Mike Glennon answers a question, but Cameron Meredith’s injury asks another one


Mike Glennon answers a question, but Cameron Meredith’s injury asks another one

NASHVILLE — Mitch Trubisky offered differing evaluations of his play and that of Mike Glennon after the Bears’ 19-7 win over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. 

“I gotta watch the film, but (I) would like it to go a little smoother,” Trubisky, who made a couple of mistakes but still had a quarterback rating of 115.4, said of his play. As for Glennon?

“I thought he balled out today, which is awesome to see,” Trubisky said. 

The Bears’ quarterback competition, as it pertains to Week 1, is over. Mike Glennon not only avoided a disastrous game — which could’ve thrown his status for Sept. 10 into question — but played well, completing 11 of 18 passes for 134 yards with a touchdown and a quarterback rating of 102.5. Glennon looked poised and confident while driving the Bears 96 yards for a touchdown on their first possession of the game, and didn’t make the kind of catastrophic mistakes that marred his prior to preseason contests. 

That doesn’t mean Trubisky can’t keep the heat on Glennon. Ideally for the Bears, he will, because Glennon played well after losing some first-team reps to Trubisky in practice last week and on Sunday. 

“These guys are all competitors and we try to build competition,” coach John Fox said. “You want guys to respond to that. … I think Mike did that.” 

If the Bears are thinking optimistically about their 2017 outlook — and what we’ve seen from Glennon so far — it’s that the 6-foot-7 quarterback needed two preseason games to shake off the rust that had built up in his final two years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, during which he only threw 11 regular season passes. 

“I feel like I have plenty of reps in practice and you get good at that, but there’s nothing that you can replicate that is a real game situation,” Glennon said. “Would I liked to have played better early on? Of course. But I think that’s just part of it. I haven’t played in two years, so these reps are extremely valuable and I’m glad we took a step forward today.” 

The positivity about the Bears’ first team offense in the first half — all of which came under Glennon — was undercut by the grisly injury suffered by Cameron Meredith late in the first quarter. The Bears believe it’s an ACL injury, but haven’t conducted an MRI on their leading receiver from last year (66 catches, 888 yards). Either way, the discussion about Meredith was mostly conducted in the past tense about his 2017 season, dealing a brutal blow to the Berwyn native who appeared ready for an even more productive year. 

Losing Meredith creates an added challenge for Glennon that played out on Sunday. After Meredith’s injury, Glennon completed only three of eight attempts for 34 yards, and he failed to connect with an open Deonte Thompson near the goal line on a pass that could’ve resulted in a touchdown just before halftime. 

“Obviously Cam was a huge part of our offense,” Glennon said. “I’m pulling for him, but guys just have to step up. Unfortunately that’s just sometimes the reality of football, guys go down. I think what we kind of talked about is we have a deep group of receivers and a lot of guys that can play.

“A lot of guys, there’s an opportunity for someone in that room to really go grab that new open spot. It’s unfortunate but I think we have a deep group at receiver.”

Glennon showed a good connection with Kendall Wright early, finding the former Titans receiver for three third down conversions on that lengthy opening drive. The Bears need more of that, whether it’s from Kevin White (four targets, two receptions, 30 yards), Zach Miller (two targets, one catch, nine yards), Markus Wheaton (who hasn’t played in a preseason game yet and hasn’t practiced much due to an appendectomy and broken finger) or perhaps someone from outside the organization. 

Ideally, that reliable replacement for Glennon would be White, the seventh overall pick in the 2015 draft who’s shown modestly encouraging signs in the last few days. White had a strong practice on Wednesday — Glennon said he “had one of the best days I’ve seen him have,” — and caught a 19-yard pass over the middle on Sunday, for what it’s worth. 

But can White be the guy who Glennon, while under pressure, trusts to catch a pass even while blanketed in man coverage (as Meredith did for 28 yards on Sunday)? White said he’s not putting added pressure on himself to be that guy, but trusts he — or one of his teammates — can be. 

The Bears now need to see that optimism translate into production. 

“I always want to do my job and do it at a high level,” White said. “Us as receivers, everybody’s gotta step up when guys go down. We’ll do that, we’ll be all right.”

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Bears' QB competition confirmed by Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace


Sports Talk Live Podcast: Bears' QB competition confirmed by Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace

It's a Friday edition of SportsTalk Live. Host David Kaplan is joined by David Haugh, Patrick Finley, and KC Johnson.

Bears general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy confirm that there will be an open competition for starting quarterback between Nick Foles and Mitch Trubisky. The guys wonder how open it will actually be. Meanwhile, Nagy says he can sense Trubisky is a fierce competitor. The panel wonders if competition will elevate his play and make him better.

The Bulls have officially begun their search for the new executive to lead their basketball operations. Bulls Insider KC goes through the potential candidates. Haugh and Finley wonder how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect their search and ability to land a big name. And what about Jim Boylen's future? KC says it will ultimately be up to the new person in charge but reminds everyone how much Boylen is liked by the current front office.

