Podcast in Print: Hold Bears QB Mike Glennon to a higher standard

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Adam L. Jahns and WGN Radio’s Adam Hoge have co-hosted a Bears podcast together since the 2015 season. The “Hoge & Jahns Podcast” can be found on chicago.suntimes.com and wgnradio.com. It’s also available on the WGN Radio app, iTunes and the TuneIn app.

Adam L. Jahns: Well, Adam, another season of Bears podcasting is in full swing. Our podcast has grown. We’ve recorded over 100 episodes together. We’re international, with listeners in Europe and Australia, too. That’s cool. We have plenty to discuss, but with this being our first time in “print,” let’s focus on the most important storyline of the entire season: the quarterbacks. I left Soldier Field on Sunday thinking that Mike Glennon was fine in his Bears regular-season debut. He didn’t turn the ball over, an important factor for a quarterback under coach John Fox. He was good late. But as I went through the film, I came away wanting more. And the Bears probably feel the same way.

Adam Hoge: “Fine” is the perfect way to describe Glennon’s debut. The first three quarters were underwhelming. Part of that is because he wasn’t asked to do too much, but he also missed a few throws, including a short one to tight end Zach Miller, who was wide open with room to run. On the other hand, Glennon was great in the fourth quarter. The protection was better, and that allowed Glennon to step into his throws and deliver strikes. But a familiar issue emerged again when the Bears got down to the 5-yard line at the end of the game. Glennon struggles without optimal conditions. Receiver Josh Bellamy got held on first down, and running back Jordan Howard has to catch the ball on second down, but both throws could’ve been better. The timing with Miller was off on third down. With both tackles allowing pressure on fourth down, Glennon’s limited mobility led to an easy sack. We saw that throughout the game. I thought all but one of the sacks on Glennon could’ve been avoided by a more mobile quarterback — such as the one sitting on the Bears’ bench Sunday.

Jahns: To me, all four sacks were avoidable. When Falcons defensive end Brooks Reed got Glennon on his play-action rollout, it was telling that you didn’t see a play like that called again. You need your quarterback to throw the ball away in that instance if he can’t elude the defender. The Falcons also got Glennon with a blitz, but it wasn’t instantaneous. Where’s the pre-snap read? Where’s the hot read? Remember, he’s playing right now because he has more in-game experiences and knowledge than Mitch Trubisky. I don’t want to come off as overly critical of Glennon. Context matters. It was his first start in years. And, in general, he did what was asked of him. But we have 16 million reasons to hold him to a high standard. A win was there.

Bears quarterback Mike Glennon. (AP)

Hoge: That last point is key. In fact, the whole team needs to be held to a high standard, especially if this team is as good as Fox says it is. Most fans I’ve interacted with since Sunday seem satisfied that the Bears were just competitive. They gave up an 88-yard bomb and had four shots at the end zone. They should’ve won. Part of the problem with being 9-24 under Fox is that it conditions the fan base to accept mediocrity. You only get 16 games a season, and you can’t throw away wins. Would they have won had Trubisky played? Maybe. You better believe Ryan Pace and especially Fox, who needs wins more than anyone, are wondering the same thing. If Glennon plays like he did Sunday and the Bears win games, then that will keep Trubisky on the bench. But moral victories aren’t good enough.

Jahns: The Bears are a good team. I’ve felt that way since training camp, and the preseason and their loss to the Falcons strengthened that belief. But how many wins will be “sacrificed” by playing it tight and relying on Glennon to win in the end? Close games call for quarterback production. They call for big plays from him. The Bears’ lack of weapons is disconcerting, but that’s why you need more from Glennon. He needs to buy his receivers time to get open. He needs to raise their game by raising his. Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains can help with that. But Glennon’s ability to produce in trying moments will be telling. The Bears do have more weapons, by the way. Why’d it take so long to establish Kendall Wright and Dion Sims?

Hoge: Other than not having rookie running back Tarik Cohen on the field for three of the last four plays, Loggains kept the ball moving with limited options at receiver and a quarterback that is mostly cemented to the pocket. You’re right that they need to get Sims and Wright involved earlier, but they’re one Cohen injury away from having zero game-changers. Howard is a good player, but I’m talking about unique talents that earn the focus of the defense every snap. Unfortunately, there are no easy fixes to the receiver situation. It’s September. To me, the only potential solution is Trubisky. The Bears lack receivers who get open quickly. That’s a bad combination with Glennon’s inability to buy time. That failed rollout you referenced is the perfect example. Loggains should probably keep that play in the Trubisky playbook. Meanwhile, every Jerrell Freeman-like injury on defense is going to make it harder to keep games close. I’m not ready to say Trubisky should start this Sunday against the Buccaneers, but it only seems like a matter of time before the choice is No. 10.

Follow Jahns and Hoge on Twitter @adamjahns and @AdamHoge.

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