The Bears’ plan was to buy Mitchell Trubisky as much time as possible to learn behind the scenes.
The $18.5 million and starting season they promised Mike Glennon ultimately bought the Bears four games. Four more turnovers by Mike Glennon Thursday night in Chicago’s second noncompetitive road loss prompted the Bears to decide the future is now behind center.
“Timing wise there was a couple windows that you would look at as a coach,” explained John Fox, who called Trubisky Sunday night to inform him he’d be starting Monday night vs. the Vikings.
“Players are evaluated on how they play. You can have all the timelines and the best timing and all the plans you want to make, but at the end of the day it’s about performance and ultimately that’s what you make decisions on.”
Trubisky said he’s ready for his moment, that the extra time to prepare this week and his diligence since arriving in the offseason is what will help him not feel pressure in a situation where it would seem to be unavoidable.
“You only get nervous or feel pressure when you’re not prepared for the situation or you don’t know what you’re doing,” Trubisky said. “So my job is to just study the game plan and once I get in there just go back to my instincts, play the game I know how to play. I’ve been playing this game for a long time, so I’m going to go in there and be myself and the pressure shouldn’t be anything what everyone else makes it out to be. So I’ll just go out there and try to have fun.”
The Bears know Trubisky will make mistakes. Heck, he’ll debut against one of the NFL’s more aggressive and complex defenses in primetime. But it’s how he responds that matters. One mistake by Glennon tended to avalanche. Arguably Trubisky’s finest moment in college — the Sun Bowl — saw him overcome a pair of turnovers to rally North Carolina to a near upset past Stanford.
“I think there will be some ups and downs, I’m sure,” said Fox. “… But like any young player, they get to define that and we’re about to find out Monday night.”
On the same day the Bears confirmed the acceleration of Trubisky’s timeline, Glennon admitted that, while getting pulled after just four starts is tough, he still has an important role on the team.
“I told Mitch, whatever he needs, I’m here to help him,” said Glennon. “I’ve been in that situation before with the highly-drafted guy. Two different guys, two different personalities, but whatever I can do to help, I’ll be there for him.”
Trubisky said he wouldn’t be where he is without Glennon, and the rookie thinks he’s shown on the practice field and in the classroom that his teammates can count on him.
“Just from Day One, managing the offense and just really how my teammates have faith in me and how they kind of rally around me when I'm in there,” Trubisky explained. “They've seen what I can do throwing the ball, running around, creating plays and just really doing my job, staying within the offense and being myself and just moving the team and trying to be that spark for the offense."
At 1-3, Fox may be coaching for his NFL life. The NFL’s 29th-ranked offense undoubtedly needs a jolt. And the time to find out whether Trubisky can provide it is officially almost here.
“By no stretch is it one guy’s fault, but we didn’t protect the ball very well. I think we led the league in turnover ratio, which is something we have to avoid. Really didn’t give us much of a chance in two ball games, including our last one. I think it was time and I think [Mitch’s] ready.