Chicago Bears quarterback Mike Glennon faces his toughest test against the Green Bay Packers on Thursday Night Football. Will his struggles continue and force the Bears to consider Mitchell Trubisky? Or will he continue to play the "Tim Tebow role" for a ground-and-pound offense?
Tonight (8:25 ET, CBS, NFL, Amazon), the Bears begin a two-week stretch against divisional rivals that will define their season—and both games will be played in prime time. Starting quarterback Mike Glennon, rookie backup Mitchell Trubisky, and coach John Fox will have their futures shaped by the results of a Thursday night game in Green Bay and a Monday night contest against the Vikings.
Chicago (1-2) has exceeded expectations thus far. It opened the season against the defending NFC champion Falcons, hanging tough in a six-point loss, and last Sunday the Bears beat the Steelers, 23-17, in overtime. Beyond its respectable defense, Chicago has managed to be competitive (and win) thanks to a two-headed rushing attack of second-year back Jordan Howard and rookie Tarik Cohen. Notably, Fox managed to win with a similar formula in Denver, in 2011, with Tim Tebow under center. "We were good on defense and we led the league in rushing," Fox said Tuesday, according to The Chicago Tribune. "It's a good formula. It works. It's worked before. It can work again."
The toughest test comes tonight. Aaron Rodgers will stretch Chicago's defense, and Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers will likely force Glennon to beat his unit rather than letting the backs run wild. Glennon enters the game ranked No. 27 in the league in total QB rating. Last week, he managed only 101 yards passing, and OC Dowell Loggains called for four runs and no passes in overtime. If Glennon plays competently tonight, Fox seems happy to let him keep the reins (this is a coach, after all, who made the Super Bowl with Jake Delhomme). But if Glennon flounders, we might start the Trubisky watch. Though Trubisky is supposed to be taking in his rookie season from the bench, the Bears might feel the pressure to switch quarterbacks and win now. They don’t need a great QB, just one who is good enough to keep the offense going around a solid ground game—just like Tebow did once upon a time in Denver.
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NOW ON THE MMQB: Fans explain why they're walking away from the NFL ... Andy Benoit thinks the Panthers should change their offense ... Peter King writes that the Lions should be feeling good, despite their loss on Sunday ... and more.
LATER TODAY ON THE MMQB: Jonathan Jones has our second Football in America report ... Jones also previews tonight's game ... Albert Breer reports on Washington, the Cowboys, and the Jets ... and more. Stay tuned.
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1. The Chicago Tribune has reported that the national anthem will be shown on tonight's CBS telecast, kicking off another weekend of intrigue surrounding how players and teams will act during the performance. Cam Newton said he's considering some sort of demonstration this week in New England. In London, the Saints are still trying to figure out how to handle the situation. Maurkice Pouncey claimed that his Steelers will all be standing in Baltimore, while the Ravens are staying mum on their plans.
2. After a promising breakthrough, CTE expert Ann McKee told The MMQB's Jenny Vrentas, "I am pretty optimistic we will have a test, or maybe a series of tests, that are diagnostic for CTE during life, and I think that will happen in the next five years."
3. In 2016, the Cowboys had 11 drives that lasted 10 plays or longer through three weeks. So far in 2017, Dallas has three. Is it time to worry?
4. Here's a heart-warmer: "Deshaun Watson gave his first game check to Texans cafeteria workers who lost everything to Harvey."
5. Former Broncos coach Robert 'Red' Miller, who led Denver to its first Super Bowl appearance, and who will enter the team's Ring of Fame in November, passed away Wednesday at 89.
6. Case Keenum has not gotten enough credit for handling a strange situation—he's preparing to start again for the Vikings while his coaching staff "is doing everything we can" to get Sam Bradford back out there.
7. Yesterday, Odell Beckham Jr. met with Giants co-owner John Mara about his crude touchdown celebration, in which he pretended to be a dog urinating (and seemingly marking his territory) in the end zone. Afterwards, the star wideout did not apologize for his actions, but he did say, "I do know going forward I have a lot of better celebrations." Meanwhile, Bob Glauber insinuated that Beckham's actions make him less likely to stay in New York for the long term.
9. Kirk Cousins keeps photos of local reporters in his locker so he can study their faces and respond to them by first name. But that shouldn't get scribes too excited. He also keeps a sketch of a chicken eating a frog.
10. Justin Timberlake may perform again at this year's Super Bowl, 14 years after he and Janet Jackson added “wardrobe malfunction” to the football lexicon.
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A reporter went to the Meadowlands to ask Jets fans to name five current Jets players. Most couldn't, but they still seem to be having fun!
Also, about an actual kicker: Carson Wentz and Jake Elliott have decided to donate Wentz's game check to a charity rather than to Elliott's bank account.