BOURBONNAIS, Ill. (AP) — Chicago Bears coach John Fox paused to recall when he last had a quarterback whose debut created a stir as great as Mitch Trubisky’s.
“Real recent, the first time we threw Tim Tebow out there in Denver it was pretty similar,” Fox said. “The awareness on the outside that was mentioned — that brought quite a bit of attention.”
Mike Glennon remains the Bears starter, and there is no change in the team’s quarterback depth chart after the Bears’ 24-17 loss to open the preseason Thursday against Denver.
Yet, it’s obvious Trubisky’s performance focused public pressure on both Glennon and injured backup quarterback Mark Sanchez.
“There’s a reason why we drafted him with the second pick of the draft,” Fox said. “I think for the first time people got to see that in a Bears uniform, which I think is exciting.”
The quarterback controversy the Bears sought to squash when training camp started seems to have broken out anyway thanks to interest in seeing their first-round draft pick, his first performance and Glennon’s poor start against Denver.
“It kind of leaves you with a sour taste in your mouth,” Glennon said Sunday about his first preseason effort. “So it’s good to get out here at practice and it’ll be good to get to Arizona on Saturday.”
Glennon went 2 for 8 for 20 yards with an interception returned for a touchdown while Trubisky was 18 for 25 for 166 yards and a TD against Denver, and social media lit up with pleas for Trubisky to be more than the developmental project he’s been labeled by Fox and general manager Ryan Pace.
“I just really don’t get online,” Glennon said. “I watched the preseason games, but I just avoid the possible distraction of hearing what people may say.
“The only thing that matters are the coaches and the players in the locker room and what they have to say. That’s where my focus is.”
Glennon must keep an even keel because he’s designated as the starter, and Sanchez is the backup. Sanchez had only two series Thursday and left so Trubisky could run a two-minute drill before playing the entire second half.
As if to answer any critics, Glennon came out Saturday in the first practice after the preseason opener and threw a deep ball on the opening play of scrimmage to Kendall Wright for a touchdown. He proceeded to have one of his sharpest practices.
“I thought really right out of the gates yesterday in practice, I thought we did a good job.” Glennon said Sunday. “Guys responded well.
“A lot of time on those (first days after games) the energy level is down, but I thought the first offense came out, executed and moved the ball well.”
It’s in the Bears’ plan to get Trubisky as many play repetitions in practice as possible, and it was expected to be a difficult task heading into camp because they had three other quarterbacks including fourth-string Connor Shaw.
But Shaw had a minor surgical procedure to remove a screw in a leg he fractured last year, and Sanchez missed Sunday’s practice with a bruised ankle.
So on Sunday Trubisky had even more snaps.
“The key is just getting him reps,” Fox said. “You saw Thursday night that we kind of hold that in high regard, getting him opportunities to play. I’ve watched a lot of young quarterbacks starting, going back to (Dan) Marino and (John) Elway, how they did it, how they progressed.
“We got a good plan. A big part of that plan is getting him playing opportunities.”
Fox meant in preseason.
The Bears’ coach said he is unaware of the public groundswell behind Trubisky, but wasn’t about to douse the excitement.
“You know we’re excited about him, so I imagine that people on the outside are excited,” Fox said.
The Bears aren’t alone in getting excited about Trubisky. Players immediately took notice.
“I think it’s an amazing thing,” rookie guard Jordan Morgan said. “Just to go out here and see him perform like that, that’s a great feeling. And then seeing him play so well, that’s awesome.
“That’s the type of stuff we talk about our rookie meetings: teaching each other to hold each other accountable and be able to raise the bar for one another.”
Glennon was impressed, as well.
“There’s no doubt about that, I was impressed for his first time in a real NFL game setting,” Glennon said. “He played well. He moved the ball well. He ran it, had a touchdown to Victor (Cruz). He definitely played well.”
Fox said more goes into quarterback decisions than statistics in preseason games.
“We evaluate every practice,” Fox said. “Games do hold some weight, for sure, but we evaluate everything.”
Fox anticipates continue improvement from Glennon after his Game 1 struggles.
“If you haven’t dropped a ball, haven’t missed a pass, you haven’t thrown a pick, you haven’t played,” Fox said. “It’s how they respond. We feel good about how he’ll respond.”
NOTES: Wide receiver Markus Wheaton suffered a broken finger after he missed much of camp because of appendicitis. ... Defensive end Akiem Hicks missed practice Sunday because of Achilles soreness. ... Tight end Dion Simms missed Sunday’s practice with a bruised shoulder. ... Defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris suffered a concussion Sunday in practice. ...The Bears claimed former Tampa Bay kicker Roberto Aguayo off waivers and placed wide receiver Rueben Randle on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. Aguayo, a second-round draft pick out of Florida State in 2016, was cut Saturday after two misses in the Bucs’ first preseason game, and will compete with Connor Barth.