By Chris Emma–
GREEN BAY, Wis. (CBS) — In the press box perch high atop Lambeau Field sat Bears general manager Ryan Pace and his trusted front office team.
They looked on as Mike Glennon – the quarterback they trusted for a chance to win and contend – set his Bears up for failure in their latest ugly loss, a 35-14 pounding from the Packers on Thursday at Lambeau Field.
Pace could spot the rush of Clay Matthews from seven stories up above field level as he walloped Glennon to the ground on the Bears’ first play from scrimmage, jarring loose the football and hope from Chicago’s sidelines. The Packers had a 14-0 lead barely six minutes into the game. Then Glennon got crossed up with center Cody Whitehair on the next series, and a shotgun snapped ricocheted off his leg and to the Packers.
Glennon finished with four turnovers and was the leading reason the loss. There sat Pace and his cohorts watching as their starting quarterback dug his own grave. They believed that Glennon could be something more. They were men on an island Thursday night.
“I’m not giving our team a chance when you turn the ball over like that,” Glennon said after the game.
Pace signed Glennon to a three-year deal worth up to $45 million and with $18.5 million guaranteed. He felt confident in his scouting convictions that Glennon could prove to be an NFL starter. Then he went out and drafted Mitchell Trubisky by trading up to the No. 2 pick in the draft.
With Trubisky watching on the sidelines, Glennon was anointed the starting quarterback without creating a competition because the Bears believed he could offer them a better chance to win. Pace felt that he had something different from the fatal flaws of Jay Cutler. He felt he had a quarterback who could operate a run-oriented offense and manage the game well.
The Bears deemed Trubisky ready for NFL action by making him their No. 2 option but stood by Glennon anyway. How long can their support last after this?
Glennon was voted a captain by his teammates after several acts of goodwill. Upon arriving with the Bears, he rounded up a group to attend a Bulls game, a Jason Aldean concert and even gathered members of the offense – Trubisky included – for a trip down to Florida.
None of that matters much when you fumble the football on your first play on offense and dig a two-score hole minutes into a rivalry game.
Bears coach John Fox once said that he seeks a quarterback who can lift the team. He wants a leader at the helm of his offense. Glennon is a good guy, but that’s about all teammates can say about him after this performance.
During this 10-day layoff between games, the Bears could finally decide it’s Trubisky time. Fox shrugged off questions about a quarterback change immediately after the game.
“There are a lot of people out there that are involved,” Fox said. “We had dropped balls, we had penalties. There was plenty of stuff to pass around.
“Everybody just wants to talk about the quarterback. We have more issues than the quarterback.”
So, how can the Bears adjust in the next 10 days between games?
“The changes we need to make, hopefully we make those changes,” defensive lineman Akiem Hicks said. “Hopefully we put our team in a position to win on defense and offense.”
Change could start at the quarterback position. A sense of hopelessness was clear in the cramped visiting locker room at Lambeau Field. The Bears packed their bags and prepared for a short flight home. They’ll revisit the carnage with a film review Friday and then head off for what Fox referred to as a mini-bye. But it all seemed so clear on the field.
The Packers have future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who worked with a third-string running back and a makeshift offensive line that was missing its two tackles to lead his team to victory. He danced around Bears defenders and made plays for his team. As long as the Packers have Rodgers, they have a chance to win.
And the Bears have a player in Glennon who’s hardly giving them the opportunity to compete. Thursday may have brought his last start with the team.
Pace was watching as it all went horribly wrong for the quarterback he felt was something more.