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Preseason is now a test of Bears QB Mike Glennon’s ‘inner confidence’

Mike Glennon is the Bears' starter. (AP)

With the selection of Mitch Trubisky still reverberating at Halas Hall on draft night, general manager Ryan Pace phoned Mike Glennon.

He had to.

Of course, it would be awkward; Glennon wouldn’t be happy. The Bears signed Glennon to start; Pace said as much. But Trubisky’s arrival changed everything.

When the Browns passed on Trubisky with the first overall selection, Pace was emboldened. At that point, Trubisky became the draft. Pace saw a franchise-changing quarterback, as did many others in the organization. It was a franchise-changing opportunity.

Glennon, though, still had a place in Pace’s franchise. Pace, respected by players for his man-to-man approach, wanted Glennon to know that. The opportunity he was promised still existed.

“I like a lot of things about Mike Glennon,” Pace said April 29 after the draft concluded. “But one of the things I really like is the inner confidence that he has.

‘‘He’s a confident guy. He believes in himself, and he should because he’s a good player.

“I’m glad Mike’s here. Mike’s our starting quarterback, as I’ve stated. I think any quarterback’s just got to be able to brush off adversity and fight through, and that’s what Mike will do.”

As it turns out, that’s what the preseason is about for Glennon now.

Since the draft, Glennon has said and done all the right things. He has taken charge of the Bears — and his second chance to prove himself as a quarterback.

But Trubisky’s impressive debut and Glennon’s woes last week against the Broncos changed the conversation.

In a way, it’s the worst thing that could’ve happened to Glennon, who has had his struggles in practice. The disparity in play was that great. It opened the door for a controversy.

But the Bears hope the Broncos game turns out to be the best thing to happen to Glennon. Trubisky’s emergence has turned into a direct challenge of Glennon’s “inner confidence.” It’s really an ideal situation. The Bears needed Glennon’s resolve to be tested.

Regardless of how much coach John Fox tries to downplay it, there’s pressure on Glennon to perform. He has to prove them right or risk seeing his starting opportunity slip away. He needs to reward their faith.

Glennon should’ve been prepared for this situation, too. At some point, Trubisky was going to play well and enthrall a downtrodden fan base in the preseason. The defenses are too bland, his competition too unproven. The onus is on Glennon to produce better than a 0.0 passer rating.

“I watched the preseason games, but I just avoid the possible distraction of hearing what people may say,” Glennon said. “The only thing that matters are the coaches and the players in the locker room, and what they have to say. That’s where my focus is.”

During a recent interview on the Hoge & Jahns Podcast, Pace reaffirmed his faith in Glennon — “Mike’s our starter, and we’re rolling that way” — but he also said a “competitive environment” exists among the quarterbacks.

Trubisky can be thanked for that, and the Bears believe Glennon will respond Saturday against the Cardinals in their second exhibition game.

“It’ll be good to get out there and play again,” Glennon said.

The Bears don’t want to rush Trubisky. Pace’s redshirt plan remains in place. One preseason game was never going to change that.

But if Glennon is going to be the Bears’ starter, he needs to play like it. Having intangibles and being a leader matter, but so does production.

His play is the only factor that will force the Bears’ hand on Trubisky. The best players must play. Glennon must prove that this preseason.

Follow me on Twitter @adamjahns.

Email: ajahns@suntimes.com

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