I haven’t written a blog post since March. I’ve thought about it a bunch of times, and there’s been no shortage of interesting, thought-provoking, and sometimes rage-inducing sports storylines that have certainly caught my attention. But you know how it goes: Real life commitments kick in, you get distracted, and then by the time you get around to actually having time to write about a story it’s pretty much yesterday’s news.
Today is different. Today I’m writing just over an hour after watching the Green Bay Packers dismantle my beloved Chicago Bears yet again, this time 35-14 at Lambeau Field. The Bears were never really in it, not after going down 14-0 in the first quarter following a terrible Mike Glennon strip sack on Chicago’s first offensive play of the game.
And there it is. What has gotten me riled up enough to write again when I probably should be sleeping: Mike Glennon.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I was and remain a Jay Cutler fan. Regardless of his faults, I thought he was perpetually underrated, and unfairly portrayed in the media. That being said, when it was announced that Jay was out for the remainder of the season after the Giants game last year I knew I’d probably seen him throw his last pass as a Chicago Bear, and I made my peace with it. It was time for both sides to move on.
However, I was flabbergasted when the Bears decided the guy they wanted to move on with was Tampa Bay back-up Mike Glennon. Granted I didn’t know much about Glennon, but the fact that there was absolutely no competition between the Bears and any other organization to sign him didn’t exactly imbue me with a lot of confidence. His meager record as starter was certainly nothing to write home about, either. Still, I had a certain amount of trust in Bears GM Ryan Pace, and was willing to keep an open mind and give Glennon a chance. Same thing when they traded up to draft rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. I was surprised, and at first, not exactly thrilled, but again willing to see how it all played out.
Now after all of training camp, preseason, and four games in the books I feel confident in saying without a doubt one of these quarterbacks is an absolute disaster, and the other might be exactly what the Bears need to get back on track and in winning form.
Trubisky is the future of this franchise, and everything he displayed throughout camp and the preseason makes me think that he could be something special in this league. Now, I’m not crowning him the next Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, I’m just saying he gives me hope.
Something the Bears are utterly lacking every damn time Mike Glennon steps out on the field.
I stayed patient when reports out of training camp suggested Glennon was struggling and being outplayed by both Trubisky and third string QB Mark Sanchez. After all, it takes time to learn a new offense, and growing pains were natural. My first major concern came in the Bears opening preseason game where Glennon threw a pick-six on his second attempt and finished with a 0.0 passer rating. Trubisky, on the other hand, exceeded my expectations. Coming off the bench with a little over two minutes left in the first half he assertively led the Bears down the field and scored a touchdown on his first drive. He was accurate, mobile, and seemed to possess that intangible ability to make something out of nothing. He stayed impressive pretty much every time he stepped out on the field, while Glennon continued to be average at best.
Still, Glennon was playing against mostly first stringers, while Trubisky was slinging it against second and third team guys, many of whom probably weren’t making the final cut. I got it. I wasn’t under the impression that he was some savior ready to lead this team to the playoffs in his rookie season. I understood the rationale behind giving Glennon a shot, and sincerely hoped that once the regular season started, he’d up his game. I wasn’t expecting miraculous play, but I was hoping (as I think the Bears were) that he could put together a 2016-Hoyer-esque performance where he moved the ball efficiently and kept the turnovers to a minimum, giving the Bears’ strong running game and defense a chance to win ballgames.
Four games in, and Mike Glennon has eight (EIGHT!) turnovers to his name, and several more near interceptions that he’s been lucky were dropped. He also can’t seem to effectively throw the ball to save his life. In the Bears lone win against the Pittsburg Steelers Glennon had a total of 101 passing yards. THE ENTIRE GAME. What’s worse? Per WGN’s Adam Hoge only 19 of those yards actually came in the air, and 6 of his 15 passes were completed behind the line of scrimmage. The Bears won that game because they managed to capitalize on several Steelers turnovers, and Pittsburg was unable to contain the Bears run game. They won in spite of Mike Glennon, who after throwing a late 4th quarter interception that gave the Steelers a chance to win the game, was bailed out by the defense, and didn’t have to throw a single pass during the Bears’ game-winning drive in overtime.
In his four starts as a Chicago Bear, Mike Glennon is 1-3, with eight turnovers, four touchdowns, and an average passer rating of 76.2. Imagine if Jay Cutler was still on the team, and opened up the season that way? He would be absolutely massacred in the press, and rightly so. Because the thing is this Bears team isn’t that bad. In fact, they’re actually kind of good. I’m not saying they’re playoff caliber or anything like that, but give them a different quarterback and the Bears are probably 2-2 right now. Maybe even 3-1. The two blowout losses (Tampa Bay and Green Bay…we should stop playing “Bays”) fall largely on Glennon’s shoulders with seven of his eight turnovers happening in those two games.
He’s not giving his team a chance to win, and it’s damn clear the Bears don’t trust him to do much else other than hand the ball off and throw five yard check downs. Yeah, I know they’re anemic at the wide receiver position, and yes, Glennon’s put a couple of nice balls up there that receivers have just flat out dropped, but that happens to any quarterback. The vast majority of the time when Glennon misses on throws it’s because he puts the ball in a bad spot. His accuracy is weak, his ability to move in and outside the pocket is non-existent, and watching him read through his progressions is like watching football in slow-motion.
He’s bad. He’s a bad quarterback with flashes of mediocrity. Is that worth $18 million a year? Does that earn you a starting position? Is continuing to start Glennon and throwing away an entire season necessary? In my opinion the answer to all these questions is a resounding no. While there’s not much to do about this first one, the other two can be rectified by starting Trubisky Week 5 against the Vikings.
I don’t know for sure if Trubisky is the answer for the Bears offensive woes, but I am positive that Mike Glennon absolutely is not. If Chicago doesn’t think Trubisky is ready, then I say activate Mark Sanchez at this point. Because honestly, when it comes to the quarterback position for the Chicago Bears, right now it can’t get much worse.
(Full disclosure: There were several times while writing this piece I felt legitimately bad for Mike Glennon. He seems like a nice guy. But he’ll be making $18 million this year either way, and I think it’s better for the Bears if he makes the rest of it on the bench.)