While we await word about when the Bears finally will admit the obvious and announce that Mitch Trubisky is their starting quarterback, one question:
Could general manager Ryan Pace have been any more wrong about Mike Glennon?
It’s hard to recall a player being exposed for what he is as quickly as Glennon has been. We’re talking world-record speed here. It took only a few days of training camp to see Glennon wasn’t what Pace had made him about to be. And Pace had made him out to be ‘‘a big quarterback with a strong arm.’’
‘‘He can see the field, he’s accurate, he gets the ball out quick,’’ Pace said at Glennon’s introductory news conference in March. ‘‘So there’s a lot of traits about him that I like.’’
And then the games started. Oh, man, the games. What had been evident in camp became the basis for the Bears’ game plans. Because Glennon had little accuracy on deep passes, they settled for one of two kinds of passes: short and shorter.
In the Bears’ 1-3 start, Glennon has averaged a paltry six yards per pass attempt and his passer rating is 76.9. He has thrown four touchdown passes and five interceptions, including two picks in the terrible loss Thursday to the Packers. He also has lost two fumbles, both coming Thursday. He has only four completions of 20 yards or more.
It has been unwatchable. Making it worse is that Trubisky, who is exceptionally athletic, has been waiting in the wings while Glennon, who has the mobility of a pool table, has continued to play.
I’m not trying to pile on Glennon. Really, I’m not. He’s not to blame for this mess. There was nothing in his background with the Buccaneers to suggest he was going to be a good quarterback, and he simply has lived up to that beige scouting report. It’s not his fault the Bears inflated his abilities beyond recognition. It’s not his fault the Bears gave him $18.5 million in guaranteed money. It’s not his fault Bears wide receivers were injured at such a high rate.
So what did Pace see in Glennon, and what was he drinking when he saw it?
It should have been a tipoff when Pace was pumped that Glennon, upon arriving at Halas Hall for the first time, asked for the playbook, photos of everyone in the building with whom he might interact and the cellphone numbers of his teammates on offense.
‘‘Right away, I think that tells you something about a guy when that’s kind of his mindset before he walks in the building,’’ Pace said.
This is the type of thing a coach or a GM stresses when he runs out of material about a player’s ability and his results on the field. I’ve never seen someone peel a banana at breakfast with such singular focus! Or, He answers all his own fan mail — with a calligrapher’s pen!
NFL talent evaluators are wrong all the time; it’s goes with the job. But this was a complete whiff that came with a ton of guaranteed money. It was a whiff that well could force the Bears to play a rookie quarterback before his time.
They had a plan. It’s not going as planned. Because Glennon isn’t what they conjured him up to be, it appears almost certain they’ll be forced to expose Trubisky to an offense lacking weapons. He’ll have to make plays with his legs and with his arm. And the Bears will pray his mind and body aren’t affected in the long term by whatever he encounters.
You can bet that somewhere down the line, when the subject arises of how in the world Pace could have decided on Glennon, the Bears will respond by asking what other quarterbacks were available who were better. But that’s not an answer; that’s a dodge. The answer is that Pace was hired to make decisions like this and that his job was to find a quarterback who could keep Trubisky’s spot warm while the kid learned and matured on the sideline.
There was no appetite for keeping Jay Cutler, and rightly so. But that didn’t mean any old replacement would do. The Bears chose Glennon. It doesn’t matter if other teams thought highly of him. Those other teams didn’t give him all that money, and those other teams haven’t had have to suffer through his first four starts of 2017. Unless they were watching on TV.
‘‘Mike Glennon is our starting quarterback, and we’re fired up about that,’’ Pace said so definitively in March.
That’s not a fireable offense, simply because the Bears have Trubisky. But if Pace is as wrong about Trubisky as he was about Glennon, there won’t be a bus fast enough to get him out of town.
Follow me on Twitter @MorrisseyCST.