In case you haven’t heard, one thing’s certain as Chicago Bears spurned free agent acquisition Mike Glennon met with reporters after Tuesday’s OTA practice: “This is my year” as he put it when discussing, yes, a brewing quarterback controversy at Halas Hall.
No, that year is not 2018, when almost assuredly 2017 No. 2 overall pick Mitchell Trubisky will be the likely starter. No, it’s not 2019, when Trubisky will either start to struggle or really blossom as the Bears’ man under center. 2017 is Glennon’s year. Right now. This current developing moment. The next approximate half year, it’s his year. And boy did Glennon seem adamant about that fact (unofficial count of “this is my year” in some form up to a mentioned 13 times).
A player who was supposedly signed by the Bears to be a long-term starter in Glennon (not many actually believed this, besides perhaps Glennon), now finds himself smack dab in no man’s land as a starter - or likely starter depending on how you view Trubisky - and he’s obviously not happy. Breaking news. That man is not going to let go of his opportunity until he unequivocally, absolutely loses out it of the palm of a tight-gripped hand.
“It’s been clear in the building that this year is my year and everyone is on board with that.”
That’s an interesting sentiment from Glennon because it’d be quite the poll to find exactly who “in the building” i.e. Halas Hall he’s referring to?
It almost assuredly isn’t general manager Ryan Pace, who made a costly trade up to get Trubisky, his answer at quarterback. While Pace was also the evaluator who signed Glennon to a deal after largely doing nothing as a starter for two years, said contract is also only structured to be guaranteed for one season. That tells you his current thoughts on the veteran passer. Though sure, Pace was also the guy who made sure to call Glennon after drafting Trubisky telling him this was “his year.”
But words and actions are different, because even that season isn’t guaranteed to play out how Glennon believes it will in starting a full 16-game slate while lighting it up in a showcase to help the Bears win. Unless I’m mistaken (I’m not), no one affiliated with the Bears has come out and said Trubisky will 100 percent not start a game in 2017. Sure, they’ve declared Glennon the starter. But no one has made sure to mention that this will be some kind of redshirt season for their 22-year-old prodigy. Not by a long shot. There are too many scenarios in play.
For one, eliminating competition before it starts would be counterproductive for both Glennon and Trubisky, both of whom would benefit from a little fire, instead of being handed a job. On the other hand, the Bears don’t know exactly what they have in Glennon or Trubisky, even while they extensively put both through in the ringer in evaluation. For all of their homework done, there’s no logistical reason to definitively say that Glennon will even be adequate and that Trubisky can’t seize out the Bears’ starting quarterback role in training camp. There’s too many unknowns once you actually hit the field.
Are those people “in the building” related to head coach John Fox, who knows he needs the Bears to show real progress as a team this season to stay on as head coach?
Who gives the veteran 62-year-old a better chance to win, realistically: Glennon or Trubisky?
The easy answer would be Glennon given his experience, but much like the rookie Trubisky is inexperienced as a whole with just 13 college starts, Glennon only has 18 starts under his belt as a professional. Perhaps in the end once both have gone through the gauntlet, Trubisky actually turns out to be the guy even the notoriously safe and hardball Fox prefers as far as a quarterback because he performed better under the Bears’ rigors.
Is anyone in the locker room already tied to Glennon? The funny thing about this potential Bears’ quarterback controversy, is that neither Glennon or his younger competition in Trubisky have really done much of anything for the organization yet. While Trubisky has only been with the Bears for roughly three weeks, Glennon has only been with them for just over three months. That’s not enough time to win over player support as this was all in the offseason and completely unrelated to game action. Everything has been away from the field after all.
Once you win the loyalty and trust of an NFL player, it’s a difficult thing to lose. But it’s also incredibly difficult to gain and there certainly hasn’t been enough sample size for any face of the Bears franchise to truly win over the locker room.
Ultimately, it feels like Glennon is a man standing alone here in his belief even while he’s certainly drummed up some support somewhere. But let’s be clear, he is perfectly entitled to being unhappy and being a stickler at potentially losing his job as a starter. Who would be satisfied at having a guy gunning for what was supposed to be yours, especially with everything in place ready for him to take over? These are feelings he’s allowed to possess even as the Bears don’t owe him anything.
But, Glennon is simultaneously a competitor and professional, ready for what’s ahead in his interactions with Trubisky and likewise. He’s ready to help his very green understudy as he expressed oh so clearly.
"Am I going to help Mitch as much as I can? Definitely. But, my job is to win football games for the Chicago Bears."
That sounds like someone open to helping along development while also recognizing he doesn’t want to lose a foothold more than anything. A true, quality mentorship in the making with the former NC State starter ready to help the North Carolina alumnus, Trubisky, shine.
“My five years at NC State, we won four out of five.”
That’s a head scratcher.
That instead sounds like someone not open to wholly bringing a younger quarterback along. That sounds like someone referencing past rivalries in college in order to open the salvos of competition in the NFL. In other words, it sounds like Glennon openly letting the world know, “let the games begin.”
Paging Hard Knocks for a late addition, please.
Amid all this awkward hoopla that seemingly only the Bears could throw themselves into, its fair to wonder if Glennon still would have signed with them in March if he knew Chicago was to draft Trubisky. Of course, the veteran also addressed this saying “I would still have come here.”
That’s frankly hard to believe and a little far-fetched in a non-public view. The opportunity to start outright is what entices any player, and with Trubisky here, Glennon knows his career with the Bears isn’t long in the tooth. Stability is a luxury most would prefer to enjoy as opposed to having someone breathing down your neck even as it potentially makes you better in preparation. Glennon could play well and the thought of another player jumping into the fold as soon as he makes a mistake or gets injured will always be in the back of his mind.
Because in actuality, as he’s set to show the Bears he belongs, Glennon also didn’t ask for this situation. He didn’t ask to simply be a placeholder for even this year. He wanted to be the man in Chicago. A tough pill to swallow when that doesn’t come to fruition.
Now down the line, its possible Glennon appreciates what the Bears have done for him in giving him a chance to prove himself after being relegated to purgatory with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In that light, he’ll relish “his year” with Chicago as a real opportunity for a tryout to find the team that instead commits to him in the way he’s seeking. That would make more sense. That would put matters into perspective for all parties at Halas Hall peacefully as tensions in the quarterback room rise in the present.
For Glennon, there’s only one perspective.
“This year is my year and I’m not going to worry about the future.”
If only it were so simple to have that kind of tunnel vision.
Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for the Rock River Times and is a staff writer for Windy City Gridiron. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.