The Bears preseason opener on Thursday evening had a beginning highly reminiscent to the forgettable 2016 regular season. On the opening drive of his Chicago Bears tenure, Mike Glennon fired off a pick-six to the Broncos’ Chris Harris, and then couldn’t corral a bad snap before it was recovered by the Broncos on the ensuing drive, spotting the Broncos an early 10-0 lead in the first quarter of Thursday night’s game.
Then some of the dynamic new-additions on the roster began to take over the game, and things began to take a much more optimistic shape. Tarik Cohen, the Bears fourth-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, joined the party early with a handful of impressive carries that helped wake up a sleeping offensive unit.
Cohen ended his evening with 39 rushing yards on seven carries (5.6 YPC) to go along with a 17-yard punt return, something that he did not do much in college. Cohen shared the punt returning duties with fellow rookie Eddie Jackson on Thursday night, and had this to say about his NFL debut after the game, “I like to think of myself as like a sparkplug,” he said. “Wherever the offense is at, if we’re struggling, I want to come in and get everybody motivated. Have that one spark play. It might spark somebody else to have a big play also.”
But Tarik Cohen, and more importantly Mike Glennon were both dwarfed by the performance of the second overall pick in this past April’s NFL Draft, Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
Trubisky entered the game in the final minutes of the first half, taking over from Mark Sanchez to lead the team in a two-minute drill situation in his first taste of NFL action, trial-by-fire at its finest. Trubisky rose to the challenge, marching the offense down the field while completing all four of his pass attempts, all to different receivers, with the final toss setting up a Victor Cruz signature salsa dance after his first touchdown in a Bears uniform.
Trubisky would go on to compile an impressive evening that included completing 18-of-25 pass attempts for 166 yards and a touchdown, and a 103.1 passer rating. Statistics aside, Trubisky scored high on the eye-test on Thursday evening showing off the ability to deliver the ball to his receivers with zip and accuracy. Trubisky also showed off his above-average athletic ability on Thursday night, picking up first-downs on the ground when needed, and moving well in the pocket away from pressure.
Trubisky completed his first ten passes of the game, and led the Bears to scores on his first three drives of the game, with his first incompletion coming early in the fourth quarter.
Not only did Trubisky look good against the Broncos on Thursday night, he said that he felt good on Thursday night during the game, “I had the playsheet, I was able to study a little bit,” Trubisky said. “So I knew my calls, I knew my plays, I knew what I was comfortable with. I walked it over with Dowell, so we were kind of on the same page, so I could just go out there and just play free. That’s what I wanted to do. Go out there and play, do what comes natural and get into a rhythm.”
The Mitchell Trubisky fan club likely exploded with new members as Thursday evening progressed, and fans across social media were calling for Trubisky to start the season as the No. 1 under center by the end of the night. I personally can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a Bears game that much, most definitely prior to the 2016 season, and it was most certainly the most enjoyable preseason game that I have ever watched, so I too was drinking the Trubisky Kool-Aid somewhat on Thursday night.
Mike Ditka even told TMZ Sports after the game that Trubisky should be the starter in Week 1 and that if he isn’t, “you’ve got problems.’’
After just one preseason game, it seems that Mike Glennon is the loneliest man in Chicago with nothing to look forward to other than his guaranteed $19 million dollars. Not so fast though says Glennon, who largely brushed off the significance of his poor performance after the game on Thursday, having this to say to the media, “I think we need to overlook our first preseason game of one quarter,” Glennon said. “I mean, was it what we wanted? Absolutely not. But it was one quarter of the first preseason game. So it’s fixable.”
It almost seemed like Mike Glennon came into the locker room after the game ready to swat away the notion that Trubisky had gained traction in any hypothetical conversation about who will be the Bears’ No. 1 Quarterback come opening day next month, meaning that even he thought there was reason to begin the discussion after Thursday’s performances.
Luckily for Glennon, there really isn’t a discussion happening on any level higher than the hypothetical one, for now at least. Despite what our hearts may want to see, our minds know that while Trubisky’s performance was exciting and packed full of optimism for the future, it was a preseason performance and just one performance.
Not taking anything away from Trubisky, Glennon is the Bears Quarterback for the immediate future, for better or for worse – so for now, we all need to just enjoy watching Trubisky grow throughout his opportunities over the next three weeks.