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.