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.