EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – For a matchup featuring two teams that have been eliminated from playoff contention, the game between the Giants and Chicago Bears tomorrow in Soldier Field has a lot of quarterback intrigue.
The teams have a total of five quarterbacks on their active rosters who practiced this week, but neither announced who their starter will be.
At least Bears offensive coordinator/play-caller Bill Lazor opened a window onto the team's quarterback strategy in his weekly conversation with reporters.
"We're definitely going to have one," Lazor said, no doubt mirroring the Giants' thinking on the issue.
Giants coach Joe Judge has chosen either Mike Glennon or Jake Fromm for the assignment. Glennon started the first three games after Daniel Jones suffered a neck injury on Nov. 28 that eventually landed him on injured reserve. The Giants lost all three games, including a defeat against Dallas two weeks ago in which Glennon threw three interceptions.
That prompted Judge to give Fromm his first career start last week in Philadelphia. It didn't go well, as the second-year pro completed only six passes for 25 yards before Glennon relieved him in the third quarter. From would like a chance to redeem himself.
"Anytime something doesn't go your way, you want to get the opportunity to respond," Fromm said. "Would love that opportunity to respond and go out and do better, get better and ultimately to score some points and ultimately win a football game."
It's a worthy desire, but because he struggled so noticeably last week, Glennon is expected to start tomorrow.
"I'll prepare like I always do," Glennon said at the start of the work week. "I pride myself on the preparation side of things and preparing to be ready to go. We'll treat it just like I always do."
The Bears have also played three quarterbacks this season. Veteran Andy Dalton started the first two games, rookie first-round draft choice Justin Fields the next eight, followed by Dalton for two and Fields for two before Nick Foles led the Bears to a 25-24 victory in Seattle last week, when the other two quarterbacks were unavailable due to injuries. In his first action of the season, Foles went 24-for-35 for 250 yards and threw the game-winning touchdown pass and two-point conversion vs. the Seahawks.
Fields is Chicago's long-term hope at quarterback and the Bears reportedly want to get him as many snaps as possible in the season's final two games. But he has an ankle injury that forced him to miss the Seattle game and limited him in practice this week. Dalton is expected to start if Fields can't play. He is 2-2 in four starts this season, the most recent a Dec. 5 loss to Arizona in which he threw four interceptions.
The Giants have prepared for all three quarterbacks.
"You got to make sure that you build in the variety of what they do with different guys and that your sound in all the schemes," Judge said. "But ultimately, you've got to make sure you fit the things they do with all the guys in there and make sure you're sound against that."
"I think all three have their own element of game planning. They use these guys in similar ways as well as in different ways. Each guy has their own personality as a player. I don't think it's fair to lump those guys in the same category and try to separate Foles and Dalton from Fields."
The Giants-Bears quarterback connection goes beyond the mystery of who will take the first snap for each team.
In 2017, Glennon joined the Bears with a three-year contract. He started the first four games – three of them losses – before giving way to Mitch Trubisky, Chicago's first-round draft choice that year. Glennon never threw another pass for the team and continued an odyssey that has seen him play for six teams in as many seasons.
Playing against the Bears holds no particular significance for Glennon.
"I've played them before," he said. "Really, the past three seasons I've played them. This will be my first time returning to Chicago, but I have nothing but great things to say about the Bears organization. I enjoyed my time there. It didn't necessarily work out on the field, but as far as just the people around that organization, the way it's run from ownership all the way down, I really enjoyed my time. It'll be fun to go back."
The Giants-Bears game will feature 13 players and coaches who were once at the University of Georgia. That includes Fromm and Fields, who were teammates in 2018 and competed for the starting job. Fromm, a sophomore, won the battle, threw 30 touchdown passes and led the Bulldogs to an 11-3 record and the SEC championship game, where they lost to Alabama. Fields, a freshman, played in 12 games that season and totaled eight touchdowns (four passing and rushing). After the season, he transferred to Ohio State, where he accounted for 78 touchdowns – 63 passing – in only 22 games.
"It made me a better football player," Fromm said of the competition. "I got to learn about the things that he did well, and I got to get better at the things that I did well. Kind of a little bit of everything and just seeing how another great player, great athlete plays the quarterback position. I learned a lot from him, and it made me a better football player.
"Justin was a great teammate, a great competitor," Fromm said. "He made me a lot better at the quarterback position and helped our football team then. I look forward to seeing him this week and just wish him all the best."
Except maybe for three hours tomorrow.
The Giants and Bears will face each other for the fourth consecutive season and the third year in a row in Chicago. On Sept. 20, 2020, the Giants trailed at halftime, 17-0, rallied for 13 unanswered second half points, and advanced to the Bears' 10-yard line with four seconds remaining. But Golden Tate was called for offensive pass interference as Jones' final-play pass fell incomplete and the Giants lost by four points. These teams first played each other in 1925, making this the Giants' oldest active series (the Giants' first-ever road victory was in Chicago on Dec. 13, 1925). The Giants lost their last three games in Chicago (in 2013, 2019 and 2020) since last winning there in 2007. Chicago leads the regular-season (30-21-2) and postseason series (5-3).
View rare photos of the all-time history between the New York Giants and Chicago Bears.