By Dan Bernstein —
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) It makes no sense, but we have a habit of prefacing criticism of Bears quarterback Mike Glennon by saying he’s a nice guy, as if that has anything to do with whether he’s able to sense a pass rush or throw the ball to the correct team.
Reporters have tried so hard to share favorable comments from teammates supporting Glennon, taking the lead from Bears officials and coaches who seem to be propping him up like he’s a middling politician running for office only for lack of a better candidate. The storyline this week had been his first game against his former team, the one that kept replacing him as the starter because it wanted to.
FOX treated us to a pregame montage Sunday of Glennon greeting his former Buccaneers teammates on the field during warmups, and it became clear once the game started why they were so happy to see him. Glennon punctuated a string of short completions with unconscionable turnovers — a fumble directly into a defender’s hands, an interception on a poorly placed zone throw and another into which he appeared baited by cornerback Robert McClain that was returned for a touchdown. His full and deliberate windup contributed to both, showing a release slower than 12-hour Sudafed.
The primary effect of the Bears’ 29-7 loss to the Buccaneers will be calls for an acceleration of the inevitable insertion of rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky into the lineup, an opinion that will be difficult to counter with any logic that can argue for Glennon’s continued presence getting the Bears at all closer to winning a championship. Sunday flew in the face of the primary rationale for his supposed advantage in steadiness and care — the “taking care of the ball” argument vaporized in front of our eyes.
What could give us pause, still, is the quality of the support system for Trubisky’s development, now, with injuries continuing to ravage the roster, a running game neutralized and too many receivers dropping uncontested catches. Guards Josh Sitton and Tom Compton both left the game, meaning the interior line is at least temporarily in shambles, seeing Cody Whitehair moved to three positions in this game alone as the pieces shuffled around.
Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen combined for just 20 rushing yards on 16 carries, and it’s clear that the latter is no longer a secret weapon. Cohen not only was consistently pushed outside by linebackers and safeties daring him to cut downfield, but the rookie’s regrettable decision to field a well-covered punt was the moment the game turned for good.
Even if the call is made to phase Trubisky in sooner, now it looks like he won’t have open receivers until the scoreboard tells the defense to back into a zone shell. And even then, the likes of Josh Bellamy, Kendall Wright and now Tanner Gentry seem eager to lose concentration.
So there are no answers without some downside for the Bears, but it’s increasingly difficult to explain why it wouldn’t be better to let the more important player see live action. The Bears would have to eat the sunk cost of Glennon’s one-year deal, committing to not going back to him until Trubisky suffers the injury that feels inevitable on this team.
Not good enough at quarterback and nice enough guy are far from mutually exclusive, and the Bears are far from anything good.