Here’s a news flash: In the modern day NFL, you cannot win without a franchise quarterback.
Here’s another news flash: Mike Glennon is not a franchise quarterback.
So why are the Chicago Bears, on their way to missing the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season, sticking with him? Or, put another way, why isn’t head coach John Fox willing to see what he’s got in Mitchell Trubisky, the quarterback the Bears traded up to get with the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft?
After an impressive preseason, Trubisky went back to the bench in favor of Glennon, whom Chicago foolishly awarded a three-year, $45 million contract – including $18.5 million guaranteed – in March. Despite an 0-2 start, including an embarrassing 29-7 thrashing last week to Tampa Bay in which Glennon threw a pair of interceptions, Fox said he’s sticking with the veteran.
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Whether or not the 23-year-old Trubisky is the long-term answer in Chicago remains to be seen, but this much we know: Glennon is not. So why not see what they have in Trubisky, who started just one season in college.
Ask around the league and the one consensus for evaluating a young quarterback is to see him in a regular-season game. How does Trubisky react to the speed of it, to different blitz looks, to success and, more important, to adversity? At this point, not even the Bears know how Trubisky will respond. Maybe he will be as bad as Glennon.
Or maybe he will surprise everyone and not only make the right throws right away, but avoid the bad ones as well. Maybe he will think and feel the game better in Week 14 than he did in Week 5 because he was playing in Week 5. To find out, Trubisky just needs to play football. He needs to make mistakes and learn the “why” behind those mistakes so that he can build a database in his mind.
To be sure, plenty of rookie quarterbacks have been thrown into the fire when they weren’t ready and never recovered. But then there’s Peyton Manning, who threw 28 interceptions his rookie season, or Troy Aikman, who went 0-11 in his first season in Dallas. They turned out OK.
Trubisky will make mistakes. He will make mistakes as a rookie starter or as a guy who doesn’t start until Year 3. Either way, Trubisky’s growth process is being held up while he’s standing on the sideline holding a clipboard and listening to a headset on Sundays.
What matters right now is gaining invaluable game repetitions for a young man who started only 13 collegiate games while running a spread offense and attempting 572 passes. What matters is gaining experience that cannot be simulated in the most physical practice or even the NFL preseason.
To be sure, every situation for rookie quarterbacks is different, but the recent infusion of rookies who have sustained immediate success is hard to argue with. Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, Derek Carr, Carson Wentz and Jameis Winston all started 16 games as rookies. If the Bears think Trubisky is on par with the names on this list – and trading up to get him with the No. 2 overall pick, they better believe he is – then what’s the hold up?
Despite a limited sample size, Trubisky’s mobility, strong arm and capacity to inject a dose of much needed hope into the entire franchise would all be on display.
Trubisky is not only the future of the Chicago Bears, but he is the present as well.
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Follow Jordan Schultz on Twitter @Schultz_Report