Is Mitch Trubisky ready to start? Chicago Bears are about to find out
The future is now for the Chicago Bears.
Rookie Mitch Trubisky, the Bears' quarterback of the future, will replace Mike Glennon in Monday night's nationally televised game against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field.
The Bears confirmed the move after multiple reports said they were naming Trubisky the starter.
A day after Glennon threw 2 interceptions and lost 2 fumbles in the Bears' 35-14 loss at Green Bay on Thursday, coach John Fox was asked if Trubisky was ready to play.
"Until that happens, you don't really know," Fox said. "I don't think you know, and I don't even know."
Now the Bears will find out.
Trubisky, the second overall pick in this year's draft, was impressive throughout the preseason, posting a 106.2 passer rating while throwing for 364 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. But he has yet to take a snap in the regular season.
Two other quarterbacks drafted this year already are starting: the Houston Texans' Deshaun Watson (12th overall), and the Cleveland Browns' DeShone Kizer (52nd overall).
Watson threw 4 touchdown passes and ran for another score Sunday in a 57-14 victory for the 2-2 Texans and has a 91.7 passer rating. Kizer has an NFL-worst 8 interceptions and 50.9 passer rating for the 0-4 Browns.
By promoting Trubisky, the Bears hope to accelerate his learning curve. They had hoped Glennon would play well enough to bring the rookie along slowly. But after a 1-3 start the Bears are in their customary spot, the cellar of the NFC North and badly in need of an offensive spark.
The 3 losses shouldn't all be blamed on Glennon, but he's responsible for 8 of the Bears' 10 turnovers.
"I feel like he's had opportunities to do well," tight end Zach Miller said, "but that's all of us. We all got whupped (Thursday) night, not just Mike. He knows that he wants to take better care of the football; I don't think that's a secret.
"We've all got to do a better job around him to help him out. But it's no time for us to panic right now; (we're) four games into a very long season, and he's more than capable of leading our football team and getting wins."
Instead, the Bears will try to rally around Trubisky. He has continued to progress while working with the scout team in practice, mimicking each week's opponent for the benefit of the Bears' defense. But his development could be rapidly accelerated by game experience.
"I think he's been getting better from preseason," Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara said. "He's very, very confident, and he's made some great throws, especially when we go up against him in scout. He's competing in scout. He's not just throwing picks to the DBs. He's really trying to toast us and trying to score. We like that out of him."
With Trubisky under center, the Bears' offense will look different. Trubisky is capable of throwing on the move without any discernible loss of accuracy or velocity, so offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains will incorporate planned rollouts into the passing game.
That takes pressure off the offensive line and makes the job of pass rushers more difficult. With Glennon at quarterback, pass rushers could focus on one launch spot, knowing he would throw the ball from the same spot most times.
Trubisky also is much more adept at moving within the pocket to avoid the rush, thereby giving a mediocre group of wide receivers additional time to come open. The Bears have been plagued by dropped passes, including 6 in the 29-7 loss to the Buccaneers at Tampa and 4 in the 23-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In abandoning Glennon after four games, the Bears are admitting an $18.5 million mistake. His three-year, $45 million contract guaranteed Glennon $16 million this year and $2.5 million next year.
Fox said last week, that he didn't believe money would be a factor in the decision.
"I go way back to when I came into the league," Fox said. "We weren't even allowed to know what a guy made because we didn't want that to influence the decision. I'm just kind of old school that way. I just like to evaluate people based on performance."
Even aside from the turnovers and the injuries to the team's top two wide receivers -- Cam Meredith and Kevin White -- Glennon's performance did not justify him keeping the job.
His 76.9 passer rating is 29th among the 32 NFL quarterbacks with enough attempts to qualify. Glennon has thrown 4 TD passes and 5 interceptions while being sacked eight times. His longest completion of 29 yards is last.
Trubisky demonstrated in the preseason a much quicker release than Glennon and more velocity on his intermediate passes, but he still throws a catchable ball. Miller, who has 13 receptions for 143 yards, said there shouldn't be much of an adjustment factor for Bears pass-catchers.
"I think that's what you make of it," Miller said. "There are different ways the ball can spin, and the velocity. All that stuff can matter if you let it. But other than that, you have to stick to doing your job, and when the football comes your way, make the play and catch that darn thing."