TELANDER: Ready or not, here comes Mitch Trubisky
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Here we go, folks!
It doesn’t get any better than this: the debut of the highest-drafted quarterback in Bears history on ‘‘Monday Night Football.’’
Young Mitch Trubisky, the No. 2 pick in the 2017 draft, with all of 13 college games under his belt, just 23 years old, will be starting Monday against the Vikings at Soldier Field.
He replaces free-agent veteran Mike Glennon, who claimed early on that this was ‘‘my time’’ but proved rather conclusively with his turnovers and limited ability that it clearly was not.
Trubisky might worry about a lot before and during his first regular-season pro game, but he won’t worry about Glennon being unfairly demoted or even about Glennon suddenly developing ‘‘game.’’ Glennon is what he is: a backup of limited skills.
Trubisky is nothing less than the future of the Bears. He is the security blanket, the roll of the dice, the lottery for general manager Ryan Pace and coach John Fox. If Trubisky truly messes the bed against the Vikings — if he looks inept, slow, easily fooled, with limited range and bad decision-making — then all hell might break loose at Halas Hall.
You don’t purchase the Hope Diamond to have it crack like a drugstore rhinestone.
But that’s the downside to Trubisky’s debut. He said Tuesday that the offense will be scaled down for him, that as his wise high school quarterback coach once told him: ‘‘Pressure only appears when you’re not prepared for something.’’
And Trubisky said he’ll be prepared.
‘‘So my job is to study the game plan and, once I get in there, just go back to my instincts, play the game I know how to play.’’
To all doubters, worriers and Bears fans who fret about Trubisky’s competence, risk of injury, callowness, inexperience, etc., listen up: The guy has to play sometime. He could fossilize on the bench, and we could call it seasoning. Or we can state the obvious: The time has come.
There are duds aplenty in the rookie-quarterback ranks. Every year, game after game, some young stud shows he’s not quite ready for prime time and never will be.
But then there are the Peyton Mannings, Cam Newtons, Ben Roethlisbergers and Russell Wilsons of the world. Heck, there are the Joe Flaccos, too. They all succeeded.
Those who remember the fizzle and plop of former first-round pick Cade McNown might have a hard time suspending disbelief once again. But the cocky, weak-armed McNown was unfit for many reasons to be the leader of any NFL team.
Trubisky is bigger, seems to have a good arm, is athletic and, while confident, understands the role of others who helped him get to this point.
Maybe Fox wasn’t exactly joyous about having to start Trubisky because it also represents Glennon’s failure.
‘‘Just felt like he was kind of ready for the next step,’’ Fox said blandly of the franchise kid.
As far as his knowledge of Trubisky’s ability to play big-time ball, Fox said, ‘‘We get to find out.’’
Yawning or putting one’s head on the desk was allowed at this point, but those of us in the interview room were jacked up. Again, this stuff doesn’t happen for the Bears, well, ever.
Just look at Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson, who turned 22 three weeks ago and was drafted out of Clemson 10 spots after Trubisky. On Sunday, Watson hung four touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown on the Titans in a 57-14 blowout.
That is both a target and a highfalutin’ comparison for Trubisky to deal with. He knows it.
‘‘We’re in this new era where young quarterbacks are expected to come in and produce right away, like veterans have,’’ he said when asked about Watson.
So let’s enjoy his coming-out party, hope for the best and prepare for something fresh and fun.
After all, Trubisky is as shiny as a new car.
Does he feel great?
‘‘Yep,’’ he said. ‘‘I haven’t gotten hit.’’
Gird your loins, son.
Follow me on Twitter @ricktelander.