Later, former NFL coach Dave Wannstedt joins Kap on the show from Florida. Wanny dissects the Bears quarterback competition and explains why the pressure will always be high on Mitch no matter what. They also talk about new tight end Jimmy Graham's impact on the offense and pass rusher Robert Quinn's impact on the defense. And what's Wanny up to during quarantine? He tells Kap the shows he's binge-watching and gives his review of "Tiger King". 

0:00- There will be an open competition for the Bears starting quarterback job. Does either QB have an advantage? Will competition make Mitch a better quarterback? Also, how much better does Robert Quinn make the defense?

8:00- The Bulls have begun their search for the new head of their basketball operations. KC goes through some of the candidates. Plus, the panel discusses what this means for Jim Boylen's future, John Paxson's role in the search and his future role in the organization.

16:00- Dave Wannstedt joins Kap on the show. He talks about Mitch's chances to win the QB competition and his chances to keep the job throughout next season. Plus, they talk about Jimmy Graham's role in the offense, Robert Quinn's impact on the defense and Wanny gives his honest review of "Tiger King".

Sports Talk Live Podcast


Why Nick Foles is the clear favorite for Bears' starting quarterback Week 1

Why Nick Foles is the clear favorite for Bears' starting quarterback Week 1

Calling a quarterback battle an “open competition,” as Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy did Friday, leaves that comment open to interpretation. But it’s hard to shake the feeling that Nick Foles is going to emerge from that competition as the Bears’ starting quarterback. 

The Bears are not going to hand Foles their QB1 job — he’s not even going to take the first snaps of the competition. Those will go to Mitch Trubisky, the incumbent here. Foles will have to win the job, and there’s a chance he won’t. I’m not ready to call the Bears’ quarterback competition for Foles before a single practice is held. 

But for Trubisky to win the job, and not Foles, the Bears will have to not only see the 2017 No. 2 overall pick out-play his challenger during training camp. They’ll have to convince themselves it’s not a mirage, and that the last three years of inconsistent-at-best tape aren’t a mitigating factor against a guy who threw for 373 yards as the MVP of a Super Bowl. 

“I think when we say open competition, this is a open competition, they’ve both been told that and I think it’s the best way to do it,” Pace said. “I think the good thing is honesty and transparency with both players as we go through it. We want what’s best for the Chicago Bears. It’s as simple as that.”

The quote that really stands out to me, though, after Friday’s hour-plus of teleconferences with Pace, Matt Nagy, Nick Foles and Robert Quinn is an old one from February. It’s Nagy talking at the NFL Combine in February about wanting Trubisky to know the offense better than he does. It felt like a challenge to Trubisky at the time; it felt like an even greater challenge when Foles — who has experience running versions of the Bears’ offense in Kansas City and Philadelphia — was brought in. 

Essentially, the Bears told Trubisky through their words and actions: If you don’t know the offense to the level we want, we have a guy in place who does, and he'll take your job. 

Foles has a working knowledge of the Bears’ offense, one Nagy figured could get him through a game right now if need be. But there are plenty of different things the Bears do on offense compared to the Chiefs and Eagles (insert your own joke here about those offenses, most importantly, being better). There will be a learning curve for Foles to know Nagy’s offense better than Nagy, especially with the expectation of no OTAs or spring minicamps.

But Foles did an excellent job of explaining why a quarterback needs to know the offense better than its playcaller, one which resonates after watching so many Bears games spiral offensively in 2019. 

“I think if I can (know) this offense just as good, if not better, than the coaches,” Foles said, “when you step in the huddle, then you're able to face adversity better because there's gonna be times when Nagy calls the play and it's a different defense than it should be and it's up to the quarterback to change it.”

The Bears can try to simulate that adversity in practice, but also have a couple years’ worth of information that Trubisky can’t pull out of it. If everything is equal on the practice field, wouldn’t the Bears choose the guy who they hope can fix things in the middle of a game, rather than the guy who’s shown he can’t?

“This is a kid (Foles) who’s been through a lot of different situations,” Nagy said. “He’s been a Super Bowl MVP, he’s been in pressure moments and he understands a lot of the things that we’re looking for.”

Again, the Bears have not named Foles their starter. He carries a lower cap hit in 2020 than Trubisky, meaning the Bears will be okay financially with him being a backup. Trubisky could be sparked by the mere presence of Foles into being some version of the guy Pace hoped he was getting three years ago. 

If that’s the case, Foles may never play a down for the Bears in 2020. That’s actually the team’s best-case scenario. It’s what the Bears — and Bears fans — should be hoping for. 

But realistically, the odds are in Foles’ favor to be QB1 in Week 1. This franchise knows what Trubisky can do. A lot of Nagy’s coaches, including Nagy himself, know what Foles can do from past experiences working with him. And that gives an advantage to Foles. 

So if, in the absence of actual sports to gamble on right now, you’re looking for a safe bet: Take Nick Foles to be the Bears’ starting quarterback in Week 1 of the 2020 season. 

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