“Wow! Who threw that?” Is the question my wife asked in our first real exposure to Mitch Trubisky at Saturday’s training camp practice.
It was a day in which everyone wanted to talk about the fumbled snaps but even a football novice like my wife could see that there was a definite difference in what Trubisky had to offer versus that of Mike Glennon and Mark Sanchez.
I don’t mean to minimize the snap issue. If a team can’t complete the snap, they can’t run a play. But there hasn’t been a quarterback in the history of the league who hasn’t figured out how to take a snap from the center. Let’s repeat that. There hasn’t been a quarterback in the history of the league who hasn’t figured out how to take a snap from the center.
The rest of that practice should have Bears fans excited.
The wow moment that caught my wife’s attention came in an individual drill. The wide receivers were running routes against the defensive backs and winning. The plays weren’t successful, however, because the quarterbacks couldn’t put the balls where they needed to be.
Then Trubisky — who had been working with the running backs against the linebackers — came in. His first pass was a perfect toss down the right sideline for a touchdown. The next was a sharp slant, right on the money.
In another drill, the quarterbacks were throwing at what were essentially two garbage cans, stacked on top of each other, with holes in them, set up all around the field. Trubisky put three passes right on the money and into the hole. The other quarterbacks combined to sink one.
In team drills, we saw more of the same. Trubisky was able to move around in the pocket, step up and make throws into tight spaces. Throws the other two guys couldn’t even consider.
Outside of the snap issues, Trubisky had a perfect practice. I don’t think he had more than five inaccurate passes and he was the only quarterback who was able to regularly make accurate throws down the field. He’s the most talented player they have at that position. No question about it. Yet good writers like Patrick Finley of the Sun-Times wrote that Trubisky isn’t even close to being ready.
But Finley — or anyone else for that matter — isn’t really capable of saying why. The Sun-Times scribe wrote:
Trubisky’s first full-bore NFL practice was another reminder that despite his impressive footwork and pretty spirals — a deep ball to Titus Davis was the best pass anyone threw all day — he’s not close to being the Bears’ starter.
But he never really gets into why he’s not close, outside of the snaps, which — as he noted — John Fox as pointed out the center shares the blame. It’s also worth noting that two days later, Mike Glennon, the guy who is supposed to be the starter, fumbled two snaps.
We don’t know about Trubisky’s ability to read defenses or adjust protections at the line of scrimmage. Glennon and Sanchez haven’t exactly been stellar in this areas in their careers so it isn’t crazy to think that Trubisky might already be superior to both. What is clear is that Trubisky is more athletic and throws a better ball. The rest, you can work around.
Those writing that Trubisky has to — and should — red shirt this year are buying into two flawed thoughts.
The first is that rookie quarterbacks shouldn’t start. There is no longer any strong evidence to back this up. In recent years we’ve seen starting rookie quarterbacks get their team on the right path quicker.
The next thought is that the Bears have been adamant Glennon is going to be the starter this year. But, I don’t think that’s etched in stone and Ryan Pace indicated the same at the pre-camp presser:
“Glennon is our starter and we’re confident in that. This thing is going to have to play out…I don’t think now is the time to deal with hypotheticals going forward.”
If Glennon is the starting quarterback and there’s no questions about that, what do they have to wait to play out? And, by not being willing to go into hypotheticals, didn’t Pace just admit that, hypothetically, Trubisky might be the starter?
- The rookies in the draft that was supposedly going to get Pace fired sure have looked good. It doesn’t take much for Adam Shaheen to be open and it doesn’t take much for Tarik Cohen to find his way into the open field. I want to see Cohen with live tackling before I officially pass judgement, but the Bears defenders had a tough time even touching him so I don’t know how much tackling will change that.
- Shaheen is bigger than you think. It’s one thing to look at the measurements, but seeing him in person is really kind of incredible.
- Leonard Floyd is significantly bulkier this year. He looked like a wide receiver last year and now he looks like a defensive end.
- Kevin White dropped two passes in Saturday’s practice, one of which should’ve been a touchdown from Sanchez, but ended up being an interception. Then you have the quotes from wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni saying he had to have White watch his West Virginia tape to remind him that he’s good. This is very troubling to me.
- When I ranked the Bears, I had Kendall Wright and Victor Cruz together, after watching them, I don’t think Cruz is even close to Wright. I think Wright might have a greater impact than most think.