Chicago Bears

Bears Served Two Helpings of Humble Pie

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Bears Served Two Helpings of Humble Pie

Sunday, October 25th

Wow! What do you write after that debacle to keep Bears fans excited about the rest of the season? Every now and then you get throttled in the NFL. A little piece of humble pie can actually serve your team well. Unfortunately, the Bears went for second helpings in the 45-10 loss to the Bengals.

Be a Leader

The top 15 plays are normally scripted in the NFL. Hopefully, you run them all the first series and it leads to a score. The reason I bring this subject up is the Bears should not be starting slowly when you are working off a "cheat sheet". You know the plays that are to be called and can anticipate the defensive looks. If there is a false start as there was today, someone has to step up and stop the bleeding before it gets deadly. No one did. Everyone compounded the problem by letting the mistakes snowball out of control.

As the starting QB, like it or not, you are the leader of the offensive group by default. Today was an opportunity for Jay to get the offense under control. He has to learn not to compound the offensive issues by forcing the football.

When the score starts to get out of control and you find your offense switching gears because you are off your game plan, you must rally the troops with basic positive plays. Small completions can mean a lot. You must work small positive plays into first downs, field goals, and eventually touchdowns. The QB can be the catalyst for your team by jump starting a new rhythm. It allows your defense to regroup and the team as a whole can draw from positive plays to eventually swing momentum in your teams favor.

Head Coach Lovie smith addressed it after the game. He said he had never been in a game like what his team encountered today. Make sure you as a fan watch how the New Orleans Saints worked themselves back into beating the Dolphins when they were down 24 to 3. Small positive plays went a long way for Drew Brees and the Saints to stop the bleeding. It is just another area the Bears have to work on, but are talented enough to do it.

Will Mitch Trubisky make a start soon? History is on his side...

Will Mitch Trubisky make a start soon? History is on his side...

The question of when Mitchell Trubisky would make his first career start was always going to be a storyline this year, but Mike Glennon’s rough showing in Week 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers brought it to the forefront of Bears-centric debate this week. 

Coach John Fox doesn’t want to deal in hypotheticals, and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains shot down a question Wednesday about if Trubisky was taking snaps with the first-team offense in practice: “Mike Glennon is the starter.”

But when will Glennon not be the starter and give way to Trubisky? History shows you might want to circle Week 5 or Week 6 for Trubisky’s debut. 

Since 1997, there have been 33 quarterbacks taken in the first 10 picks of that year’s NFL Draft (we’re using top 10 here as a rough cutoff point for drafting a guy expected to be the future of the franchise). Trubisky and Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes haven’t played yet. Among the 31 quarterbacks who have played, three waited at least one year to make their first start (Carson Palmer, Philip Rivers and Jake Locker). Of the 28 remaining quarterbacks, there’s an even split: 14 started from Game 1 of their rookie year and 14 made their first starts sometime between Games 2 and 17. 

Of those 14 quarterbacks who didn’t start immediately, they on average made their first start in their team’s sixth game of the season, which for the Bears would be Oct. 15's trip to face the Baltimore Ravens. The median of that group is Week 5, which is the Bears' home Monday night game against the Minnesota Vikings. 

Interestingly enough, none of them started their first game immediately after a bye week or even with an extra day of rest (i.e. the week of a Monday Night Football game). The Bears have 11 days off between facing Green Bay on Thursday, Sept. 28 and Minnesota on Monday, Oct. 9. 

Quarterback Draft year (pick) First start game # QB rating
Tim Couch 1999 (1) 2 73.2
Donovan McNabb 1999 (2) 7 60.1
Akili Smith 1999 (3) 5 55.6
Michael Vick 2001 (1) 8 62.7
Joey Harrington 2002 (3) 3 59.9
Byron Leftwich 2003 (7) 3 73.0
Eli Manning 2004 (1) 10 55.4
Alex Smith 2005 (1) 5 40.8
Vince Young 2006 (3) 4 66.7
Matt Leinart 2006 (10) 5 74.0
JaMarcus Russell 2007 (1) 16 55.9
Blaine Gabbert 2011 (10) 3 65.4
Blake Bortles  2014 (3) 4 69.5
Jared Goff 2016 (1) 10 63.6

Most of these quarterbacks didn’t have success parachuting in during the middle of a season — the highest quarterback rating among the group (Matt Leinart’s 74.0) is lower than the average quarterback rating for the 14 players who were starters from Week 1 (75.4). The three quarterbacks who waited at least a year to start had an average quarterback rating of 81.1, though that’s a small sample size. 

Among the last 10 top-10-picked quarterbacks, only two made their starting debuts in the middle of a season — Blake Bortles in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ fourth game and Jared Goff in the Los Angeles’ Rams 10th game — while Cam Newton, Ryan Tannehill, Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston and Carson Wentz started from Week 1 (Locker is the 10th guy here and started his first game a year after being drafted). So Trubisky, in not starting immediately for the Bears, would be somewhat of an outlier in recent history.

The Bears will have to hope that Trubisky is an outlier, too, in terms of initial success among quarterbacks who make their debuts mid-season, too.