Chicago Bears

What has to happen for Mitch Trubisky to force a legitimate quarterback competition?

What has to happen for Mitch Trubisky to force a legitimate quarterback competition?

Mitch Trubisky isn’t buying that he created a quarterback controversy after his magnificent debut stood in stark contract to Mike Glennon’s zero (figuratively and, with his quarterback rating, literally) of a day. 

“Mike’s the starter,” Trubisky said after Thursday night’s preseason opener. “This is his team.”

This has been Glennon’s team from the moment he walked into Halas Hall back in March. The GM said so, the coach said so, and he said so — and then turned those words into actions that roundly impressed his offensive teammates. Throughout OTAs, minicamp and the first two weeks of training camp, Glennon has checked off every leadership box the Bears hoped to get from their starting quarterback. 

But, as we saw Thursday night, leadership doesn’t guarantee success. Glennon missed an open Kendall Wright and, under pressure, threw into a herd of Broncos defenders for a pick six on his second pass of the game. He couldn’t connect with Cam Meredith on a deep ball. If not for the spark Tarik Cohen provided on the Bears’ fourth possession, things could’ve actually been worse for Glennon’s stat line. 

The Bears, at every juncture since mid-March, have committed to making Glennon their starting quarterback. One televised calamity isn’t going to change that, not when the Bears have had seven padded practices with two more coming Sunday and Monday before breaking camp. 

“We kind of took it as two bad series,” left tackle Charles Leno Jr. said. “We got rid of those two series, were like alright, let’s find it, we got it and we kept moving on and we just gotta build from that.”

And here’s coach John Fox: “We aren’t going to change a lot after one game.”

If something does change, though, it’ll be because Trubisky clearly out-performed Glennon over the course of the entire preseason. In Bourbonnais, both Trubisky and Glennon have had good and bad days, and neither has really been able to string good practices together. 

Last weekend, Glennon sandwiched a good practice at Family Fest around some issues on Friday and Monday. Trubisky threw two interceptions during Tuesday’s practice, including one in a red zone drill on his last rep. 

What Trubisky did Thursday night carries more importance than a practice rep against his own team’s defense, but in the larger scope of the preseason, there isn’t much difference. 

“It’s kind of all practice to me, honestly, if it doesn’t count,” Trubisky said. “You want to go out there and win, but whenever I’m playing, whenever I’m competing, we treat everything like it’s a game whether it’s practice or preseason. Reps are reps.” 

Trubisky’s game wasn’t completely perfect. He missed a couple open receivers here and there, and he took a bad delay of game penalty, too. There’s still plenty for Trubisky to correct when he watches the tape and gets back to practice. 

More than anything, though, the biggest takeaway from Thursday night was that Trubisky can compete for the Bears’ starting quarterback job. But will he remains a separate question, one that’ll be answered by him (and Glennon) away from the televised spotlight for most of the next month. 

What you need to know from Bears practice: Kyle Long gets ankle checked out, expresses remorse for Monday fights

What you need to know from Bears practice: Kyle Long gets ankle checked out, expresses remorse for Monday fights

Coach John Fox said Kyle Long expressed “remorse” and was “embarrassed” after being kicked out of Monday’s final training camp practice in Bourbonnais for sparking a pair of skirmishes with teammates.

Long hasn’t been available to the media since his pair of physical outbursts on Monday, and wasn’t at practice Wednesday. Fox said Long was at a doctor’s appointment to get his surgically-repaired ankle checked out, but is expected to be back at practice on Thursday.

Long’s father, NFL on Fox analyst Howie Long, addressed his son’s practice ejection on the Rich Eisen Show on Tuesday.

“He’s gotta get it under control,” Long said. “It’s one of those things where you’re coming back from injury and you’re switching positions, maybe you’re not where you want to be right now.”

Fox said “everything’s fine” with Long after talking with him, and understood where he could be frustrated by slowly being eased back into full team activities during practice (and possibly not playing in any preseason games).

“I think any time a player's injured, they get something that they love taken away from them,” Fox said. “It's been a minute, there's some pain and suffering that goes along with it and I'm sure those are things. But we have a lot of resources here, Kyle knows he's loved here, by his teammates and by everyone in the building. He'll get through it and we talked about that and I think he feels confident in that.”

From the sick bay

Cornerback Prince Amukamara didn’t participate in practice Wednesday due to a strained hamstring and is day-to-day, Fox said. Wide receiver Markus Wheaton had surgery on his fractured pinkie, too, Fox said.

There was some good news for the Bears on Wednesday, though, with Jeremy Langford and Mark Sanchez both participating in practice. Langford isn’t quite back to full health after spraining his ankle during a walkthrough in July, but sounded confident he can get back to that level.

“I think my main thing is getting back to 100 percent and being the player that I am and can be, and the rest will take care of itself,” Langford said.

Mitch Trubisky isn't buying (or paying attention to) the hype around him

Mitch Trubisky isn't buying (or paying attention to) the hype around him

Mitch Trubisky has to at least be aware of the hype he created with his standout preseason debut last week, right? 

“I don’t know what hype you’re taking about,” Trubisky said. “I don’t pay attention to it.”

This is coming from a guy who earlier during training camp said he’s “so good” at tuning out the outside noise, whether it’s coming from social media or traditional media. But even if Trubisky was playing coy and is aware of what’s being said and debated about him, he didn’t sound like someone willing to buy into that hype.

“I think it’s just a small step in the right direction,” Trubisky said of his first preseason game. “I still got a lot of work to do. I was pleased with how I played, but plenty more mistakes are going on during practice for me that I need to work on and continue to improve in my game and make sure when I go out there that I’m doing my job to help other people do their job.”

The mistakes Trubisky identified he made in the Denver game are about what you’d expect from a rookie quarterback making the transition from a college spread offense to the NFL (like taking the wrong drop). The Broncos second/third/fourth-string defenses didn’t throw much at him, either, so a lot of his work on identifying blitzes and setting protections is having to happen in practice. 

So there is plenty on which for Trubisky to work during practices and the Bears’ remaining three preseason games. Like coach John Fox — who said after Thursday’s game he wouldn’t blow up the depth chart for one preseason game — Trubisky wasn’t putting a whole lot of emphasis on what he did against Denver, as good as it may have been. 

“I think it just showed me that I’m making progress, that I could go out there and lead and do my job like I wanted to show,” Trubisky said. “But it was just a small sample. It was the first game, and you just gotta continue to be consistent in reproducing it. that’s why we’re out here working and practicing.”