Mitchell Trubisky is the quarterback of the future for the Chicago Bears. The question is just a matter of when he’ll be handed the reins.
The No. 2 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft started just 13 games in college, and Chicago didn’t want to toss him into the flames until after he’s had plenty time to adjust to the NFL.
Chicago will stick with that plan in Week 3 with Glennon set to start in Week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"Mike Glennon will be our starting quarterback against Pittsburgh and we're going to do everything we can to get him prepared," Bears coach John Fox said Monday. "Not just Mike Glennon, our whole football team."
But Glennon is already making patience difficult.
The Bears signed the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback to a three-year, $45 million contract, but the deal is easy to part with after the 2017 season. That looks like good news for Chicago, because he’s playing far below the $16 million cap hit he’d be due in 2018 if the Bears keep him beyond this season.
After an uninspiring, but decent showing against the Atlanta Falcons — when a pair of drops in the final seconds kept Glennon from being a Week 1 hero — an implosion for the quarterback in Week 2 buried the Bears.
Each of Chicago’s first three drives of the game ended because of a Glennon turnover. The third was a terrible interception returned for a touchdown that extended Tampa Bay’s lead to 23-0.
Glennon threw a touchdown with less than two minutes on the clock in the game to avoid a shutout, but his 301-yard day didn’t matter. The hole he dug in the first half was too deep, no matter how much John Fox tries to deflect the blame from his quarterback.
“That wasn't the Mike Glennon's Bears, that was the Chicago Bears,” Fox said, via the Associated Press. “It was our whole team.”
And that’s true. The rest of the Bears offense hasn’t done Glennon many favors and likely wouldn’t have the tools to help Trubisky out much, either. But that’s not going to stop fans from wanting to see the rookie just like Texans fans did in Week 1.
Last year, Bears fans had to put up with interceptions because there wasn’t much alternative. After Jay Cutler it was Brian Hoyer, a journeyman on his fifth different team. Then it was Matt Barkley, who came to the Bears with no touchdowns and four interceptions after three years in the NFL.
Glennon doesn’t have the luxury of uninspiring backups. He has a fresh-faced rookie who looked impressive in preseason.
Trubisky finished August with 67.9 percent of his passes completed for 364 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. Glennon completed 59.1 percent of his passes in the preseason for 243 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Yes, Trubisky was the one more often benefiting from snaps against backup defenders, but there was no denying that he made throws that showed why the Bears were excited enough to trade up — maybe unnecessarily — to secure him.
The Bears had to know this wasn’t going to be a season that would end with a trip to the Super Bowl. But jobs are on the line in the NFL every week and being patient with Glennon to keep Trubisky off the field could cost Fox his job. Of course, tossing a rookie into the flames to disastrous results could also get him fired.
And no, playing both isn’t a good idea, either.
John Fox's most head-scratching thought today: "I wish we could play two QBs at once, but I don’t know if that would be our best option."— Dan Wiederer (@danwiederer) September 18, 2017
Just last year, Jeff Fisher had to deal with a similar situation in Los Angeles. He eventually supplanted Case Keenum with Jared Goff in Week 11 and was fired four weeks later.
The best case scenario for Chicago would have been a good season from Glennon that allowed the team to bring along Trubisky at a reasonable pace. Two weeks into the season, that’s a luxury the Bears don’t appear to have.