Aside from great defensive play, a quarterback controversy concerning the Chicago Bears is without a doubt the franchise's most hallowed tradition. They simply wouldn't be the "Bears" if there wasn't a debate about who should be under center. It's a strange feeling when that conversation concerning Bears quarterbacks isn't existent because it's so incredibly rare.
Make no mistake, as many in the city of Chicago sit here still reveling in the stellar preseason debut of the No. 2 overall pick Mitchell Trubisky, there isn't enough of a tangible quarterback controversy yet between the hotshot rookie and veteran Mike Glennon - who the Bears anointed as the "unquestioned" starter to open camp. Falling victim to the small sample size of a quarterback's play is also a Bears' football tradition, after all.
However, Trubisky, even while going against many bottom-of-the-roster Broncos' players, showed special ability. It wouldn't be a stretch to say he actually exceeded expectations for his first professional action. The Bears certainly didn't expect him to light it up as much as they will downplay what happened.
Still, Trubisky has to climb the proverbial mountain of Chicago's depth chart. A mountain the Bears unnecessarily artificially built for themselves by simply handing over the keys to Glennon from the outset. A decision that in retrospect, made sense in the context of understanding that Trubisky, he of 13 college starts, likely needs a little seasoning first.
But what if it becomes clearly evident that Trubisky's much farther along than expected? That the "gamer" in Trubisky, meaning a player that elevates his play in live games, will continue to stack these kinds of performances through the rest of August and effectively apply heat on Glennon?
These are perfectly applicable and foreseeable scenarios that create a problem at Halas Hall. One of the good long-term view variety, to be fair.
Now, as much as head coach John Fox will try to nip this situation in the bud, its likely too late for the Bears to limit any sentiment of a quarterback controversy.
Pandora's Box opened on this Trubisky two-minute drill touchdown pass to Victor Cruz. Whatever forced plan general manager Ryan Pace and company were considering went out the window in the public eye with the flick of the young passer's wrist.
The "evils" of the world continued to mercilessly flow out once Trubisky began the game with a double-digit streak of completions. Once Trubisky again and again showcased incredible poise and athleticism on lasers such as this throw to Deonte Thompson.
A rookie quarterback like Trubisky, regardless of the opposition or game setting, should not be able to make that throw with such ease and confidence. A deep out in the NFL is considered the most difficult of constraints for any quarterback - from an All-Pro to rookie - to complete. That Trubisky did this repeatedly all while on the move thereby increasing the degree of difficulty, a strength of his that carried over from his days at North Carolina, spoke volumes.
The highlight reel, of which there aren't really any lowlights to sift through for, only continues on another similar type of play to Trubisky's camp chemistry connection in Tanner Gentry.
The accuracy, the ball placement, the chutzpah: it's all there. Everything you want form a franchise quarterback. A franchise quarterback that Trubisky may well become in time.
Yes, Trubisky was playing against third-stringers. He should've lit them up and it would've been okay if he didn't considering his rookie status. Their presence undoubtedly offered assistance.
That's important to keep in mind for the required jaded perspective. Remember that Glennon was facing Denver's top defense, who even without the superstar Von Miller, still possesses a vaunted secondary featuring some of the game's best. It would be misguided to say that was wholly the reason for Glennon's subpar 0.0 passer rating goose egg. He had to be better. It still definitely played a part while helping boost the bubble surrounding Trubisky.
And, Trubisky isn't the first rookie quarterback to ever light up a preseason game against backups. Guys like the Titans' Jake Locker of year's past come to mind. He's not heading to Canton or taking the Bears' starting quarterback role based on one game. You have to let this play out.
There's the rub: Trubisky was also playing with third-stringers. That part of this formula doesn't matter as much as to how he made plays against the mediocre depth Broncos defense.
All of the traits of a star quarterback in the modern era were shown by Trubisky. He showcased anticipation on throws to get receivers open, continually fitting the ball in tight windows with a lightning-quick release. He was poised and not rattled by pressure, instead making plays with his feet either as a runner or to find guys like Thompson down field.
Most importantly, Trubisky's accuracy - most's favorite trait of his coming out of the draft - was impeccable. Even on incompletions such as to Daniel Brown in the end zone, Trubisky threw the ball to a perfect spot where only his receiver could get it. There were no sailed throws or mistimed releases here, no sir.
And in case you forgot, the Bears tested Trubisky by immediately inserting him into a two-minute drill. He, of course, passed with flying colors in driving the offense right down the field for that Cruz touchdown. Imagine him with better talent. Just picture the possibilities in your mind.
Now herein lies the dilemma for the Bears. They don't get to control the perception around their organization (try as they may and oh boy do they try). This applies to any conversation point from off-field issues, to charity events, to yes, a quarterback controversy.
Ever the notoriously non-committal man he is, Fox still tried to grab a hold of this situation as he took a small garden hose to put out the growing forest fire.
""Our depth chart is not going to change after one game, particularly a preseason game," said Fox on whether Trubisky earned a promotion to No. 2 quarterback for his efforts.
The notion that going 18-for-25 with 166 yards and a touchdown pass, running for 38 yards, and also leading three scoring drives, isn't enough to earn a promotion over the mediocre veteran Mark Sanchez, is utterly preposterous. Fox knew it as soon as the words left his lips.
The Bears know what's happening here. They know the public outcry is only bound to grow now provided Trubisky does his part. Because a quarterback controversy isn't declared by a team. It always stems from public sentiment in either the fans, media, or both. And the clearer it becomes that Trubisky is actually ready for his NFL starting moment - that is, if it does - that outcry will have an ear-piercing decibel. The wellspring of hope for a fan base desperately seeking a star quarterback and championship-contending team is now open.
Guys on the Bears' roster will know it too.
Players rally around the quarterback who they believe gives them a better chance to win. Support comes for the guy who can help in the here and now. That's why all you've heard thus far in Bears camp has been praise of "leadership" for Glennon. Up until now, he's been the unquestioned starter and Trubisky hasn't been given the opportunity to prove himself to the team. You don't win jobs on the practice field. Glennon hasn't proven himself either to these Bears, but most of these players know he has some tangible NFL experience and that counts ten-fold to a veteran.
Circumstances change in the blink of an eye in an NFL locker room, however. If it turns out that Trubisky starts to separate himself from Glennon, and if Glennon continues to have abhorrent starts, there'll be no denying the inevitable for risk of a locker room schism: everyone will see it clear as day. Ultimately, the Bears would be wise not to deny the better player his mantel should it shake out in that fashion.
Whatever the case, Trubisky, not one to get too caught up in the moment, understood the gravity of his first game.
"It's hopefully the first game of a long journey. It was special to be out there."
That long journey could begin sooner than the Bears would ever care to admit.
Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for the Rock River Times and is an editor for Windy City Gridiron. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.