Bears training camp preview: 3 burning questions for the quarterbacks

Bears training camp preview: 3 burning questions for the quarterbacks

With training camp starting in just over a week, CSN Chicago’s Chris Boden and JJ Stankevitz are looking at three burning questions for each of the Bears position units heading into Bourbonnais. Today’s group: The quarterbacks, which have more questions than answers right now. 

1. When will Mitch Trubisky start his first game?

This will be the central question surrounding the Bears until a date is set for the Quarterback Who Was Promised to start. Will it be this year’s season opener? Unlikely, given the constant reassurances that this is Mike Glennon’s year. Could it be sometime in the middle or end of the season? Probably, if Trubisky picks up Dowell Loggains’ offense quickly and the Bears’ offense is mired in mediocrity. Could it be in 2018? Likely, unless Glennon shows something he didn’t with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and earns a chance to stick around for the second year of his three-year contract. The Bears’ ideal scenario is to give Trubisky plenty of time to develop, so when he does become the team’s starting quarterback, he can immediately thrive. That’s why the Bears committed to at least one year and as many as three years of Glennon a month and a half before drafting their quarterback of the future. 

“I’ve made a lot of progress,” Trubisky said back in June. “I’d say I’m getting better every day. I’m getting a little bit more comfortable every day. I’m studying a lot. I’ve put in more work on this playbook than I’ve put into anything in my life. And yeah, it’s coming along great. I’m getting more and more comfortable. I’ve seen strides in different areas every day.”

2. Who’s the backup?

This is a separate question from the first one, even if the answer to it is Trubisky. There are a couple of mitigating factors here heading into training camp — first, the knee injury Mark Sanchez suffered during OTAs, and second, the fact Trubisky as of Monday afternoon still has yet to sign a contract. Sanchez is expected to be ready for the beginning of training camp, and there haven’t been any alarm bells going off about Trubisky yet with still over a week until the Bears’ first practice in Bourbonnais. But who the team’s backup will be on Sept. 10 is a fascinating question: If it’s Trubisky, does that mean the coaching staff feels he’s ready to start? Or if it’s Sanchez (or Connor Shaw, for that matter), does that mean Trubisky may not see game action until November or December at the earliest? 

“A lot has been made of our quarterback situation, whether it’s Mike Glennon, Mark Sanchez or even Mitch Trubisky,” coach John Fox said. “The only guy there that was here a year ago was Connor Shaw. We need to get those guys caught up but we’ve got good competition between guys that are good teammates, good people and they are working very very hard.”

3. What do the Bears have in Mike Glennon?

Let’s put this another way: What if Glennon turns out to be a solid, productive quarterback? It's unlikely a guy who’s only thrown 11 passes since the end of the 2014 season and who wasn’t able to hang on to his job — twice — with bad Tampa Bay teams could be an upper-echelon quarterback, but what if he roughly mirrors Andy Dalton with a low interception total and high completion percentage on a six-win team? Does that earn Glennon another opportunity to start with the Bears, or do they still move on from him after the season to clear the path for Trubisky? This would be a good problem for the Bears to have, of course. On the flip side, how much rope does Glennon get if his numbers are similar to the ones he had in Tampa Bay (59.4 completion percentage, 30 TDs, 15 INTs in 630 passing attempts) and the Bears struggle early in the season? If Glennon gets benched, then we go right back to trying to answer both questions No. 1 and No. 2 here. But the way the Bears have presented their quarterbacks, the Glennon question needs to be figured out before we get any answers about Trubisky.

"I’m here, this is my year, and the meetings are geared around me,” Glennon said. “Am I going to help Mitch as much as I can? Definitely. I’m going to be a great teammate. But my job is to win football games for the Chicago Bears. And that’s where my head’s at.”

Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman saved a man's life at an airport

Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman saved a man's life at an airport

Jerrell Freeman played hero at an Austin airport on Sunday.

The Bears linebacker was grabbing a bite to eat before his flight to head back to Chicago for training camp when he noticed a man choking.

Freeman said an older lady tried to perform the Heimlich maneuver on the man but didn't have enough strength. That's when Freeman stepped in, and after a couple attempts, saved his life.

“I grabbed him and tried to squeeze the life out of him,” Freeman told the Chicago Tribune. “You’ve got to push in and up. So I did that and he started throwing up what he was choking on. I asked him if he was all right and he shook his head like ‘No!’

“I grabbed him again and hit him again with it. And when I put him down the second time, his eyes got big. He was like, ‘Oh, my god! I think you just saved my life, man!’ It was crazy.”

Freeman tweeted a picture after it happened:

Freeman, 31, said he had never done the Heimlich maneuver before, but his mom is a nurse and had talked to him about it. He just did what he heard, and thankfully it worked.

Bears training camp preview: 3 burning questions for coaching staff

Bears training camp preview: 3 burning questions for coaching staff

With Bears players reporting for training camp Wednesday, CSN Chicago’s Chris Boden and JJ Stankevitz have been spending the last two weeks looking at three burning questions at each position group. The series concludes with Boden’ s look at the coaching staff.

1. Can John Fox find a balance between necessary snaps, and staying healthy?

Unless he’s practicing this team every day (he’s not) and hitting every day (he’s not doing that, either), a coach really can’t be blamed for injuries. That out-of-his-hands factor has kept his first two years from a true evaluation, yet every team has to deal with them. He and Ryan Pace have been particularly hamstrung (pun intended) by the fact so many key, high draft picks/building blocks and impact free agent signings (see Pernell McPhee, Danny Trevathan, Eddie Royal) have spent significant time on the sidelines. 

Fox tweaked the workout schedule in Bourbonnais with more consistent start times (all in the 11 a.m. hour), mixing in off-days and walk-throughs. Yet there are heavy competitions to sift through, particularly at wide receiver, cornerback, and safety, and projected starters must learn to get used to each other (and the offense get used to Mike Glennon) so that miscommunication is at a minimum. The Falcons, Buccaneers, Steelers and Packers won’t wait for them to get on the same page over the first 19 days of the regular season.

2. How does Dowell Loggains divide up quarterback snaps?

His starting quarterback basically hasn’t played since 2014 and is trying to master a new system, working with new receivers. All while Mike Glennon tries to be “all systems go”-ready on Sept. 10. Loggains is also in charge of developing the quarterback of the future, who never previously worked under center or called a huddle. If Mitch Trubisky isn’t the backup to start the season, Mark Sanchez, who missed all of minicamp with a knee injury, has to gain enough of a comfort level with the playbook and his receivers to slide in in the event of an emergency. These practices usually top out at about two hours, maybe a bit longer. Will there basically be two practices going on at the same time? If so, how can Loggains and the offensive assistants not overdo it for those at other positions?

3. Are Vic Fangio and Leonard Floyd tied at the hip?

The defensive coordinator still oversees all the position groups, but will focus particularly on the oustide linebackers and the prized pupil, Leonard Floyd. Fangio says he liked what he’s seen of the 2016 first-round pick this off-season, once he recovered from his second concussion. But he said all the bumps, bruises, strains, pulls, and bell-ringing didn’t mean anything more than an incomplete rookie grade. At this point, he’d probably like to be joined to Floyd’s hip in Bourbonnais, because that means he’ll be staying on the practice field, learning. “3b” in this category would be Ed Donatell sorting through a long list of young defensive backs to find the right pieces to keep for the present and future, in addition to finding four starters who’ll take the ball away a lot better than they’ve done the past two seasons.