The thing about sports and why we become attached to them, is that we have incomplete information about them at almost every opportunity. We watch games such as football because of the element of surprise in the outcomes they offer. If we knew what was going to happen or were reactionary to every single single decision or play made, the essence of investing our worthwhile time would be lost.
Perhaps it’s human nature, but it’s also exhausting from every vantage point to go through what feels like the same exercise.
Unfortunately, what’s that sound you hear? Why, it’s none other than the definitive, 100 percent, end-all be-all, final judgment already being passed on new Chicago Bears quarterbacks, Mitchell Trubisky and Mike Glennon.
One is the “cheated on” veteran signed in free agency who isn’t being given a fair shake and who might be better than originally advertised now. Who deserves something tangible for being adversely treated in Glennon. Which is weird, because two months ago, he was nothing but a stop gap player that the Bears were wasting their time on and money on because of his “expensive” three-year $45 million dollar contract (that’s only $18.5 million in guaranteed money - a one-year deal in essence).
The other is a rookie Chicago was “fleeced” in trading up to acquire in the 2017 NFL Draft, and who is way too raw for the NFL given his just 13 starts in college - all context of college programs ignored - in Trubisky. In selecting him, the Bears wasted an opportunity at a surefire, immediate impact defensive player that absolutely had no bust potential in comparison. Now they’ll forever rue taking the home run shot at the most important position in sports, if he doesn’t become great, let alone pan out at all.
Trubisky is somehow now only another face of the Bears’ continued failure that they’ll never overcome here.
Three things in life are certain: death, taxes, and many a fuss being made over the Bears’ quarterback situation. If the foundation and story lines being laid down with Trubisky and Glennon sound familiar in Chicago, it’s because it just happened with the jettisoned Jay Cutler.
With Cutler, the 34-year-old was constantly criticized for being a non-leader because of his body language, because of what only seemed on the surface as a lackadaisical approach to the game. Or, for not being tough after leaving the 2011 NFC Championship Game due to a knee injury. All easy opinions to draw without delving deeper into the finer tunings of Cutler as a player and person.
If Cutler had performed better than his average consistency, perhaps he would’ve overcome the narrative surrounding his eight-year Bears career that never seemed to get on the right foot after the organization traded for him in 2009.
But then again, this kind of thing happens all over the NFL, so that’s wishful thinking.
For the most prominent example, look at the now-retired Tony Romo, who is only a decimal point behind future first-ballot Hall of Famer Tom Brady in career passer rating (97.1 to 97.2). Objectively, Romo was one of the best quarterbacks in football in the past decade. The kinds of plays he would make while manipulating the pocket and launching bombs after breaking defensive contain were what Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is now famous for. He wasn’t appreciated enough.
But you mishandle one snap in a playoff game or throw an interception (which happens often to many) while trying to win the game for your team after carrying them throughout, and you’re immediately labeled a career choker. That’s all considered, for whatever lazy reason, no matter the brilliance in 95 percent of the rest of your work while carrying a mediocre team.
And it’s the same tired ideal happening again in Chicago. Before either of the newly acquired quarterbacks in Glennon and Trubisky have even touched the playing field. It’s almost as if more evidence is necessary before you can truly pass judgment fairly. It’s almost as if seeking problems that aren’t there, at least yet, makes no sense in the slightest.
In regards to Glennon, yes, of course he’s likely just the Bears’ bridge quarterback while they develop Trubisky. You don’t use the premium draft capital that is the No. 2 overall pick (not to mention the mid-round selections given to move up) on a player with no intention of eventually handing him the reins like Trubisky.
Yet that doesn’t mean Glennon’s automatically going to perform less than adequately in 2017. It doesn’t mean he isn’t going to have a legitimate chance to win the job beyond this season, even if said chance is severely minimized now. And it doesn’t mean the Bears don’t have his best interests in mind in helping him succeed through that process even while a young quarterback sits in the wings.
With Trubisky, the stories surrounding him mean he’s already under the microscope of the city because of the “heavy” draft assets used to acquire him - which really only amounted to a third-round pick in the end. His inexperience means he’s too much of a project. He’ll never pan out, obviously. The Bears should have waited on the 2018 quarterback class, clearly, and put off an opportunity at what they believe is a person they can invest the future of the franchise in.
Even if Trubisky should eventually amount to his potential as a star quarterback, it’ll have taken too long and been too risky of the Bears and general manager Ryan Pace to put themselves on the line in such a fashion.
Said flatly: No. For either passer, correlation does not equal causation.
Here, it’s only assumption to fill in the blanks of heavy rationalization. Rationalization and contempt at an organization and it’s players, who most believe can only do wrong given their history in recent decades in the Bears. Essentially, perspectives already being set in stone and only the most extreme outcomes being able to divert them.
That’s not how verifiable analysis of play works. That’s not how any of this works. At least it shouldn’t. And that’s because it doesn’t make sense. But the jumps to conclusions happen quite often both in Chicago and around the league.
There’ll eventually be a time and place to truly understand where the Bears went wrong or right with their heavy venture at the quarterback position in 2017. But only when you can actually point to something that’s happened on the field.
And to be clear, the only fair ideals will be about performance over an entire body of work, not rampant speculation due to a side glance or look, or because of individual, incredibly rare and bad plays. Otherwise, everything else just becomes white noise in the background.
For now, let the Trubisky and Glennon situations shake out with patience.
Save your protests and grievances for later. Or shelve them altogether. Take a point of view that’s based on facts to be determined. Don’t fall into the same player assessment traps again. Then sit back and relax for a moment.
We don’t know where this Bears quarterback ride is going to go.
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.