Bears fans and the national media think they have the Mitch Trubisky 2017 plan figured out at quarterback. It’s quite simple. Mike Glennon starts. The top draft pick sits on the bench, observes and learns. Certainly an approach that makes logical sense. The young #2 overall pick is allowed to learn the offensive scheme without having to take the normally accompanied hits. That’s what having a smart veteran like Glennon is for.
Easy, right? Problem is things just never seem to work out that way. Almost every team has said over the past several years that their plan is for the rookie to sit. The NFL though is a fickle beast that demands instant gratification more than ever before. If fans aren’t going to see their team win, then they want to see the young players play.
It’s one or the other. Very rarely do teams stick to that original plan. Is Chicago any different? Sure they expressed patience with the Cubs during their down period before the epic rise to glory in 2015 and 2016. Then again they had over 100 years to learn the value of patience. Bears fans might not quite be there yet.
Mitch Trubisky 2017 plan almost certain to change
There are so many variables that go into this situation. Glennon could easily get injured at some point this season, for starter. Don’t forget this little nugget. No Bears quarterback has managed to start a full 16 game schedule since 2009. That’s eight years and counting. Is Glennon really prepared to end that streak?
Not likely. Then there is the fact that history no longer supports the idea of highly drafted rookies sitting. Andy Benoit of the MMQB explained why this is the case in his recent in-depth article on the subject.
“Every year we see NFL teams draft an unready quarterback in the first or second round, with the intention of having him learn from the bench as a rookie. The Bears (Mitchell Trubisky), the Texans (Deshaun Watson) and especially the Chiefs (Pat Mahomes) will toy with this idea in 2017. It’s a logical and admirable approach…The only problem: that never happens anymore.
Literally. It … does … not … happen. Since 2006, no team that drafted a quarterback in the first two rounds sat him for the entirety of his rookie season and then saw him become a long-term franchise quarterback. In fact, only two QBs in that time who sat out their entire rookie seasons have even gone on to start at least 48 games: Colin Kaepernick, with the 49ers, and Chad Henne, with the Dolphins.”
Part of the problem lay with the league itself. Rule changes to the practice schedule have really handcuffed what teams are able to do in terms of getting their young players enough reps. It’s a big reason the college and pro games are growing further apart in terms of quarterback preparation. It also might be why greats like Brady and Brees are able to hang on for much longer than previous generations.
We’re talking about practice
Teams don’t trust they can develop a young talent to that same level under the current collective bargaining agreement. Something Benoit went on to explain.
“But the bigger issue is time. In 2011, the current collective bargaining agreement significantly reduced practice hours, both during the season and and during the offseason. Naturally, it’s the backup players’ reps that disappear. There’s barely enough time for the first-teamers to practice. Which means the only way to evaluate a QB and let him learn kinetically is to put him with your first team. And voila! There’s your new starting quarterback.
Eventually, something will give. Stylistically, the NFL and college games are drifting farther and farther apart. Incoming NFL quarterbacks are less prepared each year. With fewer chances for them to practice, young quarterbacks must continue to learn under the fire of live games. This diminishes the NFL’s product and can help ruin careers.”
It seems the Bears coaches are well aware of this fact. Word out of minicamps is they’re trying to get creative in as many ways as possible in order to get Trubisky extra reps in practice. No doubt they’re trying to exhaust every alternative to putting him out on the field earlier than he should. After all it’s clear despite his talent that he still has a lot to learn about the pro style of game. Even with simple things like taking snaps under center.
Yet reality won’t change. Until the rule book is tweaked, all signs point to Trubisky getting on the field at some point in 2017. Even if the Bears are doing fairly well too. It’s not crazy to think the team may wish to get him going despite a decent record. For example the New York Giants were 5-4 in 2004 when they decided to bench Kurt Warner for Eli Manning. The Denver Broncos were 7-4 in 2006 when they benched Jake Plummer for Jay Cutler.
The urge to get the kid onto the field is very real in this league, even at the cost of possibly making the playoffs. It won’t be any different for Trubisky. It’s just a matter of where and when.