Chicago Bears

View from the Moon: Are Bears ready for playoffs?

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View from the Moon: Are Bears ready for playoffs?

Monday, Jan 3, 2011
9:18 AM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Cleaning out the notebook the morning after...

The one thought persisting through the attempts to assess what Sundays 10-3 loss at Green Bay means is that it may be exactly what the Bears needed: a swift shot to the chops. Or at least one side of the ball does.

The Bears continue to demonstrate that they are one of those teams that has more trouble coming off a good win than a bad loss. And this, for the offense in particular, was a bad loss. Dont excuse this as simply a game that didnt matter and players just going through the motions accordingly.

Lovie Smith playing the starters throughout was the correct call for a number of reasons, including one perhaps unintended. The performance of his offense should dispel any notion that Mike Martz, Jay Cutler, the offensive line and anyone this side of Matt Forte is really ready for playoff football.

On the very positive side, the defense held the ninth-ranked scoring offense (25.2 ppg.) to 10 points and eighth-ranked yardage generator (363 ypg.) to 284.

But as he did in too often 2009, Cutler stops being a quarterback and reverts to being a passer and a not very good one at that. Never confuse arm strength with judgment and throwing an interceptable pass from the opposing 24-yard line with your team leading 3-0 and your defense working on a string of five straight possessions not allowing a very good offense to cross midfield.

Perhaps more concerning should be the direction that the hand on the tiller steered the vessel.

First, it is somewhat misleading characterize Martz as a balanced offensive thinker because the Bears had more runs (238) than pass plays (231) over the previous eight games. That run total included 33 runs by Cutler; does anyone really suppose that Cutler was hearing Keeper in his helmet headset all those play-calls?

More to the point, the protection (and Cutler himself) allowed the quarterback to be sacked four times in the span of 11 plays in the third-fourth quarters. Against a blitzing defense, Martz was writing checks that his blockers couldnt cash.

Yet as he did in the New York Giants debacle that cost him Cutler for a game and a half, Martz kept throwing in spite of Forte and Chester Taylor combining for 65 rushing yards and 7.2 yards per pop in the first half.

A family member just leaned in and asked, Who do we want to root for next weekend in the wild-card games?

My answer is that it doesnt matter. As the Bears themselves have said, it really is all about what they do. Or as was the case Sunday, what they dont do.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

How the Bears view Mike Glennon, Mitch Trubisky and their QBs heading into training camp

How the Bears view Mike Glennon, Mitch Trubisky and their QBs heading into training camp

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. — Back in March, before free agency began, both John Fox and Ryan Pace said they wanted a quarterback who could make everyone around him better. So initially, the signing of Mike Glennon — a guy with a 5-13 record as a starter — didn’t seem to fit with that “raises all boats” approach. 

But in the four months since signing the former Tampa Bay Buccaneer to a three-year, $45 million contract, Fox and Pace have watched Glennon take command of the Bears’ offense with his presence at Halas Hall and motivation to work with his teammates away from the team facilities. What that means for the offense’s success in the regular season remains to be seen, but Glennon has done what the Bears hoped he would with the opportunity he’s been given.

“It’s very natural for him,” Pace said. “Whether it’s in our building, or in the meeting rooms, or it’s away from the building getting the guys together over the summer, doing things away from the building, those are important leadership traits that he has that kind of bring his teammates together. I think that’s very easy for him to do, very easy for his players to follow him.”

The Bears will hold their first training camp practice of 2017 on Thursday with Glennon as the unquestioned starting quarterback, Mark Sanchez as his backup and Mitch Trubisky — for now — a third-stringer. How Dowell Loggains and Dave Ragone split up practice reps over the coming weeks will be important to note, though, as they juggle preparing Glennon to win games while also developing the second overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft. 

Trubisky will have opportunities to compete with Sanchez and win the Bears’ backup job, but anything beyond that sounds like a longshot. When asked what could happen if Trubisky exits training camp or the preseason having out-played Glennon, Pace brushed away that thought as something that isn’t being considered. 

“Glennon’s here for a reason,” Pace said. “We evaluated him over the years. We’re very confident in him. Glennon’s our starter and we’re confident with that. 

“This thing is going to have to play out. But Mike Glennon is our starting quarterback and I don’t think now is the time to deal in hypotheticals going forward.”

Part of why Glennon has impressed as an offensive leader is because he’s been the unquestioned QB1 since signing in March. Pace called Glennon about 10 minutes after drafting Trubisky to reassure him he’d be the starter, and during OTAs in May, Glennon repeatedly said “this is my year” in comments that left no doubt about his mindset for 2017. 

“I don’t really feel like it’s hard because we’re going to have one guy, Mike,” running back Jordan Howard said when asked if having three new quarterbacks could complicate things for the rest of the offense.

Glennon understands, though, that he’ll be under a microscope not only during training camp but for the foreseeable future, with every mistake an opportunity for fans to clamor for Trubisky. 

“I think I’ve dealt with plenty of situations in my past where there’s comparisons, dating back to when I was in college (at N.C. State) and Russell Wilson left, people were comparing us all the time,” Glennon said. “When Jameis (Winston) got to Tampa, I was dealing with a similar situation. I know that’s going to happen but I don’t really pay attention to it. Within the building, within the organization, we’re just trying to get better as a team. Hopefully Mitch improves, I improve. Competition makes us both better.”

Eventually, the Bears will be Trubisky’s team. But for now, this is Glennon’s group to lead. He’s said all the right things and done well to connect with his teammates. 

Now, he’ll have to prove it on the field. 

“It’s just what I’ve dreamed of my whole life, to be a starting quarterback in the NFL and to enter the season as that guy,” Glennon said. “It’s what I’ve worked for. I’ve prepared for it ever since I was a kid and all the way through college and into the pros to get to this moment. So it’s going to be a great opportunity.”

Why this year feels different to Bears head coach John Fox: 'There's a lot of optimism'

Why this year feels different to Bears head coach John Fox: 'There's a lot of optimism'

The Bears are no different from the other 31 NFL teams in feeling optimistic about their 2017 prospects.

General manager Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox addressed the media prior to the Bears' first day of training camp and discussed that this season feels different.

Coming off a 3-13 record, the Bears had a busy offseason in moving on from both Jay Cutler and Alshon Jeffery, signing quarterback Mike Glennon and drafting the future face of the franchise in quarterback Mitch Trubisky.

With a defense that is just about set as far as starters go, as well as a veteran offensive line featuring three Pro Bowlers, Fox and the coaching staff will be doing less evaluating and more progressing, teaching and improving. That in itself should yield more results and, hopefully, wins.

"I don't like putting records on seasons but...there's a lot of optimism, both in that locker room and (with) the coaching staff around our building," Fox said. "This is the first training camp I've been to where I wasn't looking at hypotheticals, as far as who's going to be on the roster in certain positions. So where that takes us time will tell, and that's why we're here."

Stay with CSNChicago.com throughout the day and the rest of the season as we bring you the latest from Bourbonnais at Bears training camp.