The Chicago Bears’ quarterback situation isn’t much of a competition (despite what Connor Shaw may hope), as it is a done deal.
Mike Glennon – who proclaimed 2017 to be his year – is the team’s nominal starter entering camp, and is expected to remain in that role for the entire season. If anything, the situation is more like a relationship between a mentor (or two) and his apprentice. But we’ve already discussed the arrangement to death, so let’s actually get into some training camp expectations, right? Right.
Well, Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune does just that, but writes that patience will be a virtue for fans, when it comes to the Bears’ new-look QB room. And not just because Trubisky’s next turn at running a pro-style offense will be his first, either.
Sure, all eyes will be on Trubisky and how he progresses through camp. But he isn’t the only quarterback new to Halas Hall and Dowell Loggains’ offense. Indeed, Glennon and backup Mark Sanchez are experienced NFL signal callers with years of reps in pro style offenses that date back to their college years, but neither has a full feel for Loggains’ offense just yet.
Further, the quarterbacks aren’t the only players who are new to Chicago’s offense. The Bears have six wide receivers, two tight ends, and five members of the backfield who are all new to the Bears. So while showing restraint for a rookie is one thing, preaching patience with a group of veterans will also be a priority for Chicago during training camp.
The expectations for Bears quarterbacks are tiered differently, as each is working on different aspects this summer.
Glennon will attempt to build up a positive rapport with his teammates playing skill positions and simultaneously mastering Loggains’ playbook. Tough job, but somebody has to do it, and $16 million up front to prove you can start in the NFL is a fair bit of compensation. And yet, Glennon opens camp as the starter despite being a relative unknown. He has played in 21 games (18 starts) and has thrown twice as many touchdowns (30) than interceptions (15). His 2.4 interception rate is refreshing to look at after Jay Cutler’s 3.5 INT% during the first six years of his eight-year stint in Chicago. Glennon also posted a 4.8 TD% while playing in Tampa Bay, which suggests he could throw as many touchdowns as Cutler (4.7 TD% while with the Bears) and do so without the unnecessary interception risks.
Minimizing high-leverage risks will be an important part of Glennon’s style when running the offense. Glennon has an impressive 20-1 TD-INT ratio in the Red Zone, but that comes with a woefully low 46.6 percent completion rate on 73 attempts.
Sanchez is expected to follow a similar route to Glennon, but to a lesser degree. After all, the backup’s responsibilities include having the kind of knowledge and grasp of his team’s offense that would allow him to navigate through a game as a replacement at a moment’s notice. Sanchez is well-versed in this area, hence, GM Ryan Pace signing him to a one-year deal.
Of course, Sanchez will need to prove to be healthy first. So while he is on the sidelines nursing a knee injury, Trubisky would be wise to make the most of his time as the team’s No. 2 quarterback. Once he returns to a role with diminished expectations, Trubisky can focus on the finer things. Trubisky’s training camp to-do list looks a bit different than the ones Glennon and Sanchez will operate under. The rookie’s focuses will include refining his mechanics, throwing motion, and learning the nuances of a professional quarterback – such as play calling and running a huddle. While Glennon and Sanchez could pass on their experiences starting as rookies, they simply can’t transfer their college experiences running pro style offenses, which eased their respective transitions from college to the pros.
For the first time since 2008, the Bears enter training camp with a quarterback other than Cutler leading the way. Let a new era of quarterbacking begin!