The Chicago Bears opened their 2017 campaign last night hosting the Denver Broncos. In foreboding weather, under the threat of lightning, the questions on everyone’s lips were related to which of the Bears’ new Quarterbacks would perform the best in live competition. While John Fox has previously declared that Mike Glennon is the guy for week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons, it’s hard to think that minds wouldn’t be changed were third overall pick, Mitchell Trubisky, to show better consistency than his fourth year counterpart. Veteran backup, Mark Sanchez, may also play spoiler to Glennon’s starting aspirations should he perform well during training camp.
A Rough Start
It was Mike Glennon who got the start in this preseason outing, though, and he wasted no time doing his best Jay Cutler impression. On the third down of the drive, Glennon demonstrated some extremely poor decision making and threw and interception that was returned for a touchdown by Broncos DB, Chris Harris. Under extreme pressure from the pass rush, Glennon panicked and tried to force the ball to his Tight End, Zach Miller, the least open receiver in the vicinity. The drive was not a total washout, however, as Glennon demonstrated that he was able to place the ball with pinpoint accuracy, putting the ball in the hands of Cameron Meredith on 2nd & 8, only to have the ball forced from the receivers hands.
Hoping to learn from his initial mistake, Glennon took the field again but was quickly forced from the field, going three and out. The pressure of the pass rush once again reached the NC State graduate and his third down pass was knocked down at the line of scrimmage. After a far more successful Broncos drive, the Bears third opportunity on offence was too a comedy of errors. What started well, with a well executed 6 yard play-action pass to free agent signee Dion Sims, ended with a snap way over the head of Glennon, robbing the quarterback of a chance to redeem his earlier failures.
As the first quarter drew to a close, Glennon began to find his feet, bolstered the ground attack of Ka’Deem Carey and rookie Tarik Cohen. After a cluster of runs put the Bears in a 3rd & 4 position, Glennon was able to demonstrate the ability he was signed for with a confident 15 yard pass to Kendall Wright in the middle of the field. On the next play, a deep pass to Cameron Meredith was unsuccessful as Glennon failed to put the ball far enough in front of the third year pro. The same issue was true of a later dig-route pass to Meredith which was broken up. In his final play of the game, Glennon showed off some of his ability to perform under pressure, escaping attack from behind to laser the ball to Zach Miller. Unfortunately, the pass was a little low and the tight end failed to bring in the pass.
Short Stint for Sanchez
In his brief appearance in the game, Mark Sanchez immediately brought a much quicker pace to the offense. While the first two drives were ultimately fruitless, the nine-year veteran was able to demonstrate his worth to the team with a fantastic downfield block that allowed Benny Cunningham to add another chunk of yards to his already successful run. While his football past may be a little chequered, the benefits that a veteran presence such as Sanchez’ brings to the Chicago Bears offense is undeniable – even if just to encourage the QB corps not to make the same mistakes that he did.
The rest of the game belonged to the second overall pick, Mitchell Trubisky. The rookie’s first drive as a pro came with two minutes remaining in the first half of the game and Trubisky used the opportunity to maintain the faster pace of offense that Sanchez had began before him. A series of runs, play-action strikes and quick passes from the shotgun brought the Bears steadily down the field. Trubisky made good decisions and completed some tough passes despite the heavy Bronco pressure that Glennon had faced earlier. The two highlights of the drive were a play-action pass to fellow rookie Adam Shaheen – which demonstrated his quick passing ability under fire – and a touchdown pass to Victor Cruz, where Trubisky rolled out of the pocket to throw a dagger to the veteran wide receiver.
Proving that it wasn’t a fluke, Trubisky led the Bears down the field for a touchdown on his second drive of the game. Throughout, the rookie demonstrated calm under pressure and continued to show off his roll-out and escape ability. On the first play of the drive, Trubisky rolled out to the right after the play-action to deliver an effortless to Thompson at the sideline. Later in the drive, on 2nd & 11, the quarterback again used the play-action to escape the pass rush, executing a video game caliber spin move to avoid contact and carry the ball himself on a 12 yard run. The Bears charged into the redzone off the back of two slant route receptions, one to Josh Bellamy and the other to Rueben Randle. The drive culminated in six points as Cunningham punched the ball into the endzone for a touchdown.
The final scoring play for the Bears was a scrappy one. After a holding call put the Monsters of the Midway in a 1st & 20 position, Trubisky was able to make back the difference with a 24 yard strike to Deonte Thompson for a fresh set of downs. Another expertly executed play-action rollout pass to Tanner Gentry took the Bears forward 13 yards and into the redzone. From there, the drive fizzled, largely due to a delay of game penalty, proving that Trubisky can make mistakes. Despite the error, the Bears were able to put 3 points up for their efforts – the final Chicago points of the game.
Chicago Bears Defensive End, Akeim Hicks, said it best in his comments to Bears Network commentators during the game, “You look forward to seeing [Trubisky] do it against better competition.” The rookie had a fantastic game, ending the game 18/25 with 166 yards and a touchdown, but it must be remembered that this came against Denver Broncos backups. Trubisky’s performance will put Bears fans at ease having seen the potential of their first round draft pick but there’s still more that needs to be seen before anointing him the future of the franchise. Mike Glennon, in comparison, finished the game 2/8 for 20 yards and a pick 6 against the Broncos starting defense, sans Von Miller. Going forward after this extremely disappointing outing, Glennon has a lot to prove if he is going to be given the start over a more game Mitchell Trubisky or even a veteran in Mark Sanchez. Bears fans will be watching closely to see if the $45 million salary of Mike Glennon is worth the expense.
Who do you think will win the starting job for the Bears? Let us know in the comment section below or tweet me directly @thejezshow.