Bears

Bears, Mike Glennon extensively scouted, picked each other apart

Bears, Mike Glennon extensively scouted, picked each other apart

Before the Bears locked onto Mike Glennon as their No. 1 target in free agency, with a commitment of $18.5 million of guaranteed money contained in a three-year contract topping out at $45 million, the Bears got into the minutiae of the now-former Tampa Bay Buccaneer quarterback.
 
And while they were scrutinizing Glennon from behind the glass, turns out he was doing the same to them from the other side.
 
Glennon on Friday revealed that he was "scouting" his prospective options in free agency, providing a first clue to the nature of his attention to detail in film study and preparation.
 
"I spent a lot of time over these last few months watching various teams in situations that may possibly need a quarterback," Glennon said. "When I watched the Bears' film, I saw a great offensive line, I saw a great running game and I saw playmakers on the outside. I saw a system that I felt fit my skill set. When I saw that, I thought if that was a place I would open up at the quarterback position, that was a place where I wanted to go."

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Once he signed, he gave another informal glimpse as to his idea of what represents preparation:
 
"The first question he asked is right away, 'Hey, so when I get in, obviously I want to get the playbook, can I get all the tape downloaded on an IPad?’" said GM Ryan Pace. "He [also] asked, 'Can I have pictures of everybody in the building I'm going to interact with, with their names, everybody in the building? Can I have the cell phones of every single player on offense and certain guys on defense so right away?’"
 
Glennon, like fellow signees safety Quinton Demps, tight end Dion Sims and receiver Markus Wheaton, sought opinions on the organization from current and even former players. If the narrative around the NFL is that no one wants to play for the down-spiralling Bears, apparently the memo didn’t get all the way around the league.
 
Wheaton got an immediate enthusiastic call from former Oregon State teammate Rashaad Reynolds, a cornerback signed late last season to the Bears practice squad and to a reserve/futures contract in early January. Glennon heard from receiver Eddie Royal, a college teammate of his brother, as well as cornerback Johnthan Banks, signed last December by the Bears and the Bucs’ second-round pick in 2013, one round before they drafted Glennon.
 
For their part, the Bears turned Glennon’s relative lack of playing time (18 starts, 630 total passes — roughly the average annual attempts by Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford for the past six years) into a slight positive: They were able to evaluate Glennon on every snap taken over his entire career.
 
"I think you look back to how he performed in college, you know he was highly successful player in college and then you just evaluate every single snap that he's taken the entire time in the NFL," Pace said. "On a player like this you're evaluating all his college tape, every single game he's played in the NFL including the preseason and then you're going off of that."
 
And the guy under the microscope has been looking right back at them the whole time.

Eddy Piñeiro is quietly finding his form again, another sign that he's cut out for this

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USA Today

Eddy Piñeiro is quietly finding his form again, another sign that he's cut out for this

As a large group of TV cameras gathered around Charles Leno Jr.’s space in the Bears’ locker room, Eddy Pineiro quickly finished getting dressed in the shadows to Leno’s left. The kicker’s stayed out of the spotlight since losing the trust of his head coach on a nationally-televised game three weeks ago, but he’s played as well as anyone during the Bears’ three-game return to relevance. 

“Yeah, I would definitely say I’m more confident,” he said after the Bears’ 31-24 win on Thursday night. “There’s just good rhythm – good snap, good hold.” 

He hasn’t had to attempt a kick over 40 yards (!!) over the three games, but Pineiro’s accuracy issues, at least for now, seem at bay. He hit all five of his kicks against the Cowboys – four extra points and one 36-yard field goal. The kicker hasn’t missed a field goal (5-5) since LA, and has gone 9-10 on extra points. More importantly, they haven’t lost since either. 

“Oh yeah, it feels great,” Pineiro said. “Everyone in the locker room is super excited and happy. Everybody’s in a good mood. When you win, everybody’s in a good mood.” 

He hasn’t been physically tested much over the last month, but just ask Aldrick Rosas or Brett Maher how easy kicking at Soldier Field – even in nice conditions – is. The Bears have always loved Pineiro’s response to adversity, and it’s starting to look like he’s rewarded them again. 

“Just gaining experience, honestly,” he said. “I think the biggest thing for me has just been gaining experience. Playing the game, I obviously don’t have the most experience, but I think trying to gain that experience has been the biggest thing for me.” 

