For only the second time in the nine years, a quarterback isn’t going to be in the top spot of my Ten Most Important Chicago Bears’ list. A couple years ago, I had Jay Cutler at number four in the 2015 list, with the new coaching brain trust at the top three spots. With the stink of the Marc Trestman / Phil Emery era still permeating through Halas Hall, I felt it was critical for John Fox, Vic Fangio, and Adam Gase to come in and remove that stench. While the Bears only improved by one win, the culture was changed.
The benefit of hindsight tells us that the Bears could have gone in a younger, more dynamic direction, but at the time, Fox and company was needed.
Which brings up to this year’s list and quarterback Mike Glennon. Had the Bears not chosen Mitchell Trubisky with the second overall pick, I would have had Glennon at #1, but since he’s the veteran placeholder until Trubisky is ready, he’s checking in at #4.
In a quarterback driven league, the QB position is usually the most important on a roster. But with Mitchell “The Future” Trubisky in Chicago’s QB room, Glennon’s importance is lessened.
I still believe the Bears need Glennon to play well in order to find some success, but if he falters, we’ll see the rookie sooner. And that’s an exciting thing.
Glennon is going to be asked to do what Brian Hoyer was asked to do last year; don’t turn the ball over. A lot was made of Hoyer’s dink and dunk style of play, but did you realize he averaged 44 passing attempts in his four starts (weeks 3-6) last year? Did you realize he averaged 330 yards per game (PER GAME!) in his starts? He also completed over 68% of his passes in that stretch. That’s something Glennon, a career 59.4% passer, has only done twice in his 18 career starts.
Glennon does have a bigger arm than Hoyer, but we’ll have to wait and see how often they let him unleash it.
The Bears will need Glennon to be more accurate if they expect him to manage the game à la Hoyer. During his career, he has been decent about protecting the football, with a 2 to 1 touchdown to interception ratio and a 2.4 interception percentage. He did have seven fumbles in 2013, but he was also sacked 40 times.
With the emergence of Jordan Howard, Chicago’s game plan will be a bit more run-centric in 2017. During Hoyer’s starts last year, Howard averaged 16 rushing attempts per game. The Bears, as a team, averaged about 20 per game during that stretch. On the season they were about 60/40 on the pass/run ratio, and I’d expect that to creep closer to 55/45 in 2017.
If the run game is clicking like the Bears expect it to, then Glennon should be able to find some open receivers in the play action game. Teams stacking the box to stop Howard, should give Glennon some one on one opportunities to capitalize on. The key here, obviously, is Glennon making the right reads and being accurate. If he can execute Dowell Loggains’ offense, then the Bears’ offense could surprise.
Even though the Bears inked Glennon to that big contract, the structure of it means he’s basically on a one year trial. With Trubisky in the fold, Glennon knows he’s also auditioning for the other 31 teams in the NFL. He holds his future in his hands. If he plays good football, he’ll open a lot of eyes, and his relatively inexpensive $4.5 million guaranteed in 2018 and 2019, would make him an attractive trade chip.
Even though 2017 is all about the development of Trubisky, and setting this team up for the future, until the rookie takes over, this is Glennon’s team.
Now if by some chance, Trubisky beats out Glennon for the starting job, then I reserve the right to move Trubisky up to #1, and slide one, two, and three down a notch.