Life in the NFL comes with no guarantees, which is precisely why you shouldn’t completely rule out the idea that Mitch Trubisky opens the season as the Chicago Bears’ starting quarterback.
But for now, all signs point to Mike Glennon as The Man for the Bears in 2017. The front office paid him handsomely in free agency to take on that role, and have backed him along every step of the way – even after drafting Trubisky. And to that end, Glennon has embraced this year as “his year” and has taken on a leadership role both on the field and off.
As Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times notes, the Bears seem to have found a leader in Glennon. It’s not as if the Bears have been without leadership under center, but Glennon’s style has been more of a public display and it provides a stark contrast to what was Jay Cutler’s subtle and quiet, yet strong behind-the-scenes type leadership.
But do the Bears have a quarterback? That’s the question Potash asks and one we’ll get an answer to at some point this season. For all of his experience, Glennon is a bit of an unknown. It’s not as though the 27-year-old signal caller hasn’t seen a lot in his four-year career. As a matter of fact, it’s the opposite (he’s gone from third-round pick to respectable rookie starter, to young backup behind a veteran before returning to starter … only to go back into a reserve role behind a highly touted high-end quarterback prospect). BUt because of the yo-yo act in Tampa Bay, Glennon has thrown just 630 passes in his NFL career. To put that in perspective, Aaron Rodgers attempted 610 passes just last season.
If practice makes perfect, and the Bears are truly committed to Glennon, then he should get as many reps as necessary to perfect his craft – but without taking the necessary snaps away from Trubisky’s development. Frankly, Glennon needs the reps because there is one glaring issue that needs to be discussed regarding the Bears’ starting quarterback – accuracy.
As Glennon settles into his role as a full-time starter, Rick Morrissey of the Sun-Times writes that Glennon’s accuracy could use some work.
To be fair, it’s still early, the Bears have yet to take a meaningful preseason snap, and Glennon is still getting acclimated with a new center, receivers, and a new offense, among other things in the getting-to-know-you process. But again, the numbers don’t lie.
Glennon has completed just 59.4 percent of his passes during his limited playing time. To put that in perspective, that’s a five percentage points drop compared to what Jay Cutler posted in his one healthy season playing for John Fox and Adam Gase (then offensive coordinator). Glennon is a big man at 6-foot-6, and he has a 26-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio when throwing inside the red zone. HOWEVER, that 46.5 percent completion rate on the 73 tosses inside the opponents’ 20-yard-line is maddeningly disappointing and could be cause for concern. Because, I mean, really, having more incomplete passes (39) than completions (34) in the red zone isn’t a great look.
All things equal, third-down success could make or break this offense. Meaning Glennon’s ability to move the ball with precision is a very important factor. Last year, Brian Hoyer completed 61.2 percent of passes on third down, posted an 89.8 passer rating, and converted 17 first downs. Barkley, on the other hand, completed just 58 percent of his third-down attempts and posted a 62.3 rating, while throwing more interceptions (3) than touchdowns (1).
A first down conversion here and there can be the difference between a touchdown, a field goal, or coming away from a possession with no points at all. That’s why it’s imperative that Glennon improve on his career 54 percent completion rate and 79.5 passer rating on third downs.
It can’t be said enough: Mike Glennon is the Bears’ starting quarterback. But he’s not without his flaws. And if he doesn’t clean up some of the things that have thwarted his success as a signal caller, his time as The Man could be short-lived.