Ryan Pace

Why Mike Glennon isn’t putting any extra pressure on himself heading into second preseason game

Why Mike Glennon isn’t putting any extra pressure on himself heading into second preseason game

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. — Ideally for Mike Glennon, it already would be Saturday night and he’d be warming up in Glendale, Ariz., in his first game opportunity to move on from Thursday night. But he didn’t sound like someone stewing on the pick six he threw or his 0.0 quarterback rating that added fuel to a much-asked question since: Is there a quarterback controversy in Chicago?

“Kind of the good and the bad of the preseason is, that was one quarter and if it was a full game, hopefully we would’ve responded, and then it’s not quite as big of a deal,” Glennon said of his four ineffective series Thursday. “But when it’s a preseason game and that’s all you do, it kind of leaves you with a sour taste in your mouth. So it’s good to get out here at practice and it’ll be good to get to Arizona on Saturday.”

Coach John Fox liked how Glennon responded in practice after Thursday, and while his weekend wasn’t completely clean — Prince Amukamara picked him off in seven-on-seven Sunday — it wasn’t bad, either. The Bears are still rolling ahead with Glennon as QB1, with Mitch Trubisky’s breakout preseason debut not changing much, at least, not yet.

“I don't really pay that much attention,” Fox said. “You know, we're excited about (Trubisky), so I imagine that people on the outside are excited.”

Glennon, too, isn’t searching his name in Google News or on Twitter to see how those outside of the locker room and front office are framing him and Trubisky.

“I just really don’t get online,” Glennon said. “I watched the preseason games but I just avoid the possible distraction of hearing what people may say. The only thing that matters are the coaches and the players in the locker room and what they have to say. That’s where my focus is.

“… I understand as writers you guys have a job to do. There may be some speculation but I don’t know.”

That even-keeled mentality is helping Glennon not put any added pressure on himself heading into Saturday night’s game, even if ideally he could flush Game 1 sooner than this coming weekend.

But having the right mentality and having success on the field proved to be two different things for Glennon in his first preseason game with the Bears. Glennon said he thought mental preparation was good, but he just didn’t execute well enough. Eventually — and, ideally, by this weekend — he’ll have to produce as the starting quarterback of the Bears.

“There are going to be days like (Thursday),” Fox said on Saturday. “It’s life. So we’ll just grab the bull by the horns and go about trying to get better. It was our first preseason game. Our whole first unit didn’t do well. We had an errant shotgun snap. We didn’t block real well. We didn’t ID some things like we’d expect. It’s like anywhere I’ve ever been as far as first preseason game with a lot of new guys out there, they look at the film. They’ll get better for it.”

One preseason game won't blow up Bears' depth chart, but boy was Mitch Trubisky's coming-out party fun

One preseason game won't blow up Bears' depth chart, but boy was Mitch Trubisky's coming-out party fun

Who knew you could have this much fun watching football in August?

At the outset of a season most prognosticators have predicted will go poorly for the Bears, the buzz rapidly soared to peak levels Thursday night. That’s thanks to Mitch Trubisky, the No. 2 overall draft pick and the guy Ryan Pace’s front office hopes will be quarterbacking for a very long time on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Here’s the thing, though: They probably didn’t plan for Trubisky to be quarterbacking quite so soon.

Thursday night was supposed to be the first dip in the water for Trubisky as the one-day heir to Mike Glennon, the high-priced free agent signed this offseason when Trubisky was just a gleam in Pace’s eye. Instead, the preseason debut against the Denver Broncos was Trubisky’s coming-out party.

After Glennon failed to exorcise memories of his predecessor, Jay Cutler, by throwing a pick six on his second pass of the game, Trubisky led three straight scoring drives. He completed a touchdown pass to a wide-open Victor Cruz and nearly made it two scoring tosses with a completion to Rueben Randle that left the Bears a half a yard shy of the goal line. Benny Cunningham punched it in to make it back-to-back touchdown drives for Trubisky’s offense, and a field goal was the result of the next march down the field. Even the last drive of the game, after the Broncos took a late lead, was dramatic, with Trubisky & Co. marching to just outside the red zone before time ran out.

Trubisky, who completed his first 10 passes, finished 18-for-25 for 166 yards and a touchdown. And no interceptions.

Sports talk radio hosts around the city couldn’t have written this any better. Here comes the quarterback controversy.

Of course, it’s all hyperbole for the time being. Fantasy, really, and speculation at best. One exhibition game into Trubisky’s career — against a bunch of defensive reserves, it should be noted — won’t blow up the depth chart. It won’t unseat Glennon from the starting job. It also won’t be the be-all-end-all definition of Trubisky’s play. There will be three more preseason games in which the rook sees action — the Bears want you to remember that.

“Our depth chart is not going to change after one game, in particular after a preseason game,” head coach John Fox said after the game. “You have to look at a lot of different things. We aren’t going to change a lot after one game.”

“It’s all preseason stuff,” Cruz said. “There’s still room for growth and to get better and things like that. But he’s got a good body of film tonight to hang his hat on and be proud of and to build from. I think that’s the biggest thing is letting him know, hey, there’s a lot more learning to do, there’s a lot more things that we need to get better at, all of us as a unit and we just gotta take it one day at a time. But it’s a good start for him.”

[MORE: Twitter explodes over Mitch Trubisky's debut

Not long ago, in the very early days of training camp, the Bears talked in terms of Trubisky’s upcoming season as a redshirt year, one whole 16-game season’s worth of clipboard duty for the guy who will someday take over. There’s maturation, development and so much more on the docket for Trubisky. He can’t possibly be ready to go this quickly, right?

