Glennon, Garoppolo or Hoyer? Bears begin moving on possible quarterback options

Glennon, Garoppolo or Hoyer? Bears begin moving on possible quarterback options

INDIANAPOLIS — General manager Ryan Pace stated that the Bears had developed multiple scenarios for resolving their quarterback situation both for 2017 and beyond. Priorities now appear to be emerging with the opening of free agency looming a week away.

But not all scenarios have been created equal, and some represent puzzling strategic directions for an organization that has bumbled through myriad failed quarterback strategies over its recent history.

The Bears are expected to meet with representatives of Brian Hoyer this weekend, though indications from various sources are that Hoyer is option No. 3 behind former Tampa Bay quarterback Mike Glennon and trading for New England backup Jimmy Garoppolo — this despite head coach John Fox's seemingly strong endorsement of Hoyer on Wednesday based on Hoyer's decision-making, ball security and experience with many different offensive systems.

Each of these scenarios would presumably be followed by selecting a quarterback in this draft. Opting for Garoppolo or Glennon, however, being clear moves for an anticipated starter, would hint at the Bears dialing down the draft urgency and pursuing other positions based on their draft board instead of over-drafting a quarterback.

Looking closer at the three leading options ahead of next Tuesday's start of the period when teams may openly begin talks with players from other organizations.


The Buccaneers chose Glennon out of North Carolina State in the third round of the 2013 draft. He represents perhaps the most curious of the options available for the Bears, given that he lost his starting job twice in the first three years with Tampa Bay.

Glennon, who hasn't started a game since 2015, was respectable in his rookie year with the Bucs, going 4-9 in his starts. Tampa Bay then signed Josh McCown away from the Bears to be the starter over Glennon, with Glennon relegated to starting only when McCown was injured. The Bucs went 1-4 in his starts.

The Bucs then drafted Jameis Winston. Glennon, now 27, did not play in 2015 and appeared in just two games last season.

Parenthetically, few quarterbacks Glennon's size (6-foot-7) have achieved noteworthy success. More have gone the way of Brock Osweiler, Houston's failed $72-million gamble in free agency last offseason.


Whether the Bears are willing to part with sufficient draft capital to satisfy the Patriots is problematic. But that might be the only real obstacle, even if the former Eastern Illinois standout doesn't have the Bears at the top of this destination wish list.

The Patriots' No. 2 will be entering the fourth and final year of his rookie contract at $820,077. After that, if he has played as well as hoped, the Bears would have the option of using their franchise tag on him. Twice. Even tagging Garoppolo twice would cost the Bears some $46 million over three years, considerably less than Jay Cutler cost the team ($54 million) over the first three years of his deal.

A deal could go down as soon as late next week when the league year officially opens.


A groundswell of public sentiment has started in Cleveland for the Browns to bring Hoyer back as a quality bridge quarterback while a draft pick develops. In the meantime, the lack of urgency on the part of the Bears could be construed as lukewarm interest intended on keeping Hoyer as a hedge if the first two options fall through.

Hoyer threw 200 passes last season without an interception.

Anthony Miller is hyped about Nick Foles' knowledge of Bears' offense

Anthony Miller is hyped about Nick Foles' knowledge of Bears' offense

One of the main reasons the Bears targeted Nick Foles in an offseason that was overflowing with quality quarterbacks to challenge Mitch Trubisky for Chicago's starting job is his familiarity with Matt Nagy's offense. The Bears knew what they were getting when they traded a fourth-round pick to the Jaguars for the former Super Bowl MVP, and in the current COVID-19 reality, that knowledge of who Foles is as a quarterback is more valuable than the team could've ever imagined.

So is Foles' comfort with the playbook. 

Unlike traditional offseasons when players have a chance to acclimate themselves with their new city, teammates, coaching staff, and offensive system, the novel coronavirus has thrust the Bears' quarterback competition into a shotgun four-week run that Foles is oddly equipped to handle. He's already made a positive early impression on wide receiver Anthony Miller.

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“You can definitely tell that Nick has been playing this game for a long time, and he knows this offense very well," Miller said Friday during a Zoom call with reporters. "He’s very detailed in practice, you can catch him in the back of an offensive play going through his progressions and he’s not even in, so that’s just the type of player he is, and I can’t wait to see him live action to see what he really can do.”

It feels like the Trubisky vs. Foles showdown has been underway since March, but the reality is it's just getting started. Padded practices begin next week and will give Chicago's coaches and players their first real opportunity to evaluate which quarterback gives the team the best chance to win.

According to Miller, the starting gig is up for grabs.

“This is going to be an interesting competition to see and the best man is going to get the job.”


Super Bowl or bust? Why Bears' championship formula is backward in 2020

Super Bowl or bust? Why Bears' championship formula is backward in 2020

First, the good news: The Bears can win Super Bowl LV.

Why not? It’s August.

If Matt Nagy can find the right quarterback and Ryan Pace’s play to overhaul the tight end room pays off, this offense could be a ton of fun to watch. And if the addition of Robert Quinn gives the Bears the sort of fearsome pass rush we expect it will, this defense should be among the best in the NFL – and more than good enough to win a Super Bowl.

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There’s absolutely no part of me that’s going to tell you the Bears cannot win a Super Bowl before we’ve seen them practice, let alone play a game, in 2020.

“We want to win a Super Bowl,” wide receiver Allen Robinson said. “Every day we come into the facility, all our meetings and things like that, I think that our coaches are doing a really good job for everybody to keep that in mind and that's the main thing.”

Okay, but you’re probably waiting for the bad news. I just didn’t want to start with it. Because while it's not impossible for the Bears to make a Super Bowl run, there's a big reason why it feels unlikely. 

The Bears’ formula for winning in 2020, seemingly, is pairing a good enough offense with an elite defense. It’s what got them to the playoffs in 2018 as NFC North champions. It’s what could get them back to the playoffs again this season.

But an “eh, it’s fine” offense coupled with an awesome defense is not a formula that wins you a Super Bowl in 2021. As the last 10 Super Bowls tell us, it pays to have a great offense – and doesn’t matter if you have a great defense.

The last 20 Super Bowl participants, on average, had the sixth-best offense in a given year as ranked by Football Outsiders’ DVOA. The average ranking of their defenses was about 12th.

It’s been even more pronounced over the last four years. On average, a Super Bowl team in that span ranked fourth in offense and 16th in defense.

Only two teams in the last decade reached a Super Bowl with an offense outside the top 10 in DVOA (Denver in 2015, Baltimore in 2012 – notably, both teams still won). Eleven of the last 20 teams to make a Super Bowl had a defense outside the DVOA top 10, including last year’s Kansas City Chiefs.

MORE: Why you shouldn't worry about Allen Robinson getting a contract extension

So the Bears, as currently constructed, do not appear built to win a Super Bowl. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done – we’re not all that far removed from the 2015 Broncos hoisting the Lombardi Trophy with the No. 25 offense and No. 1 defense – but recent history suggests it’s unlikely.

That is, unless Nagy can find the success his former peers (Doug Pederson, Andy Reid) had with his offensive scheme. Make no mistake: Offense leads Super Bowl runs, with defense a supporting character. Not the other way around. And it feels like the Bears have it the other way around.