At Halas Hall, the Bears’ plan for rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky trumps everything, but the preseason proved that a good plan can benefit Mike Glennon, too.
The best example is Glennon’s success against the Titans in the Bears’ third preseason game.
“It was the only game plan we really had [in the preseason],” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said Wednesday. “He handled it exactly like we expected him to.”
Glennon, of course, led the Bears to an impressive 96-yard touchdown drive on their first possession and finished with 134 passing yards, a TD and a 102.5 rating after completing 11 of 18 passes.
More important, Glennon redeemed himself after his woeful performances earlier in the preseason. He demonstrated why he should start Sunday against the Falcons at Soldier Field.
The Bears are fortunate, too. Glennon’s redemption was a development the Bears wanted. Glennon is a big part of their plan for the rookie, but Trubisky’s strong play in the preseason had started to obscure that fact.
The Bears want Trubisky to earn everything. Trubisky’s backup job — which general manager Ryan Pace and coach John Fox said he earned through his play — is an example.
The absolute last thing the Bears wanted before Week 1 was to be forced to play Trubisky earlier than they envisioned because Glennon had buckled under pressure and proved to be a worthless $18.5 million signing.
That didn’t happen.
With a partial game plan in place, Glennon played well enough against the Titans to hold off Trubisky. The Bears’ patient plan for Trubisky remains in place, and it’s a better plan with a better Glennon.
“Mike has done an incredible job of handling this,” Loggains said.
The question is whether Glennon can continue to do the same in the regular season. The starting spot is clearly in Trubisky’s sights. But, again, the Bears want him to earn it. Their plan for Trubisky might be incremental and tedious, but the starting job is the ultimate reward.
Through it all, Fox seems to want Glennon to feel threatened by Trubisky.
“What you try to build in every building is competition even within yourself,” he said.
As a result, the Bears have turned Glennon into the consummate chip-on-his-shoulder player. Being voted a team captain was a proud moment, but Glennon still feels as if he has much to prove to his own team, not to mention the rest of the league.
“Until you play in a real regular-season game, I mean that’s ultimately what we’re here to do,” Glennon said. “It’s not about practice. It’s not about preseason games. It’s about these games that are coming up when they count.”
These games count for Trubisky, too. The Bears want him to watch Glennon closely. To Loggains, there is value in being exposed to the highs and lows that Glennon will face, starting this week.
“[Trubisky has] never gone through this,” Loggains said. “He’s never really gone through a game-plan week and learned what that’s really like and studying how much time you have to put in.”
Physically, Trubisky is clearly the more gifted player. It’s partly why Loggains said the offense will change if he’s forced into action. The only edge Glennon seems to have over Trubisky is experience.
“His exposures are vast compared to Mitch’s,” Loggains said.
That also will change over the course of the season. The Bears expect Trubisky to get extra work in before or after practice or by using their virtual technology. He already has impressed everyone with how quickly he has grasped NFL-level protections and coverages.
Glennon’s response to Trubisky’s rise will be telling; the Bears are hoping for their best.
“I think competition is good [with Trubisky], but I’m motivated by more than just that particular situation,” Glennon said. “I want to help our team win games, and that’s ultimately what motivates me.”
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