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How many Bears QBs started as rookies?

Posted Oct 5, 2017

Senior writer Larry Mayer discusses Bears quarterbacks who've started as rookies, if Bears wide receivers will be more involved in the pass game with Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback and the last Bears quarterback to win his starting debut.



Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

How many Bears quarterbacks have started as rookies and how have they fared?

John L.
Chicago

Mitchell Trubisky is set to become the 11th Bears quarterback to start a game as a rookie during the Super Bowl era. He joins Bobby Douglass (1969), Gary Huff (1973), Bob Avellini (1975), Jim McMahon (1982), Will Furrer (1992), Moses Moreno (1998), Cade McNown (1999), Rex Grossman (2003), Craig Krenzel (2004) and Kyle Orton (2005). Only three of the aforementioned 10 rookie quarterbacks won their debut: McMahon, Grossman and Krenzel. With two touchdown passes in a 20-17 win over the Lions, McMahon is the only one in the group to throw for multiple TDs in his first start. Douglass had the best passer rating (95.1), while Furrer had the worst, posting an 11.2 in the 1992 season finale, a 27-14 loss in Dallas that happened to be Mike Ditka’s final game as Bears coach. McNown threw for the most yards (255), while Douglass compiled the fewest (41), completing just 4 of 9 passes in a 13-7 loss to the Lions.

Do you think that having Mitchell Trubisky as the starting quarterback, the Bears wide receivers will get more involved in the passing game? They haven’t been much of a factor so far.

Donald K.
Farmington, Michigan

I think that Mitchell Trubisky will look to throw downfield more than Mike Glennon did and I believe the rookie throws a more accurate deep ball, so that could lead to more opportunities. But with that being said the receivers need to collectively step up their game, especially given that Cameron Meredith and Kevin White are both injured. The receivers dropped too many passes from Glennon in the first four games of the season. I think the biggest difference for the receivers with Trubisky replacing Glennon is that the rookie possesses the athletic ability to extend plays, which should give the receivers a better chance to get open because it’s difficult for even the NFL’s best defensive backs to maintain tight coverage for a lengthy period of time.

Who is the last Bears quarterback to win his starting debut?

Randy L.
Minnesota

Since the Bears traded for Jay Cutler in 2009, nine different quarterbacks have started for the Bears and the results in their first games have not been pretty. In fact, the only one of the nine who won his starting debut probably had the worst performance. On Oct. 10, 2010, yes 10-10-10, No. 10, Todd Collins, completed 10 passes—six to the Bears and four to the Panthers before getting removed from the game. The Bears won 23-6 primarily because Matt Forte rushed for 166 yards and two touchdowns and the defense generated three takeaways and didn’t allow a touchdown. Here are the eight other quarterbacks who all lost their first starts: Cutler (2009), Caleb Hanie (2011), Josh McCown (2011), Jason Campbell (2012), Jimmy Clausen (2014), Brian Hoyer (2016), Matt Barkley (2016) and Mike Glennon (2017).

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