We know that being a fan of the Chicago Bears can be a difficult experience. We know that in a single season, game, or quarter it can be difficult to make sense of things. It’s easy to overreact, and all of that rapid cycling being joy and sorrow can take a lot out of a fan. Therefore, we’re going to overreact for you. That’s right, after each preseason game of 2017, Robert and I are going to try to capture the total fan experience. We’ll bring you the highs and lows of being a Bears fan in one easy article. Ready? Here we go.
Robert: Now I know Mitch Trubisky’s first real competition was against third-stringer Broncos, but if you wanted to script the debut for a future Hall of Fame quarterback any better, you couldn’t. It doesn’t matter. The nerve to drive the team down for a touchdown on a two-minute drill in your first professional action ever. The very Aaron Rodgers-like athleticism while rolling out and firing darts to Deonte Thompson and Tanner Gentry. Trubisky did everything on the field that you’d expect a future legend to do. It’s okay to get excited about his preseason debut. It’s okay to lose your mind and note that Trubisky currently has 18 more completions and more touchdowns than Tom Brady this preseason. Trubisky’s starting to nip at his heels, in all honesty with a 107.3 passer rating after one game. It’s perfectly alright to be happy.
Josh: Trubisky was great, there’s no doubt about that. He clearly represents the future of this franchise. That’s what makes it all the more unforgivable that he was left in as long as he was. The game did not actually count and putting him in there at the end with scrubs around him was just asking to end his career before it even begins. The coaching staff should have protected the future and sent Glennon out there again.
In fact, we need to talk about Mike Glennon for a moment. He is the highest paid player on the Bears. His first completed pass was a touchdown - to defensive player Chris Harris. Wow. I mean, the skill it takes to do that is impressive. More than that, how does a human giraffe get his passes knocked down at the line of scrimmage? I mean, he’s basically throwing from the height of the field goal crossbar, but somehow Broncos are getting their hands on these passes. Glennon had a passer rating of 0.0. Zero! Even Rex Grossman only managed that once in 54 games. Of course, the fact that Glennon had a 0.0 passer rating after five possessions suggests that maybe I was wrong in the thread about the 53-man roster. Maybe the Bears should keep a fullback and just play single wing until Trubisky is ready. 12 minutes went by before the first Bears first down.
While I’m on that subject, how is a snap over Glennon’s head? More than that, the Bears had three chances to recover the fumble and still didn’t do it. After reading about how great Glennon is at making adjustments, I would think “snap the ball in my direction,” would be under control. I mean, that’s leadership, right?
Robert: I’ll note that even without Von Miller, the Broncos first’ team defense is stupid good defending the pass. This defense was No. 1 in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA last year. They flex their muscles on all offense’s. Denver arguably has the best secondary in the league with Harris, Aqib Talib, and Bradley Roby. It shouldn’t be a shock that a quarterback who hasn’t really played in two years and who has a slow release as well as limited athleticism looked bad against them. Most other passers would’ve as well.
For Glennon, he didn’t receive much help from the first team offense either. Cody Whitehair had an off night with penalties and shaky snapping. Cameron Meredith had a pair of drops. Meanwhile Kevin White enjoyed no targets. The Bears did a poor job of lifting their Napoleon Dynamite, it’s as simple as that.
Josh: So, the upside to Glennon is that he was only bad because the Bears’ first string of receivers were bad? That’s a familiar excuse in some parts, but White wasn’t targeted because he wasn’t making himself available. Glennon was supposed to be able to run a smooth and efficient offense, and he didn’t deliver. Well, except to Harris.
Robert: Now enough about the quarterbacks. How about 2017 Defensive Player Of The Year, Leonard Floyd? I don’t know many edge rushers that would set the tone for the Bears’ defensive season by getting a sack on the very first play like Floyd did against Denver. The reported hype and size from camp (reported most often by yours truly) is very real and factual. He still has the same freakish burst and first step all while at a comfortable new playing size. If you translated Floyd’s one sack and one quarterback pressure from the first quarter last night across 16 regular season games, that’d be 64 sacks and 64 pressures individually. I’m not saying, I’m just saying: it might be time to engrave the name of the Bears’ defensive face of the franchise on a trophy.
Josh: Floyd had a good play. He did. However, the Bears immediately let Trevor Siemian. undo the lost yardage. Maybe there should be other players trying to tackle, too? In fact, Floyd was the only Bear to record a sack or quarterback hit in the first three quarters of football. There’s something wrong with a team that relies on John Timu to generate a pass rush. On that note, can someone remind me why Mitch Unrein is playing? He’s only an impact player when he’s letting other teams draw him offsides. He shows up on the the penalty list but not the stat sheet. The technical term for that is “not good”.
Robert: You can’t argue against depth guys performing. Siemian is a perfectly average quarterback capable of putting together good possessions every now and then. He isn’t good at his job. He isn’t awful. If Bears’ backups or other guys down the roster are letting up a little bit in that respect, they’re merely working with the talent available on the field collectively. It’s the first preseason game. Let players such as Unrein and Timu get into the swing of things. Let them follow Trubisky - the face of the franchise - and his lead on how to perform in August. You know they can.
For a final defensive showcase, it looks like head coach John Fox’s loose comparison of Eddie Jackson to Hall of Famer Rod Woodson was more than apt. The rookie didn’t intercept any passes but made several plays on the ball that would be reminiscent of a star ballhawk safety you can rely on for years to come. One tackle doesn’t do Jackson’s performance in coverage justice. Those will assuredly come. The young defender out of Alabama put on a little show of range that most Bears fans wouldn’t be used to from the safety position. It’s only a matter of time before the smooth Jackson starts next to Quintin Demps and lights it up. Mike Brown who?
Josh: Wait, you’re arguing the secondary as a strength? Jackson better pay off, because the so-called depth behind him is just sad. I have to ask--is DeAndre Houston-Carson actually John Fox’s missing son-in-law? I mean, I get how special teams coach Jeff Rodgers has a job. I don’t get why No. 36 is allowed on the field. It wasn’t just him, though. The vaunted depth in the secondary never showed up. After picking up something like a dozen defensive backs in free agency (or, at least, that’s what it seemed like), the Bears were still left with the same old problems. Prosinski managed to drop a ball thrown right to him with such perfect inability I was reminded of Barkley-to-Bellamy. Tackling in the fourth quarter turned into Keystone Cops, as players ran into each other. Any group that lets Kyle Sloter complete a 47-yard touchdown should be ashamed of itself. That needs to be repeated: Sloter torched a Bears’ secondary. I don’t care which “string” it was, they were players in the uniform of a professional football team that gave up a 47-yard TD to Kyle Sloter.
Robert: Chicago’s third and fourth string defense didn’t perform well, especially with a lead. There’s no denying that. But the crucial preseason is a marathon, not a sprint. You have to learn how to walk before you can run. That’s merely what these Bears defenders such as Prosinski and Houston-Carson were doing. The bottom-of-the-roster Bears had to taste failure before they could climb the mountain. Players like Sloter peaked too early. It’s all downhill from here for guys such as him. This is a non-issue for Chicago’s defense as far as I’m concerned. They’re all ready for the summit.
Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for the Rock River Times and an editor for Windy City Gridiron. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski. Josh Sunderbruch is a writer for Windy City Gridiron doing his best Bears number crunch on a regular basis.