By Chris Emma—
(CBS) Forgive me for questioning the sincerity of Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains on Tuesday as he offered a vote of confidence in starting quarterback Mike Glennon.
Loggains made it known that throwing for just 101 yards, as Glennon did in his team’s win over the Steelers on Sunday, isn’t a sustainable strategy on offense but continued to back Glennon as the leader of his unit. So what gives Loggains faith that Glennon can open up the passing attack?
“Mike’s doing exactly what he needs to do to win games,” Loggains responded. “That’s what he has to keep doing.
“A lot of credit to Mike is based on wins and losses, and we won last week.”
With Glennon behind center, the Bears are 1-2 entering a meeting with the Packers at Lambeau Field on Thursday night. Their lone victory came thanks to the tandem of runnings backs Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen taking advantage of soft fronts and deep coverages aimed at keeping Glennon cautious.
Glennon was brought to the Bears with the opportunity to lead this season by managing a run-oriented offense and mitigating risks. Throwing 12 checkdowns to running backs on 22 passes – compared to just one completion on four targets to two receivers – is beyond cautious, but according to Loggains, it was the best counter because the Steelers were dropping seven or even eight in coverage.
“I don’t know that teams respect us enough right now to say, ‘Hey, they can put a 12-play drive together and go score on us, and we’ll bleed them out and see if they’ll make a mistake,’” Loggains said.
“We’re not going to create things. If it’s not there, (Glennon is) going to check down, because we got really good guys to check down to. What we talked about with Mike is be as aggressive as you can with the timing of the play. Take care of the football and get us to the fourth quarter.”
What Loggains essentially means is he’s doing the best he can with a unique situation. He’s one of many overseeing the development of rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, the No. 2 overall pick waiting for his chance to lead. In the grand scheme, he’s just another voice in the room for when it’s Trubisky’s time. The Bears deemed Trubisky ready enough to be the backup but also have stated that Glennon offers their best chance to win.
Meanwhile, Loggains is saying that their best chance to win with Glennon is by dinking and dumping against a defense looking to expose his deficiencies as a passer – a strategy that Loggains conceded is unsustainable.
The Bears are trying to figure out what they have at receiver – if anything. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether Glennon has enough arm to even throw the ball deep. His best ball of the season came Sunday on a long pass down the sidelines that just missed Markus Wheaton. But even in training camp, it seemed that Glennon couldn’t execute the deep threat.
Unless the Bears can find a way to clone Cohen and line him up all over the field, this is the best Glennon can do. He hasn’t shown the arm to beat defenses deep, the Bears don’t have the receivers to make those big plays and opposing defenses know what to expect.
So, what’s next? A primetime contest in Green Bay, which could bring the Bears’ experiment with Glennon to a halt.
Glennon must either prove himself capable of leading a passing attack or the Bears will have to give strong consideration to Trubisky. They have 10 days off between games after Thursday, with the Vikings waiting in a Monday night matchup in at Soldier Field. If the Bears are 1-3 and with more of the same from Glennon, then important discussions must take place at Halas Hall.
At that point, they would have to reassess what really offers their best chance at victory. Playing Trubisky could benefit the Bears for the present and future. All that’s standing in his way right now is the hope that Glennon can be something more.
Even the offensive coordinator doesn’t sound so confident in that.