- Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune gives his thoughts for the week:
“[Mitch] Trubisky’s time is coming. I firmly believe it will arrive this season. But [Mike] Glennon showed enough for the Bears to continue with the plan they set forth back when they bucked up for the veteran and then traded up to draft Trubisky. How long Glennon remains the starter is going to depend on three variables: how well he performs, how the team performs and how Trubisky shows growth during practice. The latter might be the most significant.”
My guess is that how well Glennon performs will be the most significant. Trubisky is a head of where I thought he’d be but he’s still not ready and as Biggs points out in the same article, he’ll probably be getting fewer reps in practice as they ramp up towards the first game of the season.
Unlike Biggs, I think the Bears would like to give Glennon a genuine shot to show what he can do this year. If they get the version we saw in the third preseason game, they could win quite a few games with him.
They paid Glennon $18 million guaranteed this year to keep Trubisky on the bench and to let him learn to do things like not let the play clock run out. Twice.
Trubisky shows a lot of promise and I couldn’t be more pleased right now. But he’s got a lot to learn.
As an added bonus, probably best case scenario Glennon’s got some trade value at the end of the year if he plays well and lasts the season. Assuming they don’t want to pay the money to keep him.
- According to Biggs The Falcons, Packers and the Raiders have been at all of the Bears preseaon games. It will be interesting to see if either team picks up a players that is expected to be released in final cuts.
- The Bears defense is getting a lot of love after a solid preseason performance and with some justification. I think most fans always knew that the front seven had a great deal of potential if it could stay healthy. That looks like it might be the case.
Having said that, let’s not pretend that all is well with the unit as a whole. For instance, the team tied an all time NFL record for fewest takeaways last year and the defense has shown no signs through two preseason games that this year will be any better.
Like they have with the offensive line and the running game on offense, the Bears have built a good nucleus at the line of scrimmage this year. I think that’s always what you want to do.
But, also like the offense at wide receiver, the defensive backfield is barely mediocre. The Bears went with second tier talent in free agency to shore up the cornerbacks with only one draft pick – albeit an apparently solid one – at safety. And one of those cornerbacks is already looking ike he might be on the shelf for a while. Via Biggs:
Cornerback Prince Amukamara acknowledged when training camp opened that he needs remain healthy and that has been a knock against him. But he left Nissan Stadium with a walking boot on his right ankle. He also missed time previously with a hamstring issue. Hopefully he’s good to go when the Falcons come in.
But even with him, the unit has a long way to go before it ranks among the NFL elite.
- I don’t know any Bears fans that are really upset by the new contract extension that the Bears put together for left tackle Charles Leno but for what its worth, the contract is actually only a 2 year deal for $12 million. That’s the guaranteed money. There is $8 million guaranteed for injury only in the 3rd year but that doesn’t become fully guaranteed until the 3rd day of the new league year (effectively making it 3 years for $20 million).
The national perspective on Leno has not been very positive, partly due to some lackluster Pro Football Focus ratings, but the Bears are high on him and they backed it up with this deal. Left tackles don’t grow on trees nor are they cheap if they’re any good.
My own eyes on game day tell me to agree with the Bears on this though I’ve had a hard time convincing other people in other cities nationally. If Leno can become a bit more consistent he’ll be a pretty good player at a valuable position.
- David Haugh at the Chicago Tribune continues to write what has been a consistent theme with the media since the offseason, albeit with a bit of a twist:
“Eventually, [head coach John] Fox might realize the chances to keep his job beyond 2017 improve if Trubisky beats out Glennon and becomes the starter.”
“A 6-10 season, for example, with Glennon starting 16 games and Trubisky learning whatever backup quarterbacks learn by watching would cry out for a coaching change likely to coincide with Trubisky’s promotion in 2018. But a 6-10 season with Trubisky showing flashes under Fox and his staff might allow the coach to complete the final year of his contract when — lame-duck status or not — the continuity could benefit the young quarterback. Maybe positive signs despite a 5-11 or 4-12 record would have a similar effect.”
What is most important for Fox right now is wins and losses. And 6-10 with Glennon or Trubisky would be a significant improvement in that area. Whether that justifies keeping Fox would, as always, depend on the circumstances, but I’d say that should be good enough under most conditions.
What people have to understand is that when the Bears hired GM Ryan Pace and Fox they embarked on a long, painful process of breaking this team down and rebuilding it almost from scratch. It’s true that most people probably didn’t think that it would take three offseasons to complete just the breaking down part but, thanks to Jay Cutler, it did.
What that means is that from here on out is that the Bears and their fans need to look for improvement starting from a 3-13 base, their record in 2016. A progression from 3-13 to 6-10 to 8-8 or 9-7 to 10-6 would be slow but should be perfectly acceptable under almost any circumstances as long as its consistent and shows signs of being sustainable long-term.
Many in the media have pointed out that, thanks to pulling the plug on Marc Trestman and Phil Emery so quickly, the Bears are in danger of becoming “one of those teams” that is constantly turning over their front office, threatening consistency. They wonder why this happens even as they press to replace coaches like Fox, setting conditions that go beyond simple improvement and slow and steady progress. They demand that the Bears win immediately even as they bemoan the organization’s lack of patience.
Getting back to the point of the article, would starting Trubisky and having him perform well help the perception in terms of how the teams is progressing? No question and the point is well taken. But on the other hand, starting him and watching him fall apart before our eyes because he was rushed and wasn’t ready wouldn’t be good for morale anywhere in this city.
In any case, what needs to be appreciated is that, in terms of Fox’s job status, the point is irrelevant. Whether they start Trubisky or not, the organization needs to be patient and the bar for keeping Fox needs to be at an appropriate level. Coming off of 3-13, I think 6-10 ordinarily should be just fine.
- As most fans know, teams can pick up a lot of useful pieces after roster cuts following the last preseason game. The Bears are third in the waiver order and figure to have a good shot at some players who can help. In this respect, Biggs makes a good point:
“The Browns and 49ers are the only teams ahead of the Bears, meaning Pace would have first shot at any player those teams pass on.
“The Browns and 49ers both have 4-3 base defenses, so players profiling a 3-4 scheme might not be attractive to either of those teams. Of course, the front seven is arguably the strongest part of the roster right now.”
The Bears need the most help at wide receiver and in the defensive backfield and its not impossible that the Bears could get some help there, too. For instance, the Brown’s release of former Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden on Wednesday will be of note. but the guess here is that they wouldn’t turn their noses up at anyone who could improve the depth in the front seven, especially on the defensive line.
- On a related note, here’s hoping Eddie Goldman being in the concussion protocol doesn’t become a major issue. He’s the most irreplaceable part of the defense, which never looked the same after they lost him last year.
- I think starting Mitch Trubisky in the fourth preseason game is a good idea. Unless he gets hurt. If he does, head coach John Fox will be getting death threats from fans.
That’s not a joke.
- Perhaps more noteworthy is the fact that Mark Sanchez isn’t playing despite getting very few snaps during the pre-season to date. There are 2 possibilities:
- He’s already got the #2 job. He’s a veteran who doesn’t need the reps and they want him healthy going into the season.
- He’s already lost the #2 job to Trubisky and they want to make sure he doesnt’ get hrt before they release him, putting them on the hook for some money.
I’m guessing #1 is the most likely. But I’m not discounting #2 and it wouldn’t be totally shocking if he’s released after the game.