Wringing out the notebook after the Bears’ 20-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings… .
The criticism the Bears are taking in some quarters for taking four regular-season weeks to switch from Mike Glennon to Mitch Trubisky is a little difficult to understand. A coaching staff desperately in need of wins NOW had a decision to make at the end of preseason, and the nod went to Glennon because he was judged to give the Bears the best chance to win right then. The rookie kept on developing as scout-team QB, and he was eventually going to get the job unless Glennon played to his anticipated level, which he didn’t.
This wasn’t exactly the Trubisky “plan” but sometimes things end up as they were supposed to, just their own pace instead of the anticipated one.
And coaches seldom make decisions that aren’t in the best interest of winning, even if public outcry is for something and someone else. It once took three weeks for the Bears and Mike Ditka to quit starting Bob Avellini and get to Jim McMahon. Last year the Bears staff never took leave of its senses, any more than it did last year when it took three games for coaches to decide that Jordan Howard was their bell-cow running back. Howard admitted this year that he just hadn’t been near NFL shape when the 2016 season started and it took until Game 4 before he was physically ready.
The timing of the QB switch is interesting – not for how long it took, but more so how quickly it occurred. Consider it part of a bigger picture organizationally than just the quarterback position.
Glennon’s four games as starter may have seemed like a football eternity. But general manager Ryan Pace, who’d lavished a three-year, $45 million contract on Glennon, did not stand in the way of a change that effectively ended any chance that Glennon could reach some sort of equilibrium recover from his debacles. More than a few GM egos have compounded one mistake with another, forcing staffs to stay the course with a player. Ownership has undoubtedly had its questions about the signing, but Pace’s priority was for cutting his team’s losses, literally and figuratively, not proving he was “right” on Glennon.
And the Bears are far from the first team to mis-evaluate a backup quarterback and overpay to bring him in as a starter-wannabe: Packers backup Matt Flynn to Seattle in 2012, a few years after the Kansas City Chiefs gave Matt Cassel $28 million guaranteed as part of a six-year, $62 million contract after trading to get him from the New England Patriots.
Some sentiment had existed upstairs at Halas Hall for opening this season with Trubisky, an indication of just how accelerated his growth had been through training camp and the preseason. But Glennon didn’t lose the job in preseason, and in that case it made sense to start the more experienced quarterback, fully expecting Trubisky to continue developing, which he clearly did.
The benching does all but project to an end for Glennon’s time in Chicago after this season. His current 2018 base of $12.5 million is way too much for a No. 2 even if there were football reasons to keep him. An offset is in place for the $2.5 million roster bonus due on the third day of the league year, meaning whatever he signs for elsewhere reduces by that amount the Bears owe him.
The Glennon benching stamped the signing as an “official” mistake, even though NFL sources remarked that, while Glennon perhaps wasn’t expected to be much more than he’d always been, absolutely no one foresaw the abyssmal decision-making that was the biggest factor in his demotion.
But that’s all rearview-mirror stuff. Pace paid for two spins of the quarterback wheel and wasn’t stubborn about moving on from the first.