Pineiro mentioned that he’s still getting used to the adjustments that come with kicking in colder temperatures – which may help explain some of his more recent lackluster kickoffs. It’s easy to see how a nationally-televised game in unusually pleasant conditions could have been a trap for a young player who’s maybe pressing a bit, but after getting the full Bears Kicker Experience stuffed into half a season, Pineiro knows better. 

“In my opinion, you’ve got to play well in every single game,” he said. “[it’s] not like just because you’re on national TV, you’ve got to play better. It felt good to get out there and hit a couple kicks.” 

Run Mitch Run! Trubisky dominates Cowboys with his legs in Week 14

Run Mitch Run! Trubisky dominates Cowboys with his legs in Week 14

Mitch Trubisky looked like a quarterback who was selected second overall in the NFL draft with his performance against the Dallas Cowboys in Thursday night's 31-24 win. In fact, he's looked every bit the part over the last four weeks, but Week 14 showcased the complete skill set that made Trubisky the first quarterback drafted in 2017.

Against a Cowboys defense that was ranked as a top-10 unit coming into the game, Trubisky threw for 244 yards, ran for 63 yards and totaled four touchdowns (three passing, one rushing). He threw the ball with conviction and completed passes that an average quarterback never could have. His eight-yard touchdown pass to Allen Robinson with 10 seconds remaining in the first half was special. Despite blanket coverage by Dallas linebacker Jaylon Smith, Trubisky put the ball where only Robinson could catch it. It was a heater, too. 

Trubisky had more than one throw like that Thursday night. His first touchdown to Robinson came earlier in the second quarter with 12:18 remaining in the half. This time it was Cowboys defensive back Byron Jones in coverage, and he didn't stand a chance despite being in position to make the play. There was no way to defend against the accuracy of Trubisky's five-yard strike.

But what really made Trubisky's game a signature performance was his running. He regained the form that made him such an exciting player in 2018 and a guy who had a sleeper MVP candidacy in the preseason.

Last season, Trubisky ran the ball 68 times for 421 yards and three touchdowns in 14 games. His legs kept opposing defenses honest and opened easier throws for his arm. Prior to Thursday night's win, Trubisky had only run the ball 26 times for 80 yards in 2019. He upped his carry total by nearly 40% (10 rushes against the Cowboys) and nearly doubled his yardage in just one game. It helped the offense stay on schedule and produced one of the night's most memorable moments when Trubisky broke the pocket and juked his way to a 23-yard touchdown run with 13:28 left in the fourth quarter. He earned his highest rushing grade on the season from Pro Football Focus, too.

"Just pulled it," Trubisky said of the touchdown run after the game. "Really an awesome block by Leno. We knew they were a squeeze-scrape team. The backer is going to scrape over top. He does a good job of locking him out. I just cut up in there, made a guy miss, got in the end zone.

The best part of that for me was how excited my teammates got afterwards. Really cool moment. It was good."

Trubisky's running does more than just make his job easier. It also hides some flaws in the offensive line, which has struggled in pass protection this season. After Week 14's game, pass-rushers will have to think twice about pinning their ears back and going all-out for a sack. Trubisky reminded the league that he's a dangerous quarterback who will make defenses pay if they take too many chances against him.

Trubisky's growth over the last month of the season has been pretty remarkable. It took him longer than expected to get to this place he's at now, i.e. a quarterback who can put Chicago on his shoulders and win a football game, but he appears to have arrived. At least, if his last three games are any indication, he's become the kind of productive playmaker the Bears have so desperately need. He's completed 70% of his passes for 860 yards (seven touchdowns, four interceptions) and a passer rating of 99.1 over that stretch.

Spread over 16 games, this three-week run would equate to 4,586 yards and 37 touchdowns. His 99.1 passer rating would rank among the top-10 starters in the league, too. 

Trubisky tucked and ran with more frequency Thursday night and it paid off. It made the Bears' offense look almost unstoppable at times. It's been a while since that could be said about this squad, but it's better late than never.

"We've gotten better over the last couple weeks, I'm talking about as a team, that's what's most important to me," Trubisky said. "That is what allows you to get better as an individual, is if you focus on the team first, focus on the guys around you."

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