By Chris Emma–
(CBS) At long last, Mitchell Trubisky put pen to paper and signed on the dotted line for his rookie contract Wednesday.
The Bears will have the NFL Draft’s second overall pick and their developmental quarterback on the field in Bourbonnais when training camp officially begins next Thursday. So with that question now solved, it’s on to the next ordeal with this tricky quarterback situation.
How will offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and the Bears divide the reps?
“Our biggest challenge will definitely be the reps,” Loggains said in May. “That’s going to be something that this organization is embracing. Obviously (head coach John Fox and general manager Ryan Pace) communicate very well with each other and obviously I’m a part of that. (Quarterbacks coach) Dave Ragone’s a big part of that. Everyone that touches the schedule is a part of that. So we’ve got to be really good at assessing where each guy’s at, and I think that’s the biggest key for us — knowing exactly where each guy is at and figuring out and being flexible with the reps.
“There’s no blueprint, because every guy’s different. Every situation’s completely different. I feel like we have a pretty good plan how we’re going to start this thing as far as reps go. We’ll be flexible and we’ll adjust.”
Now in his second season as Bears offensive coordinator, Loggains faces a unique proposition with his practice preparation. Unlike in 2016, when it was Jay Cutler as the clear starter and Brian Hoyer as the sure backup, the Bears have an interesting situation at quarterback.
Ideally, veteran Mike Glennon is the Bears’ starting quarterback come Week 1 — as he was promised — and Mark Sanchez returns from his knee injury healthy to work into his role as the backup. Connor Shaw’s place with the team seems to be in limbo after he was waived in late May then recalled when Sanchez suffered his injury.
Then there’s Trubisky, whose 2017 season will be about development for the future. He has started just 13 games since being named Ohio’s Mr. Football in 2012, and the adjustment to this level will take time. In an ideal world, he will remain off to the side of the depth chart until entirely ready for NFL reps.
That brings us to Loggains, who will lead the task of preparing each of his quarterbacks in a different manner.
Glennon needs ample reps to begin developing connections with his receivers, an unproven group with questions surrounding it. During the offseason program, a disconnect between Glennon and his receivers was clear, so they need more time.
While the Bears work with Glennon, they must also prepare Sanchez to be the No. 2 — assuming that’s indeed their intent. Sanchez signed with the team in March to add depth in the room. Once Trubisky was drafted, it became clear that Sanchez was brought in as the next man up to protect the rookie from being rushed to the field. Sanchez still needs reps with this new offense, this being especially true after his offseason ended early with a knee injury.
As Loggains aims to ensure his projected starter and backup are prepared for the regular season, he must also work in Trubisky with the appropriate structure within the offense. After all, Trubisky’s development this season is absolutely paramount. The Bears didn’t draft him No. 2 overall to be anything short of a franchise quarterback.
Working through the reps at quarterback will be an ongoing balance of the present and future.