Chicago Bears head coach John Fox shared some news earlier, announcing that Mitch Trubisky would be the team’s starting quarterback … for the team’s fourth and final preseason game on Thursday against the Cleveland Browns.
Fox also dove into many more topics beyond his team’s quarterback situation. And you can check out his meeting with the assembled media at Halas Hall here, or watch the embedded video below.
- Fox offered up his thoughts and prayers for Meredith as he embarks on the post-surgery rehab assignment. And while Fox feels bad losing a player he described as “well liked” and “a good teammate” he also realizes the reality of the situation. Namely, someone has to take his spot, his practice reps, and his game snaps. Thursday’s game against the Browns could springboard some receivers into new roles when the regular season starts on Sept. 10.
- Kevin White appears to be first in line on Fox’s next man up chart. Fox sees White making strides in what has been an up-and-down spring and summer. And the seventh overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft has caught his coach’s eyes for all the right reasons. “He’s continuing to improve. We saw improvement last week in Tennessee,” Fox said. “I’ve seen that improvement because he’s been able to stay healthy, stack those practices, and now games.” After being shut out in the catch department in the preseason opener against the Broncos and being a non-factor against the Cardinals, White made two big plays against the Titans, taking a bubble screen for 11 yards and catching a 19-yard strike to move the chains. With Meredith sidelined, White stands to garner more and more looks from starting quarterback Mike Glennon.
- Speaking of Glennon, he and Mark Sanchez won’t play at all during the Bears-Browns preseason finale. Sanchez has been used sparingly this preseason, throwing just six passes in two games. For what it’s worth, Fox says he has seen enough from Sanchez. “He’s had a lot of looks, they just haven’t been with us, other than practice – which is fine for us.”
- Sanchez is currently listed as the Bears’ No. 2 quarterback, but hasn’t really played that role during the preseason.
- To be fair, Sanchez was nursing an ankle injury earlier in camp. There’s no use in running a risk of further injury for a veteran who has been helpful in other aspects as a reserve.
- As for players who are on the injury report, Fox made note that cornerbacks Johnthan Banks and Bryce Callahan, as well as receiver Josh Bellamy returned to practice on a limited basis. Unfortunately, it’s not all good news for the Bears, as nose tackle Eddie Goldman was held out of practice thanks to the concussion protocol. If the Bears are truly going to be an improved defense, they’ll need to be able to lean on Goldman in order to stop the run.
- On the other side of the line, Fox shared some relatively positive news regarding left guard Kyle Long. The three-time Pro Bowl lineman hasn’t played at all this preseason, and his status for the regular season opener against the Atlanta Falcons was in doubt as recently as last week. Despite some of the worry surrounding Long’s injured ankle, Fox seemed guardedly optimistic about Long’s availability when the season begins. “He’s on target. We’re hopeful. He’s day-to-day, as far as coming off that ankle,” Fox said when asked if Long would be ready for the season-opener. “We’ll just continue to rehab until medically he’s cleared.”
- Fox and his staff will have some tough roster decisions to make between now and Saturday. Among them will be the resolution of the newly created long snapper competition in the wake of Patrick Scales’ season-ending injury and subsequent release. Fox said newcomer Jeff Overbaugh had a good practice, but for it to work there needs to be some chemistry between the long snapper, holder, and punter. Fox also praised the efforts of reserve tackle Bradley Sowell, who did a “remarkable job” filling in for Scales. Even still, Fox admitted the team isn’t looking to use Sowell as its full-time long snapper.
- Because of a new rule, the Bears (and every other NFL team) will get a longer look at the players on their roster because there is only one cut-down day. Fox says he likes the rule change because it gives him a chance to take a more realistic look at players with a longer evaluation period. If Fox needed extra time to get a feel for some of his players, this was the year to get it. “We’re deeper as a football team. We’ve got tougher roster decisions and one more game to evaluate,” Fox said. “All in all, I like where we are, and we still have to figure out who the best 53 guys are.”
- Because they just played Sunday, Fox was taking it easy on the Bears in Tuesday’s practice as he guided the team through a walk through. Expect the tempo to pick up Wednesday in preparation for Thursday’s game. Chicago has just one game in which it makes the quick turnaround from Sunday to Thursday, and it happens between Weeks 3 and 4. The Bears will play a home game on Sept. 24 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, then pivot for a road trip north to face the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 28 for Thursday Night Football.