Forget waiting, Mitch Trubisky should see the field this season

SHARE Forget waiting, Mitch Trubisky should see the field this season
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Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky went 3-for-5 Saturday. (AP)

OK, play the kid.

Not at the start.

Let older quarterback Mike Glennon have ‘‘my year’’ and see how far he gets with that.

But when Glennon screws up or gets hurt — and both likely will happen, such is the life of NFL quarterbacks — then let rookie Mitch Trubisky try to lead the Bears.

I know. I know.

Trubisky is a mere child of 22.

Yesterday he was in diapers, on his little back, burbling and swatting Toys ‘‘R’’ Us footballs arranged above his crib like ingredients on a plastic shish kebab.

My Lord, goes the cry, if you put this defenseless rookie from North Carolina on the field this season you might as well send him out to fight a lion with a ballpoint pen.

A bunny in a weasel house would be less carnage.

Why, simply playing Trubisky anytime in 2017 might be — all together now! — against the laws of man and decency.

We get it. We really do.

Nobody wants to execute his pet gerbil. Or get it maimed so that it cowers for the rest of its days in the corner of its cage, trembling with post-traumatic shock.

But facts can be helpful when emotions run wild. And though the knee-jerk football response is always to preserve young NFL quarterbacks ‘‘until they’ve learned the pro game,’’ well — what does that mean, anyway?

Because if there’s a test for such, and a minimum score needed to proceed, I’d like to see the pamphlet.

Maybe you’ll recall Steelers rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, 22, going 13-0 as a starter in 2004, leading his team to the AFC Championship Game. A valuable tidbit: Roethlisberger’s yards per pass attempt — 8.9 his rookie year — is still the best of his 13-year career.

That too far back?

Then try Seahawks rookie Russell Wilson in 2012. All the third-round pick did was throw for 3,118 yards and 26 touchdowns, rush for 489 yards, take Seattle to the playoffs and make the Pro Bowl.

There were knocks against each young man before he played a down.

Roethlisberger was from a weak school and conference — Miami of Ohio, the MAC — and Wilson was so short, he could eat beans off a dwarf’s head.

Yep, those flaws certainly have held back those two, who’ve been to eight Pro Bowls and won three Super Bowls between them.

A reasonable person might ask right here: Uh, when do you really ‘‘understand’’ the pro game?

Is it just age? Amount of time holding a clipboard? Number of times carried off on a stretcher, semi-conscious? Hours spent wondering how the cornerback could’ve gotten to the pass you were trying to throw 10 yards out of bounds?

No, the truth is the game is brutal, and you will be ready for the big boys when — and if — you have fabulous skills, common sense, an adult’s body and the playbook burnished in your brain.

After that, it’s good luck, son.

Everybody always is worried a team will destroy a rookie QB by putting him in a game too early in his career. Yes, some would-be pros have been demolished that way.

You could say Troy Aikman’s career was almost cannonballed when he started 11 games as a rookie in 1989, threw 9 TD passes, 18 interceptions, was nearly assassinated by angry blitzers and defensive linemen, going 0-11 in the process.

Everybody points to Aikman as the damage that can be done. But he survived, learned and, ahem, is now in the Hall of Fame.

If you check out careers, you’ll find that most of the rookie quarterbacks who were bad as rookies were also bad as veterans. They weren’t great players. Ever.

Yes, Peyton Manning struggled at the start of his rookie year with the Colts, but he soon stopped throwing interceptions and ended up fifth in the league in TD passes and third in yards.

Jameis Winston, Andrew Luck, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, Dak Prescott — all had very good rookie seasons. So did Dan Marino.

Bart Starr did not. Nor did Joe Montana. Nor did Tom Brady (who threw three passes in 2000, completing one).

Bears fans like to point out that superstar Aaron Rodgers sat behind Brett Favre for three years before being handed the keys to the Packers’ offense. True. But maybe all Rodgers learned was that you can’t get hurt if you never play.

Bears’ best case? Glennon shines, the Bears hum, Glennon is never hurt. Trubisky becomes the starter in 2019.

But bad stuff happens in the NFL. And if it does, yeah, I’m saying it: Let’s see what you got, Mitch.

Follow me on Twitter @ricktelander.

Email: rtelander@suntimes.com

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