Sunday Column: At 1-3, All Hope for 2017 Season Is Not Lost

| October 1st, 2017

The 2017 Chicago Bears have played four games, all against teams that finished 2016 with a winning record.  It is easily the most difficult four-game stretch of their entire campaign and, at 1-3, they’ve dug themselves a hole. But it’s not an inescapable one. But they can only escape the hole by embracing reality and turning the football over to the future of the franchise.

At home they ranged from respectable to downright terrific, sporting a powerful rushing attack and a tough, improved defense. They should have beaten the defending conference champions and without the use of a professional quarterback, they hung on for dear life to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.

On the road they were a disaster worthy of J.J. Watt’s charity. The quarterback was an embarrassment and as a result the team was rendered non-competitive.

Now the Mike Glennon Experience must come to its humiliating end. Signing Glennon can be viewed two ways. Many believe GM Ryan Pace committed starter money to the Once & Future Backup in an act of draft-jockeying subterfuge, allowing the Bears to pursue their quarterback of the future (Trubisky, Mitch) without the other thirty-one clubs getting wind of their intentions. Even if you buy that theory, it doesn’t answer one important question: why did they still play Glennon in September when he was so poor all summer?

Other folks, including the author of this piece, believe the Glennon signing to be a grotesque evaluative error. Pace and his pro personnel people believed Glennon was good enough to hold down the starting gig for the entirety of 2017 and win a bunch of games. Remember, the Bears were not guaranteed Trubisky. Two weeks before the draft the Browns were rumored to be considering him with the top pick. Pace thought Glennon was a viable NFL starter. Everything the misshapen signal caller has done since his signing in March has proven him 100% wrong.

[Author’s Note: I can’t tell you how happy I am to wrap up that paragraph and wrap up my Mike Glennon writing career. I took little joy in the last seven months of DBB. And I’ll never understand why the Bears did what they did.]

Hope is not lost for this 2017 season. The Bears still have five division games remaining, including their home tilt with the Packers. Their seven non-divisional opponents? Cincinnati, Cleveland, San Francisco and New Orleans aren’t any good. Baltimore is a week removed from a molestation at the gropy hands Blake Bortles. Carolina can’t play offense. Philly in Philly? That will be a tough one. But does anyone really think it’s impossible for the Bears to go 6-6 over their remaining schedule and creep back to respectability at 7-9?

But they can only do so if they move to Trubisky now. Not in three weeks. Not after the bye. Now. Because two things need to happen the rest of the way:

  • Trubisky needs experience. The new Bears starting quarterback needs a week to prepare as a starter. He needs to take an unnecessary sack and jump back up. He needs to throw two picks and rebound. He needs to have a great game and deal with the Chicago savior hype. He needs to win. He needs to lose. There is just so much that goes into being the quarterback of the Bears. Trubisky has three months to experience all of it.
  • Bears need to win games. The 2017 Bears are far better than the 2016 Bears. Now the players need to see that elevation in talent lead to results.

When Roger Goodell said the name “Mitchell Trubisky” in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the 2017 season became about 2018. Sadly, the Bears decided to punt on the first month of this crucial, transitional season. It must begin in earnest on Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings.

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