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.”