LAKE FOREST — The starting quarterback takes extra reps with his starting wideout and tight end after practice.
All the signal callers use virtual reality technology in meetings to simulate additional live snaps.
The quarterback mentions his tight ends and running backs before his wideouts when discussing the strength of the unit.
Meet the 2017 Bears offense —Mike Glennon’s offense, that is — where unconventional is the norm. Would you expect anything different when all three quarterbacks are newcomers, same as the top two tight ends and No. 3-5 wideouts?
“A new offense with a lot of new guys, Glennon said Tuesday following Chicago’s first minicamp practice. “... Every time I'm out there is probably the first time I've run the play in this particular offense, so every time I’m out there it matters, and the more we do that, the more we'll grow as an offense.”
There’s plenty of room for growth. Chicago ranked 28th in scoring a year ago with three different starting quarterbacks tossing the same number of interceptions (19) as touchdowns. Enter Glennon, on a three-year, $45 million deal including $18.5 million in 2017, his season, albeit with No. 2 overall pick Mitch Trubisky looming.
It’s an unusual dynamic. Yet, Glennon’s teammates say it hasn’t prevented him from taking ownership of his new team.
“Mike is a leader. It’s like he was born to be a leader,” says Kendall Wright, one of the receivers who spent extra time after Tuesday’s practice working with Glennon. “He’s taking that role in this team like it’s his. That’s how he acts, that’s how he goes about his business every day. … I really think he’s the leader and he’s gonna be the quarterback for this team.”
This team’s offense is vastly different than the one Glennon learned the past two seasons in Tampa Bay. Unlike Dirk Koetter, an advocate of attacking vertically to create chunk plays, Dowell Loggains is prioritizing efficiency and quick throws.
“In Tampa," says Glennon, "they're more about hitting explosive plays, throwing the ball down the field, where here, more about getting completions, quick game, just more multiple —nakeds, boots, play-action, dropbacks — it's got it all."
Glennon may not have big-bodied wideouts on the perimeter like he did in 2013-14 with Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson, but he’s “really excited about the direction of the offense.”
“We can do multiple things with our personnel,” Glennon says. “We have a deep group at tight ends, deep group at running backs and then mixing the receivers in. … I think we can create some matchup problems with some of the guys we have.”
And the use of virtual reality tools, John Fox explains, creates extra opportunities to learn in that crowded QB room.
"It’s a new tool," says Fox, after praising Glennon's assimilation with his new club. "There's probably seven or eight teams in the league using it. Whether it’s Mitchell, Mark [Sanchez] or Mike, it’s just getting reps that the other guys don’t as far as the on the field, they’re able to get it in the meeting room, where it’s ‘virtually’ like practicing.”
Glennon plans to go back to North Carolina when minicamp breaks, but he'll attempt to schedule some throwing sessions with his teammates. That's not unconventional, but it's another example of how he's attempting to maximize his shot.
“Every rep allows me an opportunity to do something that I haven’t necessarily done here," Glennon said. "So the more reps I get the more comfortable I’ll be.”