Bartelson: Bears aren’t saying QB competition yet, but Trubisky shines in first test

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Preseason has arrived.

At this time last year, Mark Sanchez was in the mix for the Broncos’ starting job visiting Soldier Field.

Heading into training camp last year, I then-predicted Sanchez would win the starting gig over Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch. One year later, the nine-year veteran sat across the opposite sideline hanging on to the No. 2 job behind Mike Glennon.

Broncos: 1 Jake: 0.

Sanchez’s fate helps illustrate how quickly situations evolve in the NFL. The Bears’ latest quarterback development could be no different once all-said-and-done.

After one game, It’s entirely too early to anoint wholesale changes from an offseason of press conferences adamant on who is the starting quarterback. General Manager Ryan Pace has held firm to this point: Mike Glennon will start.

But I have to imagine Pace let a smile crack watching his prized quarterback flash in his pro debut, finishing 18-for-25 with 166 yards and a touchdown. With under two minutes to go in the half and the offense stagnant, Trubisky marched his offense down the field for a touchdown, exhibiting the mobility and accuracy that helped sell Pace on his potential.

At least for one evening, the nervous groans following Pace pushing his chips on to the table on draft night for the North Carolina gunslinger were replaced by roaring applause and an intrigue to the Bears’ quarterback position not generally felt since Jay Cutler’s inaugural seasons in Chicago.

The Bears aren’t officially calling it a competition for the starting job – nor should they, yet – but Glennon’s honeymoon on his new team may be short lived if Thursday night’s opener is any indication of what’s to come.

On his first possession as a Bear, Glennon forced a pass to wide receiver Cameron Meredith into triple-coverage and was intercepted for a pick-six. Later in the first quarter, a high snap resulted in a fumble. Glennon finished 2-for-8 with 20 yards.

“Our depth chart is not going to change after one game. In particularly a preseason game,” Fox said via “That’s a really good defense our first unit went against — probably one of the top three defenses in the league. I think you have to look at a lot of different things. I can understand how you guys might think, but we’re not going to change a whole lot after one game.”

Fox is right: the depth chart won’t change after one game, but if a pattern begins to form – and Trubisky continues his hot start – he won’t have much of a choice if the starting offense comes out flat consistently moving forward.

Trubisky exhibited impressive athleticism and arm strength on designed bootleg passes. His 10 straight completions to begin his debut garnered some attention. His exchanges under center appeared clean, and Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains deserves credit for a game plan that appeared to keep Trubisky comfortable.

For fun, I scanned headlines from 2009 – Following Cutler’s Bears debut:

“After first exhibition, it’s clear Chicago Bears’ Jay Cutler has room to grow”

“Jay Cutler adds excitement to Bears’ preseason opener”

“Relax, Bears fans. It’s preseason”

Different year(s) and quarterback, same old advice.

Yes, Trubisky has a lot of room to grow. He definitely added excitement.

And, yes, it’s preseason. So, relax.

But also recognize this is unlike previous years. Glennon may be named the current starter, but there was no number two overall pick lurking in the shadows behind Cutler. With a coach entering the season on possible shaky ground, all options are on the table for a team in need of wins.

The Bears have essentially bought two lottery tickets in both Glennon and Trubisky. We’ll just have to wait and see which one is the Mega Millions.

No one is crowning Trubuisky yet, but the Bears have to feel good he dominated opposing third stringers instead of the opposite.

Before long, it could be Mitch-a-Palooza at Soldier Field.

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