Had the Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers met in Week 1, we would’ve been treated to a showdown between Mike Glennon and Brian Hoyer. So from an entertainment perspective, it’s safe to say we dodged a bullet there.
Alas, a much more intriguing matchup awaits us this weekend as the 49ers announced Jimmy Garoppolo was starting against the Bears on Sunday. It will be Garoppolo’s third career start and first since joining San Francisco via trade in October. He has six touchdown throws, no interceptions, a 67.7 percent completion rate, and 110.1 passer rating.
This is the first extended look at a player who will likely be retained by the 49ers via use of the franchise tag, according to Grant Cohn of the Press Democrat.
- While the 49ers turn to Garoppolo, the Bears keep chugging along with Mitch Trubisky. Hub Arkush of Pro Football Weekly writes Trubisky’s development should be the focus of everything the Bears do for the rest of the season. It would take an impossible miracle for the Bears to make the playoffs, so the team’s top priority should be (and frankly, should have always been) ensuring the rookie quarterback receives proper development.
- Specifically, Arkush sees footwork as something that can be mastered, patience learned, and defenses read and recognized … but if his accuracy doesn’t follow, he’s not going to land among the elite quarterbacks. The next five weeks should be all about getting Trubisky to a point where he is the accurate thrower GM Ryan Pace offered him up to be when he was drafted.
- There’s nowhere to go up for Trubisky, writes ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson. According to ESPN’s Stats and Information, Trubisky has been “off target” on a league-worst 26 percent of his attempts and owns a league-low 52.8 percent completion rate. This, coming off back-to-back weeks when Trubisky completed 60 percent of his passes and showing incremental improvement. Trubisky quarterbacked the worst game of the John Fox era on Sunday, so we might have witnessed a relative rock bottom.
- After a woeful performance in Philadelphia, Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune writes Trubisky’s mental toughness will be tested down the stretch. The Bears have nothing to play for but pride and draft position, so it’s on Trubisky to keep pushing for the sake of his own development. The last five games are always challenging for rookies who aren’t used to carrying the workload of a full NFL season. So it’s fair to expect it to be as (if not more) difficult for Trubisky, a player who could finish with 12 starts in his first season as a professional after just 13 starts at the collegiate level.
- Keeping Trubisky and his teammates dedicated to the grind in a lost season should be a top priority for the Bears’ head coach. So while Fox isn’t likely to be fazed by talk of his firing (or even rumors of a list of his replacements floating around), Chris Emma of CBS Chicago writes the results on the field aren’t matching the coach’s rhetoric when addressing the situation. Fox’s words haven’t been backed up with wins or with progress. Instead of building blocks, the Bears are simply battling for relevancy – when they’re not reportedly battling among one another.
- Speaking of which:
John Fox wouldn’t go into details about Monday’s argument, except: "That room is closer to you all than I probably would have designed.”
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) November 29, 2017
John Fox wouldn't say whether waived WR Tre McBride was involved in the argument heard in the Halas Hall hall on Mon. But Fox definitely did not let McBride off the hook.
— Dan Wiederer (@danwiederer) November 29, 2017
- With McBride out of the picture, the Bears reportedly tried out wide receivers Mekale McKay, Canaan Severin, and Rodney Smith.
- Also out of the picture: Eli Manning. The New York Giants are going in a different direction at starting quarterback, giving the starting job to
third-round draft pick Davis WebbGeno Smith – who has thrown 36 interceptions in 34 career games. The Giants are 2-9 and out of contention, but Manning’s 1.8 percent interception rate is his lowest since 2008 (2.1%) and was on pace to throw for 3,509 yards. Protection has been a problem for Manning, who was sacked more times in 11 games than he was all of last season. Hopefully, the Giants are onto something and Smith strings together a winning streak that could help the Bears move up the NFL Draft board.
- Jay Cutler is going to start for the Miami Dolphins on Sunday against the Denver Broncos after clearing the NFL’s concussion protocol. Hopefully, Cutler is as up to the task against the Broncos as he was to answer this question:
Jay Cutler on how he looks back at his time in Denver: “I don’t.”
— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) November 29, 2017
- Marcus Robinson, who played receiver for the Bears from 1998 to 2002 (including an epic 1,400-yard season in 1999, will take on a new task as a high school track and field coach, according to Joe Stevenson of the Northwest Herald. It’s a job that Robinson seems to have taken a liking to, telling the Herald: “I really enjoy seeing kids put forth the effort and see them changing. You see them start to grow and change. When you get to see kids and train them and give them that competition, and make them see the competition and want to work hard, that’s something I really enjoy.” Good luck to Coach Robinson and Marian Central’s boys track and field team on their future endeavors.