By Bryan Dietzler
The 2017 season isn’t that far away folks. We are under 100 days until the start of training camp and the Bears are gearing up for what hopes to be a better season than last year. There are a lot of new faces around Halas Hall, and one of the position groups that has seen the most change is the quarterback position.
Technically, there is only one player from this position who was on last year’s squad. That player is Connor Shaw. And he was almost out of Chicago before an injury to Mark Sanchez pushed him back onto the roster.
Chicago marches into the 2017 NFL season with many unknowns at quarterback. This may be the shakiest position on the roster right now and could be the one that gets this team in trouble.
Let us look at the players that Chicago has on the roster, right now, at the quarterback position. We will get an idea of what they might be able to do in 2017 and see how they can contribute.
Glennon has been named the starter heading into the season but that’s could change. But it’s likely it won’t. For the money, Chicago has invested in him, he is going to be their starting quarterback. It will take an injury or lights-out play by one of the three guys behind him for him to not be the starter.
So what do the Bears have in Glennon? No one knows because he doesn’t have a lot of NFL experience. He comes from Tampa Bay where he played in 21 total games. He did play quite a bit in 2013 and 2014 and put up decent numbers, but they weren’t anything spectacular. But, keep in mind he didn’t have a strong supporting cast in Tampa Bay, so he struggled. The problem is, he might not have too strong of a supporting cast in Chicago either. At least to begin with.
He is a huge question mark heading into training camp. He has a lot of confidence; you have to give him that. Glennon has been telling the media that this is “his” year. That’s good for him, and hopefully, the rest of the team feeds off of this. But can he live up to what he is saying about himself? And no matter how good he is, can he be good with what he has around him?
My prediction for Glennon is that he is going to have a very shaky start to the season but, with time, will get better. Three of the Bears’ first four games are going to be very tough, and Glennon will struggle. But, after that, I think he will pick things up and play better.
Outlook: Glennon should, barring injury, remain the starter for the season and give way to Mitchell Trubisky in 2018. I think that the Bears have too much money invested in him not to let him be the starter. General Manager Ryan Pace will also want to prove that he was not wrong about Glennon and will stick with him until the end. Let’s just hope, for all of our sakes, Glennon isn’t a complete disaster.
The “Sanchize” comes into the quietest part of the off-season on the bench thanks to a knee injury. From what we can tell, Sanchez hurt his left knee during OTA’s a little over a week ago and is expected to miss some training camp time. What does this mean for him?
The Bears are tied to Sanchez for $1 million guaranteed so, if he comes back healthy, the Bears may consider that they have to keep him because of the money. Another reason they may want to keep him, and a very good reason, is that he has experience. Sure, he may not be in the same league as some other quarterbacks, but his experience can help the Bears.
This writer thinks that Sanchez would be an asset to the team if he comes back healthy. Should Glennon get injured, Chicago would be in better hands than they would be with Shaw or even Trubisky. And with his experience, Sanchez could help mentor and help get Trubisky ready for starting in the future. And should Sanchez need to play, he does have experience and could step in and keep things together while the Bears plan their next move at quarterback.
Outlook: If Sanchez doesn’t miss a lot of time, and has a good training camp, then he will be the Bears second string quarterback. I do think that he can beat out Connor Shaw with ease. I also feel that there is no way the Bears don’t go into the season without three quarterbacks. So, barring major health problems from Sanchez, it will be Sanchez, Glennon, and Trubisky.
There were a few people who felt that Shaw could have been a potential starter for the Bears in 2016. At least before he broke his leg in the preseason. And, many fans were eager to see what the Bears had in him. As mentioned, he was almost cut loose by the Bears a few days ago but was retained. Now, he is the second quarterback on the roster until Sanchez gets healthy.
Shaw can shine and show the Bears coaching and management staffs that he belongs on the team and should be the second quarterback. But does he have the skill and the talent to be that second quarterback? Shaw has not played in many games during his NFL career. In fact, he has only one game and one start during his entire career. And it wasn’t a good outing.
Shaw seems to have some kind of cult following among fans. They want to see him get a shot at the starting job and do something positive. But Shaw is a lower tier guy who isn’t’ going to be a starter in the NFL, ever. He might fill in at some point, but he’s not a long-term answer.
Outlook: The Bears need Shaw to help fill in while Sanchez heals up, so he will see many snaps. I think that the Bears have their sights set on keeping Glennon, Sanchez, and Trubisky. I think that’s almost set in stone. However, if one of those three should get hurt, Shaw may be ushered back in and could end up being a second or third string quarterback in 2017.
When the Bears traded up one spot to pick the University of North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, Bears fans and the media went nuts. No one thought that he was worth that much effort and the price they paid in draft picks to get him. Now, he has become the most scrutinized sports figure in Chicago. Some people think he’s the “savior” they have been looking for at quarterback and that he will bring this franchise out of the dark ages. Others think that he is going be a bust.
First of all, we should all have faith that Trubisky is going to come to Chicago and play well enough to provide some kind of stability to the position. This potential stability is something that the Bears haven’t had for years. They need it.
As of this writing, there are issues getting Trubisky signed to a contract. Chicago “should” be able to get that taken care of before the start of training camp. But what happens if they don’t? If Trubisky misses any part of training camp, then he will be behind and will have a slim chance of starting this year. But, in all reality, he should not get a shot at starting at any point this year.
The ideal scenario for the Bears is to let Trubisky sit for 2017 while he learns from the guys ahead of him. Not throwing him to the fire in his first NFL season would go a long way to making sure that he can be a successful NFL quarterback. If he can watch, learn and develop his skills while manning the bench, the Bears and Trubisky would be much better off.
I honestly don’t think that Trubisky will get a single start this year. As long as they have health with the two quarterbacks ahead of him, I think that he will sit on the bench. Even if the guys ahead of him get hurt, Chicago may choose to sign some street free agents to keep him on the sideline. That’s a good possibility.
Outlook: If the Bears can get him signed in time for camp and get him learning, Trubisky will be able to start absorbing what Chicago is trying to do. The longer he can learn the better off he will be. I think it’s a good bet that the Bears will keep him sidelined until 2018. It’s better for Trubisky and the team if they do that.
I think that Chicago’s quarterback situation is pretty much set in stone. I think that you will have Glennon starting, Sanchez backing him up and Trubisky as the inactive number three on most, if not all game days. If there are injuries, then this will change, but I think this is how it will go. Even if both Glennon and Sanchez fail, I think that Chicago will still keep Trubisky on the bench. Save him for next season and give him time to develop. Only then will he be a success.