By Chris Emma—
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) – Just a few months ago, the Bears stood by their plan for veteran Mike Glennon to lead the team at quarterback and rookie Mitchell Trubisky to spend the season developing.
Glennon was signed to a three-year $45-million deal last March, with $18.5 million guaranteed – and a guaranteed starting spot upon arrival. But those plans shifted, first with Trubisky earning his way to the backup role by the start of the regular season, then with Glennon being benched for Trubisky four games into the season after poor play.
The hopes for Glennon faded quickly as he struggled in leading the Bears offense. His inability to connect on a deep ball drew defenses into the box, focusing their attention on stopping Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen and the running game. Glennon couldn’t beat defenses over the top.
Glennon arrived in Chicago with just 21 games under his belt in the NFL and started just four contests with the Bears. He completed 93 of 140 passes for 833 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions. The Bears finished 1-3 in those starts.
Glennon will likely be released this offseason, with the Bears seemingly certain to decline the $16-million cap hit that his salary would force and pay out the remaining $4.5 million owed.
Speaking in his year-end press conference Monday, general manager Ryan Pace stood by his decision to sign Glennon.
“With the quarterback position, I have no regrets in us being aggressive in attacking that position – it’s that important,” Pace said. “We all felt confident in Mike, and sometimes in our business, things don’t work out. There’s a lot of factors involved.
“In essence we took two swings. Not just Mike, but the progress of Mitch and how well he played. We felt (Trubisky) was ready to take on the challenge, he did and I think he’ll benefit from that.”
The 23-year-old Trubisky finished his rookie season completing 59.4 percent of his passes for 2,193 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions in 12 starts. He displayed growth over the course of the season, becoming smoother with his progressions and better with his decisions.
Trubisky made the most of a poor cast of targets – something Glennon was unable to do in leading the Bears.
“He got better day by day,” Pace said of Trubisky. “You factor in the mobility, and there’s a lot of things we can do with that. But what I’m excited about is the physical traits we identified, and I wouldn’t say any of the physical traits surprised me.
“What I think possibly even exceeded expectations was the work ethic, just his professionalism, how good of a teammate he is and how people kind of rally around him. That’s really good because that’s going to be key to his success at that position. And he definitely possesses all those traits.”