For the first time in his five-year NFL career, Bears quarterback Mike Glennon will start a regular-season opener Sunday when he faces the Atlanta Falcons at Soldier Field.
"I'm anxious and excited to get out there on Sunday," Glennon said. "It's been a long time coming. I'm just looking forward to this full week of preparation and then ultimately opening up at Soldier Field with our fans and having a good football team come in here."
Mike Glennon appeared in 21 games with 18 starts in four seasons with the Buccaneers.
Glennon signed with the Bears in March after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Buccaneers. He started the final 13 games as a rookie in 2013 and opened five contests in 2014. But Tampa Bay selected quarterback Jameis Winston with the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft, relegating Glennon to the bench the past two seasons.
The North Carolina State product shook off the rust during the preseason, rebounding from a poor performance in the exhibition opener to post passer ratings of 78.2 and 102.5 in consecutive wins over the Cardinals and Titans. He knows that the intensity will be ramped up Sunday, but the 27-year-old is confident in his ability to perform.
"I hope that those preseason games prepare me for this, but definitely going from preseason to the regular season, it's not the exact same thing," Glennon said. "But I feel ready for it. The speed of the NFL is fast, but I feel like I'll be ready for it."
It's no coincidence that Glennon, who is known for his preparation and football intelligence, excelled in the one exhibition game that followed a week of game-planning. He was sharp from the outset, completing 7 of 9 passes for 84 yards including a one-yard touchdown to tight end Dion Sims on the Bears' first possession.
"He handled it exactly like we expected him to," said offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. "He's a pro. He knows what to do. He does it. He played well. That's how we kind of anticipated him playing. That's how he practiced. When you study and learn and do all those things, he knew what the defense was going to do and made good decisions."
Glennon is a firm believer that preparation is the key to success.
"I spend a lot of hours studying the opponent and studying our game plan and kind of blending the two together so you see where our game plan fits in with their defense and kind of how we're attacking them and all that," Glennon said.
"The better you know the defense the more answers you'll have to the questions they're about to ask. You go in already with an idea of where you're going to go with the ball and that definitely helps. You make quicker decisions, more decisive and then playing faster, getting the ball out of your hands and getting the ball into the playmakers' hands."
Glennon's goals for Sunday's game are simple.
"Just be patient, take the defense gives us and score more points than them," he said. "That's our job as an offense is to score more points than the opponent and we know that they have a really good offense and we're going to have to score a lot of points."
As he prepares to make his first regular-season start since 2015, Glennon is eager to prove himself.
"It's not about practice, it's not about the preseason games, it's about these games coming up when they count," Glennon said. "I think everyone's always proving something to themselves, to the team or to the rest of the league."