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Football Outsiders: “Glennon could develop into an NFL starter”

NFL: Denver Broncos at Chicago Bears Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday we brought you guys part one of our Football Outsiders Q&A, all about the Chicago Bears secondary, and today our focus shifts to the Bears’ offense.

The Football Outsiders’ 2017 almanac, which covers the upcoming NFL and college football season is a must read. It’s jam packed full of interesting nuggets that you can spend hours going over.

When we sent our Bears’ questions over to FO, we didn’t realize that we’d get the Head of Football Outsiders and ESPN Insider analyst, Aaron Schatz, to be answering our questions. Before Aaron chimed in, he let us know that Cian Fahey wrote the chapter in the Almanac on the Bears, but since Fahey left for ESPN, he’d be responding personally. I’d consider getting FO’s Editor In Chief to substitute a win for WCG.

WCG - Do you think Jordan Howard will have a sophomore slump, and do you think rookie Tarik Cohen will provide a good change of pace to Howard?

Aaron - From a standard stats point of view, it might look like a sophomore slump, because it’s hard to maintain a 5.2 ypc average. But even if you cut out a couple of the long highlight runs, I don’t see a reason to believe Howard’s going to be any less efficient on a play-by-play basis. The talent is there, the strength and vision are good, he’s explosive, and the offensive line is strong run-blocking. I will admit to not knowing much about Cohen, and we don’t have a BackCAST projection for him because he came out of an FCS school. Certainly he seems like a player with a complementary skill set to Howard’s, and that’s a good thing to have as a change of pace.

WCG - Dowell Loggains’ first year as offensive coordinator in Chicago was a bit up and down, with most fans not expecting much from him in 2017. Do you think he’ll fall into a good rhythm as a play caller in this offense?

Aaron - Who knows? It’s certainly hard to learn anything about an offensive coordinator from what he did in the year where the offense ranked 31st in injuries and went through three quarterbacks. I threw this question to Tom Gower, who is a Tennessee fan (where Loggains was previously OC) and lives in Chicago and here was his response:

“Loggains will assuredly stick to the same basic ideas as a coordinator, because that's how John Fox wants to play. Establishing a good rhythm as a play-caller is probably less important than building some sort of sustainable success. Jordan Howard looks like the best bet for that, as settling on a single quarterback and then establishing consistency and a connection with a humdrum group of wide receivers that will probably be challenged against the better defenses the Bears face (a) will probably take time and (b) may not work that well even at its best.

He showed in Tennessee in 2013 he was able to change mid-season, shifting from deeper throws with Jake Locker to more of a short passing game with Ryan Fitzpatrick, so he won't necessarily be wedded to something that's obviously failing. But we project the Bears to have a below-average offense, and unless Glennon/Trubisky is much better than expected and establishes a good connection with the receivers, it's hard to see this as a top-ten unit regardless of coordinator.”

WCG - Some Bears’ fans are really down on the thought of Mike Glennon at quarterback, can you give them anything to be hopeful for?

Aaron - I suppose Glennon could develop into an NFL starter. It’s not out of the realm of possibility. By FO stats, he was replacement level as a rookie, which is fine for a rookie, and he was sort of average limited time in his second season, and that’s fine too. He’s got a good arm, he can push the ball downfield if the Bears have receivers who can get open on those plays. I just feel like, once they drafted Trubisky nobody knows what the point of the whole thing is. The chances that Glennon plays well enough to lift this team into the playoffs in 2017 is small.

If he does… what do the Bears do with him? Sit Trubisky another year or two and let Glennon play out his contract as the starter? And if he doesn’t… the Bears traded up in the draft, took a quarterback who barely played in college, and then sat him on the bench to barely play in his rookie year too. Most Bears fans don’t seem to understand the logic of all this. Most writers don’t seem to understand the logic of all this. And I’m not going to tell you there’s some secret logic to all this that Football Outsiders has suddenly figured out with our counterintuitive analytical minds. I don’t get it either.

Now it’s your turn. Sound off in the comment section about their thoughts on the Bears’ offense.

You can follow FO on Twitter here - @fboutsiders

Aaron Schatz can be found here - @FO_ASchatz

Tom Gower’s Twitter is here - @ThomasGower

And you can pick up your copy of the Football Outsiders Almanac 2017 right here.

Thanks for time fellas!