But he won’t save these Bears—and that’s okay
By Robert Zeglinski
After one of the more contentious months in recent franchise history, the time has mercifully come: the Mitchell Trubisky Bears era has begun.
Chicago announced the move to switch to the rookie Monday morning after placeholder Mike Glennon struggled to keep the ship afloat with 10 turnovers in four games most – including Glennon himself – will want to soon forget.
Glennon’s “year”, something he waxed poetically way back in spring organized team activities, ends after one month.
The Trubisky era, an early blossoming of hope, at least for now in the honeymoon stage, takes its rightful snug place.
Most sane pundits will agree that Chicago should’ve made this starting quarterback move long ago, especially after Glennon’s early struggles. Some even argued that Trubisky should’ve been the team’s Week 1 starter after largely outplaying Glennon for most of August in the preseason and training camp.
For whatever reason, it took the Bears and head coach John Fox receiving a clean blast of reality, i.e. a beat down on national television against the Packers at Lambeau Field last Thursday night; and the potential of a team mutiny should the higher-ups continue to play the listless Glennon, before they finally made the move for the future.
Fox, ever the face of this notoriously stubborn franchise, even had to relent himself at the impressions of what this potential future star in Trubisky could do.
“He’s got that maturity and confidence you have to have in that position,” said Fox of what Trubisky will offer to the Bears.
Why it took the Bears head coach, or really anyone in the front office, four regular-season games of blatant incompetence under center to realize Trubisky was the right call is anyone’s guess. It doesn’t matter, though.
All of the frustration and pointless debate of the last 60 or so days aside, it’s better late than never in regards to placing Trubisky in: especially for the unbending Bears.
None of what happened in the past month or so factors in. Next Monday night’s game against the Vikings might as well be the new de-facto season opener with everything considered of how Trubisky will change this team and his offense. Now, the next three months mean everything for a franchise back on track with a semblance of a bright outlook should Trubisky be as good as they believe.
Which brings up the most important development that will come with Trubisky finally receiving meaningful professional snaps: he is a work in progress through and through.
Yes, Trubisky’s natural athletic ability, poise in the pocket, and awareness downfield as a passer will serve the Bears well in expanding an extremely limited early 2017 playbook. This offense, currently ranked 22nd overall in the league, will improve dramatically by default. Tailbacks Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen won’t have to face eight-man boxes every time they receive a carry because defenses will actually have to respect Trubisky’s arm and playmaking ability.
But a “Messiah” that leads the Bears to the Super Bowl in an unprecedented run Trubisky is not. An infallible prime specimen of a football player he currently isn’t. This process will take time as fun as the prospect of the new face of the franchise taking snaps at quarterback is.
There are going to be flashes and rampant excitement on a semi-regular basis with the hopeful long-term future under center. And there will also be struggles and mistake-filled games: aspects that go along with a young quarterback like Trubisky feeling his way through the early stages of his NFL career. Nothing to be alarmed about.
That isn’t to say Trubisky isn’t prepared for this occasion of taking the Bears’ reins by storm. Back in late April when pondering where he would be drafted as a franchise ‘savior’, you received a sense of where his head is and where’s it been the past six months when he spoke to Bleacher Report.
“They say to be careful what you wish for. But this is what I wished for,” said Trubisky of his coming opportunity.
Having the pressure of being the franchise is what Trubisky wants more than anything. Putting a city on his back is what he craves and desires to do, much in the way much Chicago will unrealistically expect him to do from the outset. He wants to be great, special, transcendent even. And in by far the most difficult city to play quarterback in the NFL, there’s no shying away from the spotlight from the 23-year-old whatsoever.
Given that the team hasn’t had any recent postseason appearances, it’s more than fair to say Monday night against the Vikings is the most monumental game for the Bears since the 2011 NFC Championship Game, in terms of a franchise step and hype.
The atmosphere and tempered energy from the Soldier Field crowd will be palpable beyond any reasonable measure. To those who follow the Bears, this will be the desired start of a golden age. The beginning of the rest of their lives.
To Trubisky, it’ll merely be the first grand spectacle of his career while merely playing a football game loosely. Calm and collected.
It’ll be what he’s wanted for his entire football-playing life.
Robert is your guy for all things Bears. You can find him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.