By Wanda Wiedman / @WandaW63
From 2004-2012, Lovie Smith was the head coach of the Chicago Bears. His first three goals were to beat the Green Bay Packers, win the NFC North, and win a Super Bowl. He achieved two of the three goals.
During his first season with the Bears, he installed a new offense and defense but had bouts of injuries and a season-ending injury to quarterback Rex Grossman. His first season record was 5-11. However, since he was a defensive-minded coach, the defense improved from 22nd overall in 2003 to 13th in 2004. By 2005 the Bears started then back-up QB Kyle Orton with a dominant defense and ended with an 11-5 record, despite starting the season with a 1-3 record. Look familiar?
Enter the John Fox era. Fox accepted a four-year deal as head coach of the Bears in 2015. It was predicted that the Bears would have a 3-13 record, but in his first season they ended with a 6-10 record. So instead, the Bears used the predicted previous record for the 2016 season, finishing 3-13. A regression that many hung on the excuse of a team rebuilding.
It is now 2017, and the Bears have started the season at 1-3, losing in epic fashion to the Packers once again, in the prime light of Thursday Night Football. The coaching was geared to quarterback Mike Glennon’s strengths, which is the opposite of his scouting report. According to general manager Ryan Pace: “He has the height, arm strength, the ability to quickly process.” Yes, he has height, but it gives no advantage to his field of view when he sees only what plays are given to him for the short routes. Time and time again, film shows Glennon waiting for a particular player and not the open receiver.
As for arm strength, we got a taste of that last night in triple coverage. Granted, wide receiver Josh Bellamy should have held onto that ball as it was right in the basket, but DeVonte’ Thompson was also open to the right for a solid first down if he had looked that direction. The coaching staff fears throwing interceptions so the play calls have been dink and dunk throws. Despite the conservative calls, the interceptions continue.
Which brings me to Pace’s last point, which is Glennon’s ability to quickly process the field. This is questionable when Glennon is standing in the pocket waiting for his intended target to be open. Quarterbacks have to be mobile and move around in the pocket to find the open man.
However, Glennon did have moments of poise when he did his progressions and checkdowns. He had some clean throws from Week 1 against the Falcons and Week 3 against the Steelers. But he was so unbalanced against the Packers that he couldn’t shake off the mental errors.
The moment he steps on that field the expectations are high. He can throw perfect passes on the practice field, on the side lines and at warmups, hitting every stride. But in real time, he knows all eyes are watching, waiting for a mistake and when it happens, his confidence is shaken and he can’t recover.
I can’t speak for Glennon. I am not in his head, nor do I know the plays that are coming through his helmet. But, if I am watching the game, I see what he sees. If you have eight men in the box and two high safeties, on every play or every other play, you should know what to do. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers did. He commanded a depleted offense and capitalized on all of the Bears errors.
If coach John Fox or manager Pace can’t decide if their first priority is to win games, then get out of Dodge. To have a Twitter campaign out there for Jim Harbaugh and Mitchell Trubisky for 2018 does not exude confidence in the current Bears office. Look, the Bears defense and offense deserve to have a chance to win. Glennon knows that his interceptions and mistakes are not giving the Bears a chance to win. If it’s about the money, he is going to be paid the 18.5 million guaranteed regardless, so bench him and see what the kid can do. It’s worth a shot.
If the Bears can turn this around with a successful QB change in Week 5 against the Minnesota Vikings, then maybe history will repeat itself and we will see another rookie take center stage. But if he plays poorly, then he needs more time to develop and the Bears have a problem on their hands. Either way, change has to happen and the Bears need to win games.
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