LAKE FOREST, Ill. — The Chicago Bears offense has rebooted, and there will be a noticeable difference with rookie Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback instead of Mike Glennon.
“It can be smooth, it can be rough like any player you throw out there,” Bears head coach John Fox said. “I think there’ll be some ups and downs, I’m sure.
“You go back to (rookie running back) Tarik Cohen. He’s had some successes and he probably has a few plays he’d like to have back, as well. But like any young player, they get to define that. And we’re about to find out Monday night.”
The Bears dumped quarterback Mike Glennon due to eight turnovers in the last three games, despite signing him to $18 million. It might seem a short leash considering Glennon was supposed to get the full season in the original plan.
Five interceptions, two blowout losses, three lost fumbles and the 29th-ranked scoring offense (15.2 points a game) helped to drastically shorten Glennon’s time as starter.
“I mean, Mike gave us everything he had,” Fox said. “He prepared hard. It wasn’t a lack of preparation. He worked very hard at it. Just after four games didn’t go quite as well as everybody wanted and now we’re taking a look at Mitch.”
It’s possible their willingness to switch so quickly after calling Glennon their quarterback may speak to the urgency facing Fox’s coaching staff, with a contract expiring after next season.
Then again, it also says they’re simply tired of predictable, mistake-prone football and are willing to risk using their first starting rookie quarterback since Kyle Orton in 2005.
“With him (Trubisky) being mobile, obviously there will be a lot of scramble plays, a lot more scramble plays than we had with Mike,” wide receiver Markus Wheaton said. “It’s more opportunity for us to get open.
“I think with them putting Mitch in there, it’s kind of like hitting the reset button and starting over.”
The Bears may need every bit of Trubisky’s mobility considering Monday night’s opponent is the Minnesota Vikings.
“I think with this extra time to prepare for the Minnesota Vikings, the timing works out pretty well, too, as far as his preparation,” Fox said. “Will he make mistakes? I’m sure. But I think he’s ready for it and we’ll see how he responds. I think he’ll respond well.”
Trubisky walks right into a firestorm against the Vikings, who love getting in quarterbacks’ faces with blitzes up the middle.
“They’re going to bring us a bunch of different looks,” Trubisky said. “From what I’ve seen, they’re a very good defense that seems to be solid at every position. You don’t see a lot of weaknesses and you don’t see a lot of busted coverages or missed assignments. They’re very disciplined. They’re very well coached.
“And they have a lot of great players. So we need to come in, do what we do well and stay within ourselves in the offense and take care of the football. If we do that, I think we’ll have a chance. But they’re really good on that side of the ball.”
And then there’s the pressure of making a debut in prime time.
“You only get nervous or feel pressure, when you’re not prepared for the situation or you don’t know what you’re doing,” Trubisky said. “So my job is to just study the game plan and once I get in there just go back to my instincts, play the game I know how to play.”
Trubisky is trying not to step on Glennon’s toes while moving past him. He tip-toed around a description of how he can change the offense.
“Mike is able to do a little more complex, intricate things within the offense and then I’ll do a little more basic things – move the pocket a little bit more or just simple things that allow me to play to my strengths and move through progressions and make plays on my own,” Trubisky said. “But my job is all about being a leader in the huddle and at the line of scrimmage and then just getting the ball to my playmakers because I’ve got a lot of great teammates with a lot of talent.
“I just need to get them the ball and allow them to trust me to do my job.”
Many of the problems facing the Bears haven’t changed. They still have a receiver group of castoff players, and lack an established threat.
“The reality is we’re 1-3 and I still like this football team, and we’ve got a chance to rebound and do something about it,” Fox said.
–Despite being dumped after a quarter of the season when it was “his year,” now backup quarterback Mike Glennon came across as very understanding of the process. He didn’t use the obvious crutch about the offense missing top receivers Kevin White and Cameron Meredith due to injuries.
Glennon will be the backup against Minnesota, ahead of Mark Sanchez.
“The coaches, they’ve all talked to me,” Glennon said. “Just having the guys on the team, you know, I think you always try to have perspective on things.
“Obviously not what I wanted. Not what I had hoped for. Not what I envisioned. But you look around the country, the world, and you see what’s going on, and that kind of brings perspective back into things. I think I always try to (have) that perspective on just the grand scheme of life, even in disappointing times.”
–Wide receiver Markus Wheaton isn’t surprised to see Mitchell Trubisky gain the coaches’ confidence enough to become starter. He’s seen improvement from Trubisky in various things as the two worked on the practice squad.
“His confidence, his accuracy and you can tell he enjoys doing what he does,” Wheaton said, listing areas of improvement. “He’s always the last person off the field, every day, him and the quarterback coach are always out there.
“I try to steal reps with him after practice, usually, but they’re out there usually too long for me to stay as long as they stay. They’re out there I don’t know how long. But they’re always getting reps after practice and he’s always trying to grow as a player.”
–Comparisons between Trubisky and Deshaun Watson have been popular because the Bears traded up to get Trubisky in the draft when they could have held their ground and chose Watson.
When Watson led a 57-14 win for Houston over Tennessee Sunday, it caught Trubisky’s attention. But living up to Watson’s accomplishments is not something on his mind. Instead, he calls it typical of what the league is expecting from young quarterbacks now.
“It doesn’t put pressure on me,” Trubisky said. “Everyone has a different game and everyone has a different situation. That didn’t surprise me at all because I know what kind of player and person Deshaun is. The big stage isn’t going to faze him or myself.
“So we’re in this new era where young quarterbacks are expected to come in and produce right away like veterans have. It’s a little different. But I think the type of players there are now coming out, they’re able to handle it. So it doesn’t surprise me that (Watson is) having the success he is because I know what kind of a guy he is. He’s a great player.”
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