But boy did he look a whole lot better than Glennon on Thursday night.

Glennon had that hideous interception into triple coverage. He was constantly throwing to blanketed receivers. He stood in the pocket like a statue. And he had a ball snapped over his head that ensued to cartoonishly bounce around the field before ending up a recovered fumble by the Broncos. All of that, obviously, wasn’t all Glennon’s fault. The Broncos’ first-team defense was better than the Bears’ first-team offense, something that would’ve surprised no one before the game started.

“Obviously not the start we wanted at all,” Glennon said. “I didn’t necessarily play well, but it’s early in the preseason. We’re still a month out, a lot to improve on. I’m looking forward to getting back to work.

“I don’t think we need to (overanalyze) a first preseason game or one quarter of it. Was it what we wanted? Absolutely not. It was one quarter of the first preseason game. It’s definitely fixable.”

Trubisky, though, was a completely different sight to behold. After Mark Sanchez — also still ahead of Trubisky on the depth chart, by the way — helmed a pair of forgettable series, Trubisky took over and flashed mobility, found open receivers, established a nice connection with Deonte Thompson and most importantly produced points.

“I appreciate the amount of reps I got,” Trubisky said. “I think that’s what I need at this point. The more situations I can go over, the more reps I can get, it’ll help me to improve my game and continue to get better and better. I just wanted to show what I could do tonight, and luckily I was able to get a lot of reps to really get comfortable.”

“We were going crazy on the sideline,” running back Tarik Cohen said. “I didn’t want him to get an incompletion. I was hyped for him. He was 10-for-10, and I was like ‘Oh yeah, he’s about to go perfect the whole game.’ His passer rating would be, like, 158.3. I was keeping stats for him. And then I don’t want to hype him too much when he comes to the sideline, so I gave him like a slight dap like, ‘You’re doing good out there.’”

Just like Glennon shouldn’t be blamed for all the first-team offense’s failings, Trubisky shouldn’t be dubbed the sole reason his unit performed so well. But you didn’t need to be football’s greatest mind to recognize that one guy had a great night and the other guy didn’t.

As Fox said, you could tell why Trubisky was the No. 2 pick in the draft. Maybe Trubisky showed fans Thursday why Pace made that much-debated draft-day trade. Maybe they’re finally on board.

“I’ve been watching him for two months,” Fox said, asked if he was as surprised as everyone else by Trubisky’s performance. “And then I watched probably another three months of college tape. Obviously, we picked him where we picked him because we felt pretty good about his abilities.”

As mentioned, and as Fox spoke to, one preseason game isn’t going to have dramatic effects on the Bears’ depth chart. No matter how much every Bears fan on Twitter and every radio host in the city is already clamoring for Trubisky’s ascent, the plan likely won’t change too much — yet. Glennon will be given plenty of opportunity to right the ship. Trubisky will be given plenty of time to develop.

But there was something Thursday that was just different. It was football in August, but it was must-see TV. Trubisky turned a narrative of patience into one of immediacy. And while there’s very little chance he’ll trot out on the team’s first drive against the Atlanta Falcons in a month to open the regular season, Trubisky showed what he could one day bring to the Bears.

And it was pretty damn fun to watch.

What you need to know from Bears camp: Kevin White impresses Victor Cruz

What you need to know from Bears camp: Kevin White impresses Victor Cruz

1. It wasn't much of a practice: Just as the Bears were completing pre-practice stretching on the campus' southeast practice field, weather warning sirens went off.  The Bears went indoors to Olivet Nazarane's athletic complex, shoulder pads came off and the team went into walk-through mode, which was supposed to be Friday, when the Bears will now have a longer practice. Unfortunately for the fans who traveled Thursday, Friday's practice will remain closed to the public. It's the first time in this camp there was a cancellation due to Mother Nature.

2. A corner is back: Prince Amukamara was back a day after the cornerback's wife had emergency surgery, and she came out okay.  "She's a trooper. It's funny because the night before she was telling me her stomach hurts, and I told her one of my teammates (Markus Wheaton) had the same thing and they had to take his appendix out.  She said if it still feels that way, she's going to the ER and she would end up getting operated on (like Wheaton, an appendectomy)." Wheaton told NFL Network's Stacey Dales he expects to only miss two weeks after surgery early Sunday morning.

3. Long's road back continues: With Josh Sitton returning to practice Wednesday, Kyle Long was on the basketball floor for the walk-through as we slowly works his way back from ankle surgery. That means the projected starting offensive line was intact for the first time this summer. "Kyle's taking it a day at a time, getting moire comfortable with that ankle" said John Fox. "It's kind of like lifting weights after time off, you're a little sore. He's on target and we're pleased with his progress."

4. Game Anxious: Talking with some players the last couple of days, we've reached the one week point in camp, and you sense they can't wait for another week to pass to line up in the preseason opener next Thursday at Soldier Field versus Denver. But they still have to get through practices Friday, Saturday (at Soldier Field), Monday and Tuesday before they can go after an opponent.

5. Cruz on Kev: A day after some miscommunication or misperception crawled out of the wide receiver room in how Kevin White's viewing of his college tape was portrayed, Victor Cruz was asked a couple of times about White's ability to block out the so-called outside noise and channel his focus. Cruz insisted he's impressed by how White goes about his work and knows White's feeling about two injury-plagued seasons all too well. While White has been healthy enough for just four games his first two seasons, Cruz was limited to six games in 2014 and 2015 because of calf and knee injuries.

6. Cooperating coordinators: Friday marks the first time the media will have a chance to talk with Coordinators Vic Fangio, Dowell Loggains and Jeff Rodgers since rookie minicamp in May.