Podcast in Print: Defining expectations for Bears QB Mitch Trubisky
The Chicago Sun-Times’ Adam L. Jahns and WGN Radio’s Adam Hoge have co-hosted a Bears podcast since the 2015 season. The “Hoge & Jahns Podcast” can be found on chicago.suntimes.com and wgnradio.com. It’s also available on the WGN Radio app, iTunes and the TuneIn app.
Adam L. Jahns: Well, Adam, Mike Glennon had a fair run. Four full regular-season games isn’t much of a body of work, but it’s still work nonetheless. And he didn’t work out well. He’s a nice guy with more charisma than he’s given credit for but production matters. Wins matter. And he simply turned the ball over too much. Enter second overall pick Mitch Trubisky. It’s an exciting time for fans and the organization. But what should everyone expect from him? Surely, no one expected that Glennon would be that bad. But here we are. We get to see what the kid can do in real games.
Adam Hoge: We should expect Trubisky to be a more mobile, athletic quarterback with better footwork and better pocket awareness. That’s what his tape from North Carolina and the preseason showed. What he lacks in experience, especially when it comes to reading NFL defenses, he’ll make up for with his ability. Will there be growing pains? Absolutely, especially against defenses — like the Vikings — that disguise coverages well. But Trubisky instantly makes the Bears’ offense more difficult to prepare for, which should lift some pressure off the running game and lead to more points. Once again, the key will be not turning the ball over.
Jahns: I get all that. I’m sure there will be some run-pass options that help him by opening up throwing lanes and providing easy reads. I’m sure there will be read-option looks, too, since he’s a threat with his legs. North Carolina’s offense included those play calls. Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains surely will implement the same. There will be variety. But so what? Sure, Trubisky provides more than Glennon, but the Vikings have a defense full of veterans. Trubisky isn’t a unique threat to them. Heck, they’ve already faced Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Matthew Stafford and Jameis Winston this season. I’m watching Trubisky’s poise and his willingness to play within the pocket. I want to see him get the Bears’ offense in order and call out the “Mike” linebacker correctly.
Hoge: Well, he can’t do any worse than Glennon in that regard. The idea that Glennon could get the offense lined up properly without false starts and cadence issues turned out to be false. I actually expect Loggains to keep things pretty simple with Trubisky in there. The Bears have already proven they can hang with good teams as long as they don’t turn the ball over. I think there will be some wrinkles, but low-risk wrinkles. Honestly, a Glennon-like game plan with a quarterback that can actually move and make plays on his own isn’t a bad idea, especially with the lack of weapons at Trubisky’s disposal. Right or wrong, I expect the Bears to be conservative with Trubisky’s on-field development until he earns more aggressive play-calling. Remember, he’s not supposed to be on the field yet.
Jahns: Well, he is on the field, and I don’t think we’ll see a Glennon-like game plan. That’s not how this works. Trubisky is too different a player. The Bears are 29th in scoring. Scrap everything. Move on from Glennon. I get what you’re saying. You want to protect your rookie quarterback with play-calling. But keeping things the same only hurts Trubisky. You want to protect him? Identify what he did well in college and do your best to implement it at this level. That’s your starting point. Sorry. It’s just that the phrase “Glennon-like game plan” will make some fans shudder. Trubisky is a better player. Design your attack knowing that.
Hoge: I’m not saying you keep everything under 10 yards, but quick passes are the name of the game in the NFL these days, and that won’t change with Trubisky. I like what he said Tuesday about being a “distributor” and getting the ball to his playmakers (those are limited, admittedly). Glennon was woefully inaccurate on screens, especially to his wide receivers on the outside. Going back to his UNC film, that’s one of Trubisky’s strengths. The Bears won’t get away from those plays because Trubisky is in there. But no matter what Loggains ends up calling, it should all look better. Like the fans, I’m excited to see what No. 10 can do. Trubisky brings optimism to a dormant franchise, and I’m on record saying I think he can be pretty special.
Jahns: The setting of “Monday Night Football” should suit those special qualities, too. He seems to possess prime-time intangibles. The team itself learned during the preseason that he excels when the lights are on. The stage certainly is bigger now, but Trubisky naturally exudes confidence. The Vikings are a daunting challenge; they will blitz him. But a national-TV audience should come away impressed with Trubisky. That said, it’s important to temper expectations for him overall. He’ll look like a franchise savior on some plays; other times, he’ll run around like an overwhelmed rookie. That will happen this week and next and after that, too. But the hope is real. The franchise needed this; the fanbase needed this. All of it was overdue. It’s finally Trubisky time.