On Thursday, the Cleveland Browns cap off their preseason on the road against the Chicago Bears. To help preview a few topics from the Bears’ perspective, we reached out to Josh Sunderbruch from Windy City Gridiron and exchanged five questions with him. Enjoy!
DBN: “It appears that Mike Glennon will start Week 1 for the Bears. If it were up to you, who should start Week 1? Glennon or rookie Mitch Trubisky?”
Josh: “I would start Glennon. In fact, I like how the Bears' front office is handling the situation so far. The fact of the matter is that Trubisky has all the talent a fanbase could ask for, but he's still a little raw. I would much rather see Trubisky get a chance to learn good habits and assume full command of the offense instead of seeing him develop bad habits by being rushed out ahead of schedule.
I'm fine with him spending all of 2017 developing, because I see him as a long-term investment. I don't think that's going to happen, though. I think Glennon is going to be bad enough to merit pulling him, and that by the time that decision is made Trubisky will have turned the corner. Because I don't believe the Bears will make the playoffs either way this season, it really is about what is best for Trubisky's development. If he needs to sit, so be it.”
DBN: “Browns fans had a little soft spot for former quarterback Connor Shaw. Has he gotten any opportunities this preseason?”
Josh: “Shaw seems to reach fans that way. There is a small (but vocal) group of Chicago fans who seem to think that he should be the #2 QB, developed as a the ‘backup of the future’ alongside Trubisky; this means that Sanchez would be cut so Shaw could take his place.
Sadly for those fans (and seemingly for some Browns fans as well), Shaw has been relegated to the role of placeholder. His job has mostly been to round out the roster and to work in the rotation. It seems like the coaching staff has decided that Shaw is not even in the tier of quarterbacks worthy of backup status. To be honest, it sort of seems like each quarterback slot was decided before camp ever opened up, and nobody was going to get a chance to play his way into a new relative position.”
DBN: “Tight end Adam Shaheen is kind of a local kid to us, going to college at Ashland. How has he fared this preseason? Is he expected to start Week 1?”
Josh: “Full admission--I wanted the Bears to draft Shaheen from the beginning, and I actually pumped my fist when he was chosen, so I am not a neutral observer, here. Shaheen had a rough opening week, dropping one ball and tripping over his feet on another play. On the other hand, he has looked impressive in the blocking department. As a tight end he can only take the opportunities he's given, and so far he has been mediocre as a receiver while still seeming more well-rounded than some fans feared.
My guess is that he'll sort out his minor issues and turn into a solid player for the team. However, he's not going to be TE #1 in the opener. That role belongs to Dion Sims, and Zach Miller is going to fight tooth-and-nail to hold ground. Still, with presumptive #1 receiver Cameron Meredith going out, there should be plenty of chances for multiple tight ends to get on the field, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Shaheen get some snaps early. I just doubt they'll be as a starter.”
DBN: “What is the top position battle currently taking place for the Bears?”
Josh: “Besides QB, which is sort of a non-battle, there is not a lot of stability in the secondary. There's an open spot next to Quentin Demps at safety that will come down to rookie Eddie Jackson or the uninspiring Adrian Amos. The team also has three perfectly mediocre corners: Amukamara has an ankle injury, Fuller runs hot and cold from play to play, and Cooper is adequate. It will be interesting to see who wants it most.”
DBN: “Tell us about one player on offense and one player on defense who is a relative unknown, but who has turned heads in camp thus far.”
Josh: “Tanner Gentry is an undrafted free agent wide receiver. He seems to be developing chemistry with Trubisky, and he also follows in a long line of fan-favorite undrafted receivers. Meredith's injury could give him an opening. On defense, Nick Kwiatkowski is a 2016 draft pick who seems to be steadily improving. He might grow into a true starter instead of a rotational player.”
Thanks again to Josh for taking the time to answer my questions.