Ryan Pace has taken two big swings at the quarterback position since becoming the Bears’ general manager in 2015.
Because the Mitchell Trubisky era isn’t yet over, the jury is (technically) still out on that particular hack. Although, I believe the deliberations will soon come to a close. Meanwhile, Pace’s other swing, Mike Glennon, was an undeniable whiff. The contract wasn’t as awful as some make it seem – a short-term deal with an easy out for a bridge quarterback was just what they needed – but Glennon’s play clearly was not. Hence, Glennon being the bridge guy turned out to be a mistake.
If you’ll recall, the Bears’ original plan was to use Trubisky’s rookie year to show him the ropes, refine his mechanics, and learn from the sidelines without the pressure of being The Guy. But because Glennon was so bad, and John Fox was essentially fighting for his job, Trubisky was thrust into a less-than-desirable situation. I’ll fall short of saying the change of plans stunted his growth, but not getting the planned development didn’t help. Remember, Matt Nagy and Chase Daniel both made reference to Trubisky needing to unlearn bad traits he learned as a rookie.
All things considered, the Trubisky-Glennon situation is a cautionary tale of quarterback development and why it matters that the GM, head coach, and quarterback are on the same page and timeline.
And yet, that signing set the ball rolling on a timeline that brings us to a game in which they are starting against each other. More than that, it’s a game with potential franchise-changing implications. The Bears are fighting for a playoff spot, while the Jaguars struggle to maintain their strong-hold on the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. It’s a big game in Jacksonville, to say the least.
“Never Tell Me The Odds”
The DraftKings SportsBook lists the Bears (7-7) as 7.5-point favorites against the Jaguars (1-13). Over/under: 47.
The Bears lead 4-3, having outscored the Jaguars by a 169-116 margin.
Game Time, Broadcast Info, Officiating Crew:
Location: TIAA Bank Stadium
Broadcast Info: Sunday, December 20 at noon CT on CBS (Greg Gumbel, Rich Gannon, Jay Feely), WBBM-AM 780 and WCFS-FM 105.9 (Jeff Joniak, Tom Thayer, Mark Grote)
Referee: Jerome Boger
Expected Starters and Lineups:
Bears Expected Starters:
• QB Mitchell Trubisky
• RB David Montgomery
• WRs Allen Robinson II, Darnell Mooney, Anthony Miller
• TE Jimmy Graham
• LT Charles Leno Jr., LG Cody Whitehair, C Sam Mustipher, RG Alex Bars, RT Germain Ifedi
• DT Akiem Hicks, NT Bilal Nichols, DE Brent Urban
• OLBs Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn
• ILBs Roquan Smith, Danny Trevathan
• CBs Kyle Fuller, Kindle Vildor
• FS Eddie Jackson
• SS Tashaun Gipson Sr.
• Cairo Santos (kicker), Pat O’Donnell (punter, holder), Patrick Sales (long snapper), Anthony Miller (kick, punt returns)
Jaguars Expected Starters:
• QB Mike Glennon (yep, that Mike Glennon)
• RB Dare Ogunbowale
• WRs DJ Chark, Lagiska Shenault Jr., Kellan Cole
• TE James O’Shaughnessy
• LT Cam Robinson, LG Andrew Norwell, C Tyler Shatley, RG AJ Cann, RT Jawaan Taylor
• DE Dawuane Smoot, NT Daniel Ekuale, DT Doug Costin, DE Adam Gotsis
• WLB Myles Jack, MLB Joe Schobert, SLB Joe Giles-Harris
• CBs Tre Herndon, Luq Barcoo
• FS Andrew Wingard, SS Josh Jones
• Aldrick Rosas (kicker), Dustin Colquitt (punter, holder), Ross Matiscik (long snapper), Keelan Cole (kick & punt returns)
Three Bears …
Roquan Smith was the most obvious Pro Bowl snub and should be out to show why against a Jaguars team starting Mike Glennon at quarterback and sitting stud rusher James Robinson because of an injury. Sure, Jacksonville still has intriguing pass-catching targets such as DJ Chark and Laviska Shenault. But the Jaguars’ offensive line allowed 5 sacks, 7 quarterback hits, and 9.5 tackles-for-loss just last week. So with that being said, I expect Smith to get his on Sunday.
Darnell Mooney should be in a position to have stellar day against the Jaguars. Because even if Allen Robinson II goes off, it’s worth noting the Jaguars have allowed huge games to WR2 types throughout the season. Since the bye, Adam Thielen (8-75-1), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (4-149-1), and Brandin Cooks (3-83-1) represent prime examples of just that. Don’t get me wrong. I think Robinson has so much to play for tomorrow. He’s returning to Jacksonville, just got snubbed from a Pro Bowl appearance (again), and still is without a contract extension. Robinson will get his. But don’t let Mooney fly under the radar.
Chuck Pagano has watched his defense give up large chunks of yards and points against the Packers, Lions, and Vikings since the bye week. That needs to end. And this week presents an opportunity for the defense to get back on the right track. It’s Mike Glennon for crying out loud! There are no gimmes in professional football. HOWEVA, if this defense can’t eat against the Jaguars, then it’ll be time to re-think that group’s direction this coming offseason.