Everything you want to know about what’s wrong with Mike Glennon, the Bears and the world can be found in two statistics: Glennon is completing an impressive 67.1 percent of his passes, and he’s averaging a piddling six yards per pass.
It’s like watching someone take a very precise nap. This is how today’s NFL rolls, and it’s especially how Glennon rolls, but that doesn’t make it right or entertaining or a reason to keep living.
I asked Glennon if it’s fun playing like this. “Completing the ball is fun,’’ he said Wednesday. “The job of the quarterback is to complete the football. As long as those completions keep coming, that’s what I’ll keep doing.’’
The whole idea is to not make any mistakes, and as much sense as that might make for someone of Glennon’s limited abilities, it still makes you want to scream. There are only so many seven-yard completions on third-and-eight that a viewer can take. “Ball security’’ is offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains’ euphemism for “don’t do anything stupid, and by stupid I mean ‘throw a forward pass of more than 10 yards.’ ”
It’s what made Glennon’s Week 2 performance against the Buccaneers so egregious. He committed the cardinal sin of The Careful Quarterback. Actually, three of them: Two bad interceptions and a lost fumble. He will be asked to knock that off Sunday against the Steelers at Soldier Field.
Everything is prelude to the inevitable Mitch Trubisky debut, and it’s why I find myself wondering whether getting mad at Glennon’s style of play makes any sense. The more he plays that way, the sooner Trubisky gets to play in a going-nowhere-fast season.
On a Wednesday conference call, almost every question to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger from Chicago media members was asked with Trubisky in mind. Did Big Ben find reading defenses difficult in his rookie year? What were the challenges of starting at quarterback as a rookie? If Roethlisberger had rescued a woman from a burning car an hour before the conference call, we would have asked him what she thought of Trubisky.
Is Glennon the cause of his pitifully low yards per attempt, or is it the Bears’ lack of a deep threat? We might have a better idea Sunday, when speedy wide receiver Markus Wheaton, who has been out with a broken finger, makes his Bears’ debut.
“We’re growing into a speed offense with Tarik [Cohen] and those receivers,’’ Glennon said. “It can really stretch the defense. We can run by guys. We can throw deep. It definitely adds another dimension.’’
The Bears’ running game was awful against Tampa Bay, with Jordan Howard and Cohen combining for 20 yards on 16 carries. The best way to give them more room is to either open up the passing game or make the opponent think the threat of a passing game is real. So far, the threat has been nonexistent. Opponents will continue to stack the box until they decide they can’t risk it.
Loggains says circumstances have dictated Glennon’s death spiral into a dink-and-dunk quarterback. OK, “death spiral” is my description, not Loggains’.
“When you’re playing teams that play a lot of zone, the ball is going to go underneath a lot,’’ he said. “When teams play man . . . you have a chance to throw it downfield more. Mike’s been smart with his decision-making, and we’re putting a premium on ball security right now.’’
The Bears’ passing attack looks like a flower girl sprinkling petals in front of a just-married couple. But opening up the passing game might expose the real Glennon, and that could be very, very ugly. Trubisky, on the other hand, seems built for throwing the ball deep. It’s why calls for his ascension into the starting lineup have been loud enough to drown out a herd of jackhammers.
This is what Glennon is up against. If he wants to quiet the crowd, he’ll need a much better game Sunday. He said he wasn’t looking over his shoulder at Trubisky in Tampa. That seems Herculean, if not impossible, but, fine, if he says so.
“Part of playing quarterback in the NFL [is that] some days are better than others,’’ he said. “You’ve just got to stay even-keeled.’’
How does he do that?
“Not worry about the past, not worry about the future and just worry about the task at hand,’’ he said.
The task at hand is the Steelers’ excellent defense. You sure you don’t want to worry about something else, Mike?
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