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The Bears will start Mitch Trubisky on Monday Night Football

Trubisky will start the first game of his NFL career on national television this Monday night

Chicago Bears v Green Bay Packers Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

From the moment Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky was drafted, the question was when will we see him in the NFL? When would he be trusted to take over a team that had heavily leveraged its present and future to make him their quarterback of the future?

When would former North Carolina State quarterback Mike Glennon, who had been signed two months before the draft to a three-year deal with nearly $20 million guaranteed, pass the torch? When would we be able to judge whether or not the Bears’ choice to give up four draft picks to move up one selection was brilliance or folly? For the last question, the jury will be out for quite some time, but we have answers to the first two as Trubisky is set to start for the Bears.

There were rumors during and after the Glennon’s dismal performance during Week 4’s Thursday Night Football tilt against the Green Bay Packers. On Monday, those rumors were confirmed. The passing of the torch feels a little bit like Glennon falling flat on his face and Trubisky grabbing the torch from his hands. Bears coach John Fox (and Bears ownership, most likely) is choosing Week 5 to unleash Trubisky on the league.

Fans have honestly been calling for this since Trubisky outperformed Glennon in the preseason, but the justification was that Trubisky’s performance was coming against mostly second-stringers. We’ve crossed the Rubicon now. Is this a good call or a bad call?

PRO: Glennon has been bad. At the very least, he hasn’t played up to that big contract he signed in March. With Glennon at the helm, the Bears have won only one of four games and have turned the ball over ten times, and seven of those turnovers are directly because of Glennon (five picks, one fumble, and a hilariously botched snap).

In his first year in Chicago, you could write off some of his struggles as growing pains, but these pains are particularly painful, and they have lasted for a quarter of the season. It makes sense that the Bears would go ahead and pull the ripcord.

CON: Glennon isn’t solely at fault for the Bears’ struggles. Trubisky’s new team has a lot in common with Trubisky’s old team. They’ve both been hit hard by the injury bug, particularly at the wide receiver position. Chicago has already ruled out receivers Kevin White and Cameron Meredith for the rest of the season. The team leader in receptions, targets, and receiving yards is a running back: A&T’s own Tarik Cohen. The Bears are second in the league in drops with 11, and the defense is allowing 26 points a game. Trubisky will not fix all of these problems, and they create a non-ideal situation going forward.

PRO: The Bears have nothing to lose. That’s not to say the Bears should already be playing for next season. It’s early days, they’re only two games under .500, and they have five games remaining this season against NFC North opponents. It’s tough to imagine how there could be a drop-off from Glennon to Trubisky. Maybe Trubisky is the first player in league history to record a Delhomme in his first start, turning the ball over six times. But I don’t see that happening.

CON: Well, the Bears do have to eat Glennon’s contract this year. In terms of cap hit, Glennon is the highest paid player on the entire Chicago Bears roster at $14 million, per Spotrac. So he’ll be taking up a roster spot for the rest of the year, no matter what. The earliest I could see the Bears parting with Glennon is at the beginning of the next league year. He’s due a $2.5 million bonus if he’s still on the roster on day 3 of that league year, so look for the Bears to make a decision on Glennon’s future around that time. It’s hard to reconcile having a backup be your highest paid player.

PRO: Trubisky will have a week of first-team reps and practice. There have been calls in practically every Bears game this season to put Trubisky in and start the new era already. Those calls were particularly loud during the Packers game, but he stayed on the bench, and rightfully so. A tough game on the road against Green Bay in unfavorable weather conditions with the outcome already decided is not a great time to get your first NFL experience, especially if you didn’t get many practice reps that week. Now, Trubisky and the Bears will be able to prepare for their next game with the knowledge that Trubisky will be the starting QB.

CON: Trubisky’s first start will be with a national audience watching him. Of course, the flip side is that the other team will know who to game plan against, although admittedly all they really have to go on is preseason film. That said, the Bears will be making their last national television appearance when they host the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football this coming week. It’s obviously not often when a QB makes the first start of his career on MNF, but Trubisky will be in good company.

PRO: Trubisky needs the experience. It goes without saying that the preseason is a different beast than the NFL regular season. Week in and week out, Trubisky will be playing teams that are jockeying for postseason position and/or fighting to keep their seasons alive. The stakes are higher, the other teams are fielding their best players, and with each game Trubisky will (hopefully) mature as a quarterback.

CON: The Bears have a difficult schedule from here on out. It eases up significantly in the last five weeks of the season, where the Bears have games against the winless 49ers and Browns as well as the 1-3 Bengals. But the Bears don’t play a team below .500 until December. Their bye week is week 9, and their games until then are MNF at home against the Vikings, a trip to Baltimore to face the 2-2 Ravens, home for the 3-1 Carolina Panthers, and then New Orleans in the Superdome. The Bears may not be favored in any of those games.

PRO: Jared Goff is turning out alright. If you’ll remember the Los Angeles Rams’ dismal season last year, you’ll remember all the agonizing about when the Rams would hand the team over to their #1 overall pick. It finally happened in week 10, and Goff promptly lost his first seven starts, throwing five touchdowns to seven picks. This season, the Rams are 3-1 through four games and Goff has thrown seven touchdowns to only one pick. Goff and Trubisky don’t have the exact same situation, but there are parallels.

CON: Goff DID lose his first seven starts. So there might be some growing pains. And the Rams could finish 6-10 just as easily as they could finish 10-6. This week’s game against the Seahawks will do a lot to inform which one will be the case. But if the Bears want to look back on their own history, here’s a very specific statistic that should give them some hope. The last time a team handed the reins to a rookie quarterback who was not only starting but seeing his first game action at all and ended up winning that first game was actually the Bears, at home, against the Vikings, in 2003. Rex Grossman isn’t GREAT company, but how’s that for a coincidence?