Leader, noun, a person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country.
As the Chicago Bears continued camp at Halas Hall on Wednesday, there is no clear-cut leader. While some may disagree, to this point in the season, there is no player I can say is the leader, the captain of the Bears.
When you look around the NFL, there are men who are no doubt the leaders of their football team. Tom Brady of the Patriots has led New England to seven Super Bowls, victorious in five. His leadership on and off the field can be credited to the Patriots success. Aaron Rodgers has been the man in Green Bay since the departure of Brett Favre in 2008. But when you look at the Chicago Bears, there has not been “that” guy for sometime now.
Everyone looks to the quarterback to lead them on Sunday’s. The QB position is the most important player on the field. He is the commander of the offense and without a skilled, intelligent football IQ at the helm, success will not be present.
For the Bears, there is no true leader yet. There is not that one guy you can say is the Bears Tom Brady. And when will we see a leader emerge? No one knows. There is no timetable with this certain thing.
In terms of last season, four Bears players were fortunate enough to wear the “C” on their chest: Jay Cutler, Danny Trevathan, Pernell McPhee, and Sherrick McManis (ST). These players were not only the leaders for their units but leaders for their teammates. Now, with Cutler gone, which offensive(s) player will earn the “C” on their chest? Will McPhee, Trevathan and McManis be given that honor again? We will have to wait and see.
Right now, I do not see a Brady type leader on this football team. And with the regular season quickly approaching, someone is going to have to step up fast. It is vital to the team success to have someone they can rely on to lead them onto the field week after week.
So who is going to be the Bears leader? Is it Mike Glennon? After a shaky Bears debut, the critics were out in full after the preseason opener. Glennon has said all the right things, gone the extra mile in hanging out with teammates in the offseason and working out together. He has built some chemistry with the guys off the field but that is not how you win ball games. Glennon has to be able to execute to not only be the starter week one but to keep it. We see it a lot in the NFL nowadays that teams are tired of dealing with mediocrity and start a new guy at quarterback without hesitation. Glennon got paid the big money to be the starting quarterback this season and his first showing did not live up to that.
Glennon has had himself an alright training camp. He has taken control of the offensive unit and views himself as the leader. There has been no out-right problems with Glennon but there has not been a whole lot of wow factors either. His deep ball has not been something to note of and his first game was not worth noting. He will have a chance to rebound on Saturday in Arizona. But if he fails to impress, then some real concern comes about, not only from an on the field standpoint but in the locker room as well.
As for his competitor, Mitch Trubisky had a great debut, going 18-25, 166 yards and 1 TD. The second overall pick came into his first NFL game with around two minutes left in the first half. And leading to the two minute drill, Trubisky threw a two yard touchdown to Victor Cruz. Not bad for his first series.
That’s what winners and leaders are. Trubisky’s number was called in crunch time at the end of the first half. He executed, made the right reads, and got his team on the scoreboard. Again, it was just one game, in the preseason, but Trubisky put on display his athleticism, arm strength, and speed. It was fun to watch and gave Bears fans something to cheer about in a preseason game.
What about other players outside the quarterback room? Jordan Howard had himself a historic rookie season and won over the support of his teammates. Does he take the next step in year two and become the leader of the offense? Maybe. Kevin White, a former first round pick, says “it’s go time.” Well, it’s go time on the field and a chance to become a big presence in the locker room. Kyle Long is a likable guy and was active with his teammates in the offseason. Once he gets healthy and is on the field everyday, will he take control of the offensive line and the offensive huddle? These are all questions that have to be answered before week 1.
Both McPhee and Trevathan were named defensive captains last season. I had nothing wrong with those selections. Trevathan won a super bowl and would be a centerpiece for the revamped defense. And for McPhee, a major free agent signing along with Trevathan, would lead a group of pass rushers. But if McPhee is not ready to go week one, who would be the next man to earn the captain status? Would it be Jerell Freeman? Freeman was a leader of the group last season but did miss four games for violating the league’s PED list. That may not sit well with some players and coaches.
Leonard Floyd should be a leader this season. After a very productive offseason and a promising camp, he could rise to become one of the elite pass rushers in the NFL. Another candidate is Akiem Hicks. Hicks revived his career last season with the Bears. And being one of the older players in the defensive line group, his opportunity to spread his knowledge and lead by example is open now more than ever.
I do not see a leader on this Bears team yet. To be the leader, you have to practice hard, be at every team activity and take responsibility. It’s easy to say that Peyton Manning led the Colts back in the day because he did. He was the best player on the field and his example, his commitment, and his results gave him that title. Who is going to be the Brady, Manning, Rodgers in Chicago? I do not know yet but I’ll tell you this, I want to know soon.