Chicago Bears

Josh Sitton won’t 'go there' with Bears quarterbacks

Josh Sitton won’t 'go there' with Bears quarterbacks

Josh Sitton’s rookie season in Green Bay was the same year Aaron Rodgers finally became a starter in 2008. For eight years, he protected one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game and they won a Super Bowl together. Now he sees things from the Bears’ perspective at a position that’s constantly tormented them. 

We all know there’s no comparison between Sitton’s former signal-caller and this latest group the Bears are taking a swing with. The hope is the investment in Mitchell Trubisky will eventually pay off, if not with a Rodgers-like career (asking a lot), then one of reliability, who’s counted on to win games for them. Maybe even a Super Bowl or two. A top-ten type who regularly represents the Bears in Pro Bowls. It’s early, and Sitton wasn’t even involved in minicamp drills with the kid as the guard recovers from offseason surgery. So when I asked him a couple of weeks ago whether he at least sees the kind of signs that attracted Ryan Pace to Trubisky, he proceeded with caution. Can’t blame him. The question wasn’t about whether Trubisky could eventually “be” Rodgers, just whether the early raw material showed potential to be a guy who can take over the position for a decade.

“I’m not a scout and don’t claim to be," said Sitton. “But you can see the arm talent, the way he can move around in the pocket and get outside the pocket. It’s things like that you can really see.”

Unfortunately a Bears fan base that’s been waiting to win, and wants answers now (if not sooner), has to wait some more to see how this all plays out. Sitton’s only worried about 2017, and hopes to be ready to get back in the trenches in Bourbonnais four weeks from now. With so many changes, especially at that quarterback position, an offensive line that returns intact once Kyle Long is ready to go, must get in sync with Mike Glennon, Trubisky, and Mark Sanchez.

“Every play theres a certain amount of communication between the quarterback and the line," Sitton said. "Ya gotta get used to everybody’s cadence and how you communicate. It’s something that takes time as well.”

It’s Glennon’s year, though. Just ask him. And Sitton’s been a part of those numerous off-the-field outings with him to make the transition as smooth as possible, from sporting events, to concerts to barbecues.

“I think he’s been fitting in great," Sitton said. “He’s been great with the guys, setting things up, doing extra work on the field. I think he’s doing a hell of a job. It’s more about us just getting together, having a good time together and getting to know each other more.”

We now wait a little longer until we know more - on the field.

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.