Bears

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

cam_meredith.jpg
USA TODAY

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.”

As Roquan Smith misses practice with hamstring soreness, Bears' Matt Nagy readies to face old friends

As Roquan Smith misses practice with hamstring soreness, Bears' Matt Nagy readies to face old friends

(A bunch of injury information from Bears practice Tuesday, but that can get boring so we’ll start with something else for a change, because little of the injury stuff is for-sure….)
 
Third preseason games are significant as indicators for players, with starters typically playing into third quarters of these games. But for Matt Nagy in his first-ever gig as a head coach, Saturday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs is also his first in which a modicum of game-planning is in order, making it a semi-revealing look at his game-day and game-prep capabilities.
 
Nagy will be on the opposite sideline from his mentor and coaching role model, Andy Reid, who gave Nagy his start in 2008 as a coaching intern with the Philadelphia Eagles, then hired Nagy in 2013 as quarterbacks coach when Reid moved to Kansas City.
 
So Nagy this week is scheming for an offense and defense with which he has more than just a passing familiarity (pun intended). And with individuals with whom he is close personally as well as professionally.
 
“It is preseason, and I think it just kind of puts a little added fun to it, just the respect I have for that organization and obviously for Coach Reid and [Kansas City GM Brett Veach,” Nagy said, smiling. “That’s where I started, so it’s fun.
 
“But [Chicago] is my home, and [the Bears are] my ‘family’ now. We’ll have a good time with it. There will be some chuckles and I’m sure some eye contact across the sidelines a few times, but it’ll be all fun.”
 
The Bears practiced with scout-team players wearing red over-jerseys to signify certain key Chiefs: e.g., 50 for Pro Bowl rush linebacker Justin Houston, 87 for tight end Travis Kelce. Nagy as Chiefs coordinator knows Kansas City personnel and the mind behind them.
 
“Game planning while knowing those guys, they know I know them inside and they know us inside out,” Nagy said. “So there’s a little bit of reverse psychology going on right now. You’ve just got to figure out if you’re playing chess or are you playing checkers. And I guess we’ll see.”
 
And now, those injuries, starting with…
 
Roquan Smith.
 
The rookie No. 1 draft choice was in uniform but was pulled from practice when he experienced soreness in his left hamstring. The immediate suspicion/concern is that Smith’s month-long holdout while his contract was hammered out contributed to the soft-tissue problem, not an uncommon occurrence with a player at the outset of training camp, which this past week has effectively been for Smith.
 
He was held out of the game in Denver and was expected to make some sort of debut against Kansas City. But the missed practice, spent running in the team’s sand pit for off-field work, raises a significant question about his potential readiness for Saturday, with the Bears waiting to see the state of his hamstring on Wednesday.
 
“There [was] just some tightness, so [sitting out is] more precautionary than anything,” Nagy said. “That’s exactly why we do what we do. If you put him in early and he’s not ready, then something like this happens where it gets worse. So we just want to be precautionary with it.”
 
Nagy said that had this been an in-season game week, the thought was that he could have practiced through the hamstring. But preparing for a preseason game that represents the only anticipated game action for the rookie linebacker before the regular season, the team wants the greatest chance that Smith will be operational by Saturday.
 
Smith identified game-level conditioning as the biggest hurdle for him to overcome heading into his first game. He worked out assiduously with strength coaches in Georgia during the contract negotiations, but “you work out and do all the running you can,” he said, “but it’s nothing like football shape.”
 
Smith is not the only significant member of the defense in particular who is unofficially “questionable” approaching the midpoint of a game week.
 
Linebacker Leonard Floyd, as expected, is not practicing after surgery to repair a fracture involving the fingers of his right hand. Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks was at Halas Hall on Tuesday but not practing on a balky knee that kept him out of the Broncos game. Linebacker Aaron Lynch remains out with a hamstring strain suffered in the first practice of training camp. 

Tight end Adam Shaheen, who left with a foot injury in the first quarter of the Denver game, is still not practicing and the Bears do not appear to be either clear on the precise degree of the problem or don’t want to get into it beyond identifying the injury as a sprain.
 
“With Adam yesterday, he went ahead and got his ankle looked at it, and we ended up seeing there’s a little bit more to it with his foot,” Nagy said. “We’re kind of trying to figure out exactly where he’s at right now. We’re probably going to get it looked at, a second-opinion type deal. And that’s kind of where we’re at with him.”

Report: Bears won't have shot at Khalil Mack yet

Report: Bears won't have shot at Khalil Mack yet

Bears fans looking for a blockbuster trade might not want to get their hopes up.

With Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack continuing his holdout, speculation has run rampant about a team like Chicago acquiring the star pass-rusher.

Early indications are, he’s not going anywhere.

Albert Breer from the MMQB reported Monday that “inquiries about Mack’s availability from other NFL outposts have been quickly met with a no.”

This doesn’t mean that the Raiders couldn’t change their mind at some point, but for now, Mack appears to be off the market.

Any potential deal for the 2016 Defensive Play of the Year would require massive compensation, likely a first-round pick and more. The team that trades for him also has to give him a long-term contract extension, which could cost upward of $20 million per season.

Still, the Bears remain among the favorites for Mack’s potential destination because of their available cap space and lack of proven pass-rushers.

The longer the holdout goes, the more pressure Oakland may feel to make a move with their Pro-Bowl edge rusher. When the trade deadline rolls around at the end of October, the Raiders could be more likely to pick up the phone.