Matt Blanchard Shines in Pre-Season Bears Opener
Lake Zurich High School graduate aims to be Bears backup QB; former UW coach says Blanchard's best football still ahead.
Lake Zurich’s Matt Blanchard performed well in the pre-season Bears opener, last week, against the Denver Broncos, completing 6 of 7 passes, which included a 28-yard pass to rookie Chris Summers.
The 2007 LZHS graduate is fighting to be a backup quarterback on the Chicago Bears. Blanchard is battling Josh McCown to be the Bears No. 3 QB. Although Blanchard is considered a longshot by some, he has garnered some favorable reviews in his debut.
The Chicago Tribune says: “He showed poise and delivered some nice passes, especially when you consider the reps he’s receiving in training camp have been very limited.
Bears quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates told the Tribune: “He handled himself well. I think the big question mark always with a Division II or III quarterback is how do they handle the center stage? Man, he took it right on. I am very proud of him. He is an athletic, smart quarterback that we are excited about and still has room to grow.”
Bears GM Phil Emery had this to say about Blanchard in the Chicago Sun-Times: ‘‘To walk into a stadium that was holding more people than he’s probably ever been in front of in his life . . . ‘to throw that long ball and be accurate in the short area and to carry himself with poise under duress in a very charged environment says everything about him.’’
Blanchard’s former coach at UW Whitewater, Lance Leipold, continues to have a lot of confidence in him. Blanchard led the team to back-to-back national championships. Leipold told ChicagoSide “I’m not gonna try to tell (the Bears) how to go about their business, but when I look at Matt I see a guy whose best football is still ahead of him,” Leipold said. “He’s self-motivated and he is just as hard on himself as any coach would be, and those are the type of intangibles you want in a quarterback.
The Bears next pre-season game is Saturday against the Redskins at Soldier Field.
Editor's note: On Aug. 20, an error regarding the location of the pre-season opener was changed.