A worn-out political campaign slogan also applies to NFL quarterback controversies: The time for change is now. The candidate in this case is Mitchell Trubisky, who actually does bring hope to Chicago’s bad news Bears.
With some luck, the Bears will not change quarterbacks again for several years. Of course, the Bears never have much luck with quarterbacks. Chicago once welcomed Jay Cutler with open arms, the thinking being that Cutler finally represented a true franchise quarterback, and how foolish was that thought? Cutler has taken his lack of talent to South Beach. Goodbye and good riddance.
Trubisky, the No. 2 pick in the draft, is no longer No. 2 on the depth chart. He’s no longer forced to sit and watch Mike Glennon, whose brief era was doomed from the start. The Bears gave Glennon a month to fail, as everyone knew he would, before naming Trubisky the starter.
Trubisky has not been handed the keys to a Corvette. He’s driving the family truckster, with a bunch of scrap-heap wide receivers asleep in the back seat, while Christie Brinkley passes him on the highway in her red Ferrari.
But this is not necessarily the beginning of a poorly planned trip to Walley World, which is closed for repairs and maintenance. Trubisky gives the Bears a real shot to beat the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night at Soldier Field, a park in desperate need of amusement.
The Bears (1-3) have been blown out twice on the road, but they have played well twice at home, taking the Atlanta Falcons to the wire and upsetting the Pittsburgh Steelers. And that was with Glennon doing next to nothing. Trubisky has more talent and intangibles. Rookie quarterbacks are not always sacrificial lambs, as Dak Prescott proved last year and Deshaun Watson is showing now.
Chicago’s decision to pay Glennon $16 million and change was a costly mistake, but it’s time to move on. This is the right time to switch to Trubisky. The Minnesota defense, which ranks 12th in yards allowed and eighth in scoring, is good but not great. The Vikings’ quarterback, whether it’s Sam Bradford returning from injury or Case Keenum filling in, will not scare the Bears, who stood up to Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan.
Dalvin Cook, the Vikings’ electric rookie running back, is done for the year. Cook ranks third in the league in rushing yards, and that threat has been eliminated.
Maybe this is too much to ask of Trubisky, who’s not taking over a ready-made playoff team. But the rookie has the mobility to make plays and the ability to energize the Bears, who are worth a play as 3-point underdogs in his debut.
Here’s a trend to consider — Chicago is 14-2 in its past 16 home games against the Vikings — and here are four more picks for Week 5 (home team in CAPS):
* BENGALS (-3) over Bills: With the Cincinnati offense finally showing life, buy Andy Dalton at this low price. Dalton completed 46 of 57 passes with six touchdowns and no interceptions in the past two games against Cleveland and Green Bay. Buffalo has the league’s No. 1 scoring defense (13.5 points per game), so this is obviously a tougher test. The Bengals rank No. 3 in scoring defense (16.8), and they catch the Bills on the back end of back-to-back road games after their upset win at Atlanta.
* Seahawks (plus-1½) over RAMS: The NFC West is a two-horse race between these horses. This L.A. team is legit, mostly because 31-year-old coach Sean McVay has revamped the offense while Wade Phillips runs a solid defense. The Seattle defense, which ranks fourth against the pass, will throw a big challenge at inexperienced quarterback Jared Goff. Russell Wilson is the quarterback more likely to make winning plays down the stretch.
* RAIDERS (-3) over Ravens: EJ Manuel is not a bad backup plan for injured quarterback Derek Carr, and Oakland is in what should be a bounce-back spot following two humbling losses on the road. This play (which was better at minus-2½) is also anti-Joe Flacco, whose numbers rank among the worst in the league. After bullying the Bengals and Browns, the Ravens were outscored 70-16 in their past two games.
* COWBOYS (-3) over Packers: Working behind a decimated offensive line and without much of a running attack, it’s all on Aaron Rodgers to make plays. Rodgers is more than capable, especially with Jordy Nelson finding openings in Dallas’ soft secondary. Still, Green Bay’s injury report is long and gloomy. This play looked a lot better at minus-2. After a home loss, it's a decent spot for the Cowboys to rediscover their offensive identity by riding running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Last week: 4-1 against the spread