Over the summer, I penned a piece that I called “6 Apologies I Hope to Make in 6 Months.” In it, I outlined my six most nagging criticisms of where the Bears were at, and I explained what it would take to get me to let go those complaints. Three months later, three of those apologies are not going to happen. I want to take a moment to reflect on what went wrong, and then offer another prediction moving forward.
I will not be issuing the following apologies:
#1) I will not apologize to Mike Glennon
By now, this subject has been talked about enough that it’s worth noting that Glennon was not as bad as some make him out to be, but was still really, really bad. Many regular readers suggested that Glennon would be receiving an apology from me (18% of those who voted thought this was the likeliest). Here was what I wanted:
If Mike Glennon has a passer rating of 88 (ahead of Jameis Winston’s 86.1 for 2016 but behind Andy Dalton’s 91.8), I’ll be thrilled. If he manages 5.88 ANY/A (Cutler’s career average in a metric with huge penalties for interceptions and sacks), I’ll delightedly apologize. While those markers do not capture all of the ins and outs of quarterback play, they give the ballpark of what I am looking for—I want to see Glennon provide competent play.
Was Glennon in a rough spot? Yes. However, he didn’t get close to either target (76.9 passer rating and 4.12 ANY/A).
#2) I will not apologize to Jeremy Langford
I was unimpressed with Jeremy Langford, and I wrote this at the time:
I readily dismissed Langford as a stopgap whose time in the sun was over. I have spent most of this off-season sort of expecting word that he has been forced off the roster by a combination of Howard, Cohen, and the others.
Langford is a currently a free agent after being waived by the Bears. He was briefly signed by the Ravens, but he has been cut even from their practice squad.
#3) I will not apologize to Ryan Pace
I complained when Ryan Pace drafted Kevin White, and I have been highly critical of this selection since it was made. It wasn’t just White’s injury history, it was everything about the pick. Here were my conditions for apologizing for this reaction:
My threshold for this apology is White managing 68 combined receptions and rushing attempts, 900 yards from scrimmage, and 5 touchdowns. That level would be the “average” of a typical full season coming from the other six wide receivers who form White’s draft peer group.
Kevin White is on injured reserve again, and he is unlikely to see the field in 2017. Even if he does, it is inconceivable that he would manage to do in the handful of games he would have left what has eluded him for so long. White’s time as a Bear is a disaster. Little of this is on Ryan Pace, but the injuries will keep us from learning if White was ever worthy of his draft position even under better circumstances.
I predict that the Bears will stabilize a little bit. There is a pull toward the middle in the NFL, and a new quarterback of any kind can frequently enjoy a brief surge in production before teams get film on him. The Bears have the makings of a trap team. However, I also predict that the play managed by key players selected by Ryan Pace will be competent but not exceptional.
Jordan Howard might see some benefit to his game from having a more dynamic quarterback, but Leonard Floyd is in the middle of a profound sophomore slump. Cody Whitehair seems to have a full case of DMS. Tarik Cohen is fun to watch, but has anyone noticed #90 in action? That’s Jonathan Bullard, and the third-round pick in the 2016 draft has done very little so far.
Ryan Pace wanted to build through the draft, but even if Trubisky turns out to be an amazing player, that should not let Ryan Pace off the hook for his other decisions. The top quarterback taken in the draft (and the second player taken overall) should be an amazing player.
Unless more Pace picks step up (or unless Floyd recovers from his slump and Trubisky is a steal even at #2), then the entire organization is going to continue to be a let down. If the team goes 6-6 from this point forward, or if three Pace picks make it to the Pro Bowl this year, then I’ll apologize to readers for being so negative at the dawn of Trubisky time.