How strange it must be to be Mike Glennon, to be the man standing between a city and its heart’s desire, to be a starting NFL quarterback who didn’t win the popular vote.
OK, he has $18.5 million in guaranteed money and for that you’d gladly take the inherent awkwardness that has been Glennon’s companion since the Bears drafted quarterback Mitch Trubisky in April. But coming to work every day knowing that Chicago’s arm is around Trubisky’s shoulder and its leg is trying to kick you to the curb is weird at best. I feel bad for the guy.
In other news, Trubisky is a heartbeat away from being the quarterback!
The Bears named him the backup to Glennon on Wednesday, though it probably wouldn’t matter if the rookie were breathing down the veteran’s neck from the bottom of the depth chart. Glennon would still feel it. This season is going to be about Trubisky, even if Glennon shocks everyone by succeeding with a thin wide receiver corps. The standard analysis will go something like, “That was an amazing pass by Glennon, and I wonder what Mitch will have for dinner tonight.’’
Trubisky’s progress since he arrived in Chicago has been impressive, which is why he won the backup spot over Mark Sanchez. It’s why he’ll be the quarterback grabbing for his helmet should Glennon get hurt Sunday in the Bears’ opener against the Falcons.
“He earned it,’’ coach John Fox said. “It’s not something we handed him for any particular reason other than he earned it.’’
“This kid never gets rattled,’’ offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “No matter how much you throw at him, no matter how hard you coach him, he’s the same guy every day.’’
It might be Glennon’s year, as he has told us over and over again, but it’s Trubisky’s franchise. When you’re the second overall pick in the draft and you’re a quarterback, that’s how it works. And if Glennon struggles, the Year of Mike might be reduced to the September of Mike. The Bears would prefer not to play Trubisky this season, believing that 16 games on the sidelines would be better for his development and his confidence. But they can’t know if Glennon will cooperate by successfully moving the offense or by staying in one piece. And Trubisky won’t stop looking good when he plays, even in practice.
Glennon stood at a lectern at Halas Hall on Wednesday and told reporters that the preseason quarterback battle is over for him.
“I think competition is good, but I’m motivated by more than just that particular situation,’’ he said. “I want to come out and help our team win football games, and that’s ultimately what motivates me.’’
And, “Now with the season starting, all my focus is on the Falcons.’’
But the QB competition isn’t over for the mob of people waiting for Trubisky to get the chance to put on his Superman cape. And I’m not talking about pesky media members like me, or even Bears fans who are parched for a real, live quarterback. The football world is watching too. Trubisky was all over ESPN during the preseason, running here and throwing there.
So it’d be silly to pretend that he’s far in the background, that he’s parked in a remote lot at the airport. The Bears, to their credit, aren’t even trying. Loggains said that the game plan would change if Trubisky ever replaced Glennon. Trubisky throws better off the run than Glennon does, and not taking advantage of that would be a crime against football.
Glennon’s camp might think all of this is unfair, that the spotlight should be on their guy before the first game of the season. Beyond being disconnected from reality, that viewpoint lost any merit when the Bears named Trubisky the backup. He has to be in the discussion now.
Fox said the Bears’ locker room knows that Glennon has earned the starting job, but if that’s true, it’s because of Trubisky’s lack of NFL experience. It’s the only thing that separates the two.
“Mike’s a pro,’’ Loggains said. “Mike’s really smart. He’s been in the NFL for a long time. He’s had an opportunity to play for different coaches, so his exposures are vast compared to Mitch’s.’’
Trubisky’s time will come. It could come Sunday. Glennon couldn’t have seen that coming when he signed with the Bears in March and Trubisky was still a twinkle in general manager Ryan Pace’s eye.
How strange it must be to be Mike Glennon.