There has been some pretty poor quarterback play in the NFL to start the season. And with this league's pressure and parity, winds of change are already in the air just a few weeks into the 2017 campaign. The Houston Texans have a new quarterback. (The fact Deshaun Watsondidn't start in Week 1 is beyond absurd.) The Cincinnati Bengalsfired their offensive coordinator, and Andy Dalton's seat is piping hot.
And fans in Chicago and Jacksonville are restless for more at the game's most important position. I have strong feelings about each situation. Let's start with the Bears ...
Head coach John Fox has established that Mike Glennon remains the starter for this week's game. And that's the right thing to do. Chicago should not change quarterbacks. At least not yet.
As regular readers of this column know, I have long felt that Glennon is a solid option at quarterback. Thus far this season, he hasn't played like it. In the guy's defense, though, this is not exactly a dream situation for a 27-year-old trying to make his way on a new team ...
Back on March 9, at the outset of free agency, the Bears signed Glennon to a lucrative, three-year deal. Seven weeks later, Chicago traded up a spot and snagged Mitchell Trubisky with the No. 2 pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. Before even playing a snap with his new team, Glennon essentially went from being the quarterback of the present and future to the quarterback of the past. His opportunity to establish himself as the franchise QB in Chi Town pretty much ended before it started.
And then there's the receiving corps Glennon was given to play with. Letting Alshon Jeffery walk in free agency, Chicago returned to the gridiron in August with one of the most underwhelming collections of pass catchers in the league. And that was beforetop wideout Cameron Meredith tore his ACL in the preseason. And before former No. 7 overall pick Kevin Whitehit injured reserve for the third straight season.
One good start, one bad start -- Glennon deserves the opportunity to show which one is the outlier.
And besides, even if the Bears want to try something new at quarterback, they're still stuck with the same old receiving corps. Trubisky would have to play with this collection of misfit toys, too.
Chicago has some talent on defense and at the running back position. But the Bears will pick in the top five of the draft again next year. This roster has some unquestionable holes, while the remaining schedule's chock-full o' challenging opponents. At 0-2, these are the Bears' next six games before a Week 9 bye:
How many wins do you count there? Sometimes going over a schedule and trying to figure out when a young QB should be inserted into the lineup leads to paralysis by analysis. But Trubisky represents hope and the future. You don't want to feed him to the wolves as fresh meat with a flawed surrounding cast. That's how young signal callers are broken.
At this moment, Chicago's most important game is Week 1 of 2018. Obviously, players and coaches don't think like that. But Trubisky wasn't drafted to save the 2017 Bears; he was drafted to lift this QB-starved franchise in the years to come. Ryan Pace made a bold (and controversial) trade to acquire him. The general manager needs to make sure everyone has the same plan here. John Fox entered this season on the hot seat; don't allow any desperation on his end screw up the franchise's big-picture plan. Everything has to be done in Chicago with the future in mind. Fans might not want to hear that, but it's the truth and what's best.
There's just no reason right now to shove Trubisky onto the field. Give the rookie all the time he needs to get comfortable at this level. Given how high a pick Chicago used on the 23-year-old field general, the Bears' future hinges on Trubisky's long-term growth. Don't stunt it with a premature starting nod. Stay the course, Chicago -- at least for now.
On the other hand, it's time for a change in Jacksonville.
Blake Bortles sucks the life out of this team. (One could argue I don't even need the last six words of the previous sentence.) My stance on the former No. 3 overall pick has been documented for years. It's rather straightforward. Blake Bortles struggles with the forward pass -- that's a problem when you're a professional quarterback.
Sunday's 37-16 loss to the Titans -- in Jacksonville's home opener -- showed it all. Bortles was wretched all afternoon, marred by poor mechanics, off-target throws and, of course, turnovers. (Three of them, to be exact.) All that enthusiasm following a 29-7 win at Houston in Week 1? Gone -- like Bortles' viability as a franchise quarterback.
Do I think Chad Henne is poised to come in and light it up? No, sir. But the 32-year-old veteran has one big advantage: He isn't Blake Bortles. The Jaguars are quite solid elsewhere. I love Leonard Fournette -- he's a beast of a rookie back. Jacksonville's defense is legit. While the catchy nickname "Sacksonville" had a shelf life of one week, these cats can still play. Calais Campbell is a great player and leader. And the Jags' D boasts talent at every level.
Jacksonville has a chance to bite some teams with this combo of defense and running. In fact, the AFC South is a division that provides great opportunity. Jacksonville already knocked off the Texans in Houston, and while Bill O'Brien is now smartly starting Watson, the Texans still have some drama and issues. Meanwhile, the Colts are a Dumpster fire. The Jaguars could realistically sweep those two teams -- or at least win three of four.
Yes, the Titansdo currently look like the most complete team in the division, and they just smoked the Jags in Jacksonville. But Mike Mularkey's group is far from perfect; it's a growing team that's still coming into its own. Tennessee's certainly not infallible. With non-horrendous play at QB, Jacksonville still has a chance to compete for the division crown, or at least eclipse five wins for the first time since 2010.