Chicago Bears

For Mitch Trubisky and the Bears' QBs, things remain status quo...for now

For Mitch Trubisky and the Bears' QBs, things remain status quo...for now

Is there a way for Mitch Trubisky to take first-team snaps in Sunday’s all-important preseason game No. 3 without slighting Mike Glennon?

“I think probably not,” coach John Fox said. “… We’ll evaluate that and see where that goes.”

That’s not a definite answer, but Fox also didn’t totally dodge the question posed to him after Monday’s practice at Halas Hall. And it doesn't mean the Bears won't necessarily still give Trubisky some first-team work. 

Fox, though, stressed earlier in his press conference that he and his coaching staff haven’t talked about what the plan will be for Glennon, Trubisky and Mark Sanchez Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. 

“We’re very, very early,” Fox said. “We’re not even into preparation for the Titans yet. We’ll meet on that. We’ll talk, and we’ll keep you guys posted.”

Trubisky, as expected and for the second consecutive game, was the third Bears’ quarterback to take the field Saturday night against Arizona, taking over for Sanchez after the veteran backup played one series. Whether or not Sanchez plays on Sunday is another question, but the 2,285 passes he’s attempted in his seven-year career (compared to 630 for Glennon and zero for Trubisky) mean the Bears feel comfortable cutting into his snaps to give more to Glennon and/or Trubisky. 

Testing Trubisky — who’s largely played with and faced third and fourth stringers — with running a first-team offense against first-team defense could provide an important evaluation in his development. Fox, though, has said that getting Trubisky reps, no matter with what team, is the most important thing the team can do for his growth during training camp. 

Trubisky was hit hard a few times against Arizona behind the Bears’ third-string offensive line and played mostly with undrafted rookie Joshua Rounds as his running back. While he made a couple of poor throws — Tanner Gentry’s offensive pass interference probably prevented an interception — he finished his night having completed six of eight passes for 60 yards with a touchdown. 

“I thought again he showed good toughness,” Fox said. “I think he took a couple shots. They did a couple things different we hadn’t seen, as far as (our) protection. But I thought he showed good accuracy, probably mainly a couple decisions that he’d probably change. But I thought all in all he did well.”

The Bears and Steelers teamed up for one of the rarest sequences in recent NFL history

The Bears and Steelers teamed up for one of the rarest sequences in recent NFL history

In addition to being one of the most ridiculous plays in NFL history, the end of the first half of Bears-Steelers Sunday afternoon was also a sequence rarely seen in the league.

The Steelers lined up for a field goal attempt, but Bears special teams ace Sherrick McManus blocked it. Bears corner Marcus Cooper returned the blocked kick, but fumbled right before reaching the endzone, setting the Bears up on the 1-yard line with an untimed down. They lined up for a touchdown attempt, but a false start penalty brought them back five yards and left John Fox to call for a field goal instead of a potential seven points.

That meant back-to-back official plays in the game were field goal attempts, something that has only happened six times since 1982, according to QuirkyResearch.com.

The first such incident came in the NFL on Nov. 25, 1993 when the Miami Dolphins took on the Dallas Cowboys. If that date seems familiar, it's because it was the day Leon Lett became infamous for his second boneheaded mistake. Earlier in his career (in Super Bowl XXVII), Lett showboated as he was nearing the goal line and the ball was smacked out of his hand, just like Cooper:

This particular incident in 1993 gave the Dolphins a second opportunity at a field goal, which Pete Stoyanovich converted.

The next back-to-back field goal occurrence came Sept. 10, 2001 when Denver Broncos kicker Jason Elam attempted a 65-yard field goal, but missed, setting up a 63-yard attempt by New York Giants kicker Owen Pochman with one second left.

Two NFL teams combined for back-to-back field goals again Sept. 29, 2002; Nov. 5, 2006 and Nov. 14, 2010. The last two were blocked field goals that were returned to set up a field goal for the opposite team. 

The 2002 incident was the result of the Steelers attempting a game-winning kick on second down in overtime, which was subsequently blocked. The Steelers recovered the ball and attempted another field goal for the win.

Bears still waiting for offensive line to come into focus

Bears still waiting for offensive line to come into focus

Kyle Long played all 62 offensive snaps the Bears took in his first game since Nov. 13, 2016, so he reported to Halas Hall on Monday feeling “about as sore today as I was prior to anything surgically," as he described it. 

“It’s a good thing," Long said. "It's something you miss when you're not in it. It's funny, I was talking to my dad and he's like ‘well are you sore?’ I was like yeah, and he's like well that's a good thing. It's one of the things I miss, being sore after a game feeling like you've done something. It feels good to be in here after a win."

Considering Long struggled to make it through practices last week as he worked to get back into football shape, that he played every single offensive snap was a little surprising to coach John Fox. 

“He played probably a lot longer than I thought was possible as far as I think he was probably pretty gassed afterwards,” Fox said. “I thought he played very well, like our whole offensive line. Was it perfect all the time? No. But whenever you can run the ball as many times and as effectively as we did, I think it starts up front. So I think he played well.”

Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen combined to average more than six yards per carry in Sunday’s 23-17 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Steelers behind an offensive line that got Long back, but still had to deal with more next men up. With Josh Sitton out with a rib injury and Tom Compton sidelined with a hip injury, and Hroniss Grasu injuring his hand in the first half, the Bears had to shuffle the interior of their offensive line for the second consecutive game. That meant Cody Whitehair moved back to center and Bradley Sowell replaced him at left guard. 

The interior of the Bears’ offensive line was circled as a strength prior to this season, but the Sitton-Whitehair-Long trio hasn’t played a game together yet. Sitton was listed as a “limited participant” on the Bears’ injury report for a theoretical practice on Monday (the NFL requires teams playing a Thursday night game to release participation, even if they don’t practice the day after a game). Compton was a full participant, so the Bears should at least have him back at Lambeau Field. Fox would only say Grasu, who was listed as a limited participant Monday, "has a hand" and wouldn't detail the extent of his injury. 

Until the Bears’ offense is able to at least threaten to stretch its passing game downfield, opposing defenses can continue to cheat up and scheme to stop the run. That makes the offensive line’s job harder, though getting back to full health could help lead to more games like the one the Bears had against Pittsburgh. 

"It’s extremely tough, but you gotta get it done," left tackle Charles Leno said of trying to run block when opposing teams know what's coming. "You gotta get your job done. You gotta find a way. You gotta dig down deep and get your job done and that’s what we did."