep an eye on here.

 

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