By Chris Emma—
(CBS) Confidence for Mike Glennon simply comes with his new job title – starting quarterback, Chicago Bears.
Admittedly, it was a different feeling for Glennon driving down to Bourbonnais as his new team reported for training camp in late July. He would be the guy for the Bears. This is his team to lead. After losing out on his starting job in Tampa Bay, this new opportunity meant a great deal to Glennon.
“It’s what I’ve dream of my whole life,” Glennon said after reporting to training camp. “To be a starting quarterback in the NFL.
“It’s what I’ve worked for.”
That confidence has been clear throughout the first two weeks of this Bears preseason, with Glennon taking charge of this team. After spending the offseason bonding with teammates the field – from concerts to cookouts – he’s now asserting that leadership on the field.
Monday’s practice at Olivet Nazarene saw the Bears offense scuffling a bit, so Glennon called a huddle and demanded more.
“There’s something about that that gives us a good sense of confidence,” Bears guard Kyle Long said Glennon.
The Bears signed Glennon to a three-year deal with upward of $45 million and $18.5 million guaranteed because of their belief that he can be a starting quarterback. He then found himself in a unique situation in short time with the selection of Mitchell Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick. The Bears are fond of saying Glennon isn’t a bridge quarterback, though his contract structure suggests otherwise. What’s clear is he’s not the team’s long-term future.
Developing Trubisky will be paramount this season, because they didn’t draft him second overall to be Glennon’s backup long term. But they also must prioritize growing Glennon into the player they hope. After all, quality quarterback play is rare in this league. The Bears brought in Glennon with the hopes of working him into a proven starter. Their best-case scenario is to have teams inquiring about Glennon next March a year after he was more or less only desired in Chicago.
Trubisky should take many of the snaps against the Broncos in the preseason opener Thursday, most of which will come in the second half. Glennon will most likely take two series before putting on a hat and headset for the remainder of the exhibition and watching the rookie drafted to eventually replace him.
Quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, coach John Fox and even general manager Ryan Pace must ensure that Glennon gets the necessary work for his own development. Given that the Bears did make an investment in Glennon, he must be treated as such. One could argue that Glennon needs the preseason reps just as much as Trubisky.
After looking sluggish and out of sync in the offseason program, Glennon has practiced well in training camp thanks in part to the initiative he took in building connections with Kevin White, Cam Meredith, Zach Miller and more.
Glennon is showing better play because of his growth through reps.
“I know where they’re going to be, they know where I’m going to throw it,” Glennon said. “We have improved on that from OTAs until now.
Thus far, the Bears have mostly divided their quarterbacks reps into thirds, with Glennon, Trubisky and backup Mark Sanchez getting even snaps. Connor Shaw, who recently had a screw removed from his surgically repaired left leg, has seen little action when healthy.
As time goes on through the preseason and leading up to the regular-season opener on Sept. 10, the Bears must ensure that Glennon continues to grow as a starting quarterback. They must prepare him not only for 2017 – his promised year leading the team – but also beyond that.
Glennon, too, is an important investment for the Bears, and confidence is no substitute for preparation.