Mike Glennon didn’t exactly inspire confidence Saturday night.
But it could’ve been worse.
After a subpar preseason debut, Glennon sent Chicago Bears fans off a cliff when a poorly thrown second-quarter pass to Kendall Wright was picked off by the Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu inside the Arizona 5-yard line, halting a promising drive and Chicago’s momentum. That was another credibility killer for Glennon, who had a forgettable pick-six in the Aug. 10 preseason opener against the Denver Broncos.
On Chicago’s next drive, Glennon, rolling to his left, failed to set his feet and should’ve been intercepted again on a pass to tight end Zach Miller.
The veteran quarterback, however, rallied late and hit Wright for a short touchdown just before halftime in a game Chicago went on to win 24-23 at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Glennon’s late touchdown isn’t going to silence Bears fans screaming for rookie Mitchell Trubisky, but it buys the fifth-year pro more time heading into the all-important third preseason game at Tennessee Titans next Sunday.
QB depth chart: Glennon finished the night 13-for-18 for 89 yards, with one touchdown, one interception and a 78.2 passer rating. Chicago's No. 2 quarterback, Mark Sanchez, again played sparingly. Sanchez completed both of his pass attempts for 23 yards. Trubisky took over late in the third quarter and went 3-for-4 for 23 yards on his first drive, but he was sacked on a third-down play. On the next drive, Trubisky forced a ball to Titus Davis that should've been intercepted. But the No. 2 overall pick recovered on the next possession and hit Benny Cunningham for a short touchdown reception. Trubisky ended the night 6-of-8 for 60 yards and that score.
When it was starters vs. starters, the Bears looked ... pretty good on defense and just OK on offense. Defensively, the Bears applied tons of pressure on Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer, who looked uncomfortable all night in the pocket. In particular, linebacker Jerrell Freeman played fast and seemed to be all over the field. Rookie running back Tarik Cohen (11 rushes for 77 yards) was spectacular from the opening kick, but the entire first-team offense didn’t get its act together until that end-of-half scoring drive.
One reason to be concerned: Glennon’s turnovers. That’s two costly picks in two exhibition games. The Bears aren’t good enough to overcome those types of mistakes in the regular season. Glennon looks to be more of a game manager, but when he does take shots, he must be more accurate.
That guy could start: Cohen is a no-brainer. The only knock on Cohen is size (5-foot-6), but he was a more than capable replacement for Jordan Howard on Saturday. The Bears now have a ton of tape of Cohen running between the tackles, but I still believe Chicago will try to get Cohen the football in space during the regular season. Second-year defensive end Jonathan Bullard also had a strong night starting in place of Akiem Hicks. Bullard knifed across the line of scrimmage to blow up a couple of Cardinals plays, including one on third-and-goal.
Rookie watch: Obviously, Cohen made a huge impact. Fourth-round pick Eddie Jackson entered the game on Chicago’s second defensive series, another indication he is a legitimate threat to beat out Adrian Amos at free safety. Jackson came close to making an incredible one-handed interception in the end zone. Jackson, though, almost muffed a first-quarter punt return but got bailed out by an interference penalty.
Kicking competition: Connor Barth took control of his battle with Roberto Aguayo by nailing a 42-yard field goal on Chicago’s second offensive drive. Barth also was 2-for-2 on PATs in the first half. Aguayo missed a 49-yard attempt in the fourth quarter. You have to wonder if Aguayo will be on the roster next week. And speaking of special teams, Deonte Thompson did his best Devin Hester impersonation when he returned a 60-plus-yard Arizona field goal attempt 109 yards for a touchdown just before half.
Moving pieces: Kyle Long's absence on Saturday due to an ankle injury forced Chicago to slide Cody Whitehair to left guard and start Hroniss Grasu at center. That could be how the Bears begin the regular season, depending on Long’s health. General manager Ryan Pace sidestepped a question about Long’s projected timetable on the team’s official television pregame show. Long has not played in either of Chicago’s two exhibition games.