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Ready or not, Bears have opened door for QB Mitch Trubisky to start

Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky waves to fans Thursday. (AP)

Bears rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky did his best to say nothing. But the moment he stepped on the field with members of the starting offense, it was loud and clear.

It’s Trubisky time.

“[The media] aren’t going to get any crazy answers out of me,” Trubisky said Wednesday. “This is it. Whatever group I go with, I’m just going to play hard and do my job. I love it here. I love my teammates. Everyone’s been great. And we’re just progressing each day.”

Of course, his progress is imperative. He’s the second overall pick; he’s the future. All that matters now is when that starts.

Coach John Fox insisted that Trubisky’s work with the first-team offense — snaps in practice this week and a second-half series or more Sunday against the Titans in Nashville, Tennessee — was planned “a long time ago.”

But Trubisky found out about the first-team plan Tuesday from offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, and Mike Glennon called it a “better question for the coaches.”

“They may have had a plan,” Glennon said.

Here’s our translation: The Bears’ initial plan to be patient with Trubisky has changed because he has made distinguishable progress this preseason and Glennon, on the other hand, hasn’t made enough.

In the end, Trubisky’s work with the starters might prove that he requires more time. The Bears’ gradual approach still might be the best course of action.

But Trubisky’s play up to this point already has proved that he’s ready for more. He has earned a chance to succeed or fail with and against better players.

And the Bears had to give him that opportunity.

The NFL is the ultimate meritocracy. The best players must play. And Trubisky’s performances this preseason merited first-team work.

“[It’s] just to get a true evaluation,” Fox said. “That’s what we’re trying to do, and we’re doing that at all positions, not just the quarterback position.”

But it’s an evaluation the Bears wouldn’t have required if Glennon had played better this preseason. And that’s the point.

If Glennon truly were the unquestioned starter, he’d play into the second half with the starters against the Titans. He needs the work. Instead, the Bears want to see what Trubisky can do with them.

Fox might not want to call his quarterback situation “performance-based,” as he’s known to say often, but Glennon’s struggles have mounted. His exhibition film includes two awful interceptions — including a pick-six — nearly a third thrown into triple coverage and a 48.4 passer rating.

With a partial game plan in place, Glennon could play himself out of the starting job if he flounders against the Titans. At the very least, another bad game will result in a very short leash for the regular season.

With a strong running game and a formidable defensive front already established, an argument can be made that the Bears are a functional quarterback away from being a better-than-decent team.

Is that Glennon or Trubisky?

The Bears owe it to everyone — particularly their players and fans — to find out.

Right now, it looks like Trubisky.

“I would say I’ve shown them what I can do,” Trubisky said. “I think I’ve progressed faster than they expected I would, but I’ve still got a long way to go, and I know that. But I think I’ve shown that I’ve earned these reps, and I just need to continue to get better each day.”

How does he know that he has progressed faster than expected?

“I just kind of get that feel,” he said.

Trubisky isn’t saying it, but he senses that he has changed the conversation at Halas Hall. As he should. It’s probably why he wants to face the Titans’ starters.

Just don’t ask him if he feels he’s ready to start.

“That’s not up to me,” Trubisky said with a smile. “That’s a good question, though. You almost got me.”

Follow me on Twitter @adamjahns.

Email: ajahns@suntimes.com

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