Mitchell Trubisky is now one play away from taking his first NFL regular season snap.
The Bears didn’t have to name Trubisky their backup quarterback, not with a veteran in Mark Sanchez still on the roster. But Trubisky, through an outstanding preseason and quicker-than-anticipated growth, forced the Bears to move him up one spot on the depth chart. If something were to happen to Mike Glennon, the Bears feel Trubisky would give them the best chance to still win that game.
“He earned it,” coach John Fox said. “It’s not something we handed him for any particular reason other than he earned it.”
This puts the second overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft closer to seeing the field, but he’s not there yet. The Bears remain confident in Glennon, pointing to how well he played in the third preseason game against the Tennessee Titans (headlined by that 96-yard touchdown drive), which came after a normal week of game planning.
“He’s a pro,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “He knows what to do, he does it, he played well. That’s how we kinda anticipated him playing. That’s how he practiced. When you study and learn and do all those things, he knew what the defense was going to do and made good decisions.”
That’s what the Bears expect to see from Glennon on Sunday against an Atlanta Falcons defense that returns nine starters from, what it’s worth, a group that ranked 26th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA last year.
“We like Mike Glennon,” general manager Ryan Pace said. “With preparation for the Titans game, he played very well. Now we’re prepping for Atlanta and Mike’s one of those guys, we talk about waiting before the snap, and he done that. He’s a very smart, intelligent player. There’s a lot that went into that evaluation. He has a lot of experience that we’re leaning on. He was voted a captain for a reason by that locker room. We’re ready to watch it unfold.”
Still, the focus on Wednesday at Halas Hall remained on Trubisky and how close the quarterback of the future was to turning that future into the present. That focus likely won’t shift off Trubisky unless Glennon exceeds expectations and the Bears play well through a difficult September.
But Trubisky already has exceeded expectations. If he stays on that same upward trajectory, there won't be anything keeping him not only from getting in a game, but continuing to challenge Glennon to be the Bears' QB1.
“There’s a plan in place for his development, which is being executed,” Pace said. “And I think Fox and Dowell and (QB coach Dave Ragone) have done an unbelievable job with it. I’m just proud of where Mitch is at right now and just him continuing that progress.”