So, Mitchell Trubisky has fumbled snaps and the end times are here. Ryan Pace should update his C.V. and it’s time to anoint Connor Shaw the quarterback of the future, because this kid from North Carolina clearly doesn’t have it. To be fair, it dos not come as a surprise that a big deal is being made out of every single action taken by the #2 overall pick in the NFL draft. This is especially true considering the drama surrounding the trade to get him.
However, I think it’s time to step back and look at some of the weird misconceptions surrounding Trubisky. As mentioned, the horror of the football lying on the ground is what prompted this article. I’ll admit that a fumbled snap is far from ideal, but the coverage of these fumbles makes it seem like no quarterback in history has fumbled snaps in training camp before.
Except it has happened. Often. I was bored and so I just searched the window from June to August in 2015, and I had to decide how many different stories were worth reading. I limited myself to the first two pages of results, and then I only clicked on links that representing new teams or players.
I learned that this epic tragedy also happened to the un-named quarterback who fumbled a snap and forced the whole offense to suffer during Raiders training camp in 2015:
Safety Nate Allen scooped up a fumbled snap and the offense did push-ups.
I assume that must not have been Derek Carr. It must be a guy coaching high school by now, right? Well, maybe, but then there’s this about the man who is currently one of the highest paid quarterbacks the league has ever seen (again, from 2015’s training camp news):
Unfortunately for Cousins his good start was undone when he fumbled a clean snap and the defense recovered.
Sadly, these fumbled snaps do put Trubisky in the same conversation as veteran (but sub-par veteran) Ryan Fitzpatrick who fumbled three snaps in one day at Jets’ training camp in 2015, and also EJ Manuel who fumbled consecutive snaps from center in the Bills’ training camp two years ago.
The point? Even if we assume that every mistake got reported, that’s four different teams dealing with fumbled snaps during training camp in one year. Go back to the Raiders, story, though, because it rings a bell with something that happened a year earlier to trade bait “Golden Boy” Jimmy Garoppolo, when Bleacher Report carried a story on Patriots training camp:
He's taken multiple penalty laps after fumbling snaps and hasn't been up to par in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.
With the Raiders it was push-ups and with the Patriots it was laps, but it’s almost like both teams had systems in place for (drum roll) something that just happens. It’s worthy of punishment and probably some scorn among professionals, and I’m sure that each player felt bad about it, but it’s not the end of the world.
Likewise, there seem to be some who believe that if Trubisky does not play right away, something has gone wrong. I have also read in a few places that it is risky for Pace not to have his top pick play at once.
How rare is this, though? Even leaving aside the obvious fact that Carson Wentz only saw the field so quickly in 2016 was because of the weird circumstances surrounding Teddy Bridgewater’s injury, it’s worth pointing out that Wentz was not alone in having been intended to warm a bench in 2016. Paxton Lynch (drafted in the first round in 2016) didn’t play until Week 5 of his rookie year.
While no first-rounder sat from the 2015 class, all of the 2014 first-rounders did. Bortles did not start until Week 4, Manziel didn’t start until Week 15, and while Bridgewater did start from Week 4 on, it was obvious that the plan was to sit him longer, even if Cassel’s injury made that unreasonable.
Note that many of these stories involve quarterbacks sitting until injury forces them into starting. This, ultimately, is why Mark Sanchez makes sense as an insurance policy. Even if Sanchez is not the type of quarterback to awe defenses, in his current state he represents a steady hand that can step in if Glennon cannot (or should not) play. In that event, the Bears are a step ahead of the teams that were forced to play their first-round quarterbacks ahead of schedule.
Here I should admit that I am personally in the camp that thinks that Trubisky should sit for a year while Glennon either proves himself or takes the lumps for the team while Mitchell sorts it all out. I am neither worried about the fumbled snaps nor ready for the new era. I want to see if Glennon can prove me wrong, and I want the man in whom the Bears have invested so much to have the best possible chance of being ready. Sitting a top quarterback is clearly a thing that happens, and while it will likely not eliminate all of the little hiccups (like fumbled snaps), it is nice to see the organization plan for all possibilities.
Finally, I am also in the camp that is really tired of false crises. The Bears have real struggles. I don’t mind reading about those. I’m a little tired of people exaggerating minor issues into bigger problems, though.
Trubisky has time to work these things out. It’s why Glennon has the contract he does, and it’s why Sanchez is there to make sure that there is as little pressure as possible. The quarterback situation is actually under control in Chicago, even if it’s the sort of control that requires patience instead of hot takes.