There are an abundance of storylines to follow for the Bears as we creep closer to the start of the 2018 season. A small sampling:
- How will all the new pieces fit together on offense?
- Can Jordan Howard catch?
- Are Allen Robinson and Kyle Long healthy, and can they stay that way?
- Can the rest of the roster stay moderately healthy for once?
- Can somebody step up at DE opposite Akiem Hicks?
- Can anybody besides Leonard Floyd rush the passer from the edge?
- Can the secondary finally get more interceptions?
These are all important questions worth considering this season, and collectively they will play a huge role in determining the win/loss record for the year. But there’s only one question that will decide the success Bears’ 2018 season (and beyond): how good is Mitch Trubisky?
Ryan Pace staked his career on Trubisky by trading up to draft him in 2017, and doubled down this offseason with pretty much every move he made intended to put Trubisky in the best possible position to succeed. He hired an offensive-minded head coach who trained under one of the best QB mentors in the game in Andy Reid. He brought in an abundance of new pass catchers to replace the less than stellar cast of a season ago. He spent a 2nd round pick on James Daniels and hired Harry Hiestand to shore up the offensive line.
The excuses of last year are all gone, and Trubisky is now firmly entrenched as the face of the franchise. Now it’s on Trubisky to prove that Pace’s trust in him is well founded. And that needs to happen now, in 2018.
Why do I say this? Because we almost always see it in year two when a QB is going to be good. I looked at this last year, right after the Bears drafted Trubisky. When teams draft a QB in the top five, they almost always suck in the QB’s rookie year (so the Bears’ 2017 season was right in line). But year two is a vital one:
“Year 2 starts to be when we can see a difference between teams who drafted a good QB and teams who drafted a bust. Teams with QBs who hit jumped to an average of 9.2 wins in year 2, a level they would stay near for the remainder of the (QB’s first) 5 seasons. 5/13 posted 10+ win seasons, while only 1 lost 10+ games.
For the teams whose QB would bust, things did not look as rosy. The average number of wins remained low at 6.0. Only 2/11 teams won 10+ games, and 8/11 lost 10 or more, just like in their rookie seasons.”
There’s a lot about the Bears’ roster that we just don’t know yet. But overall, it’s hard to look at the non-QB portion of the roster and think that it’s anything worse than average. The Bears should be poised to be significantly better than the past four miserable seasons, but in order to do that, they need a good QB.
So don’t ignore those other questions, but don’t overcomplicate your analysis either. The season (and future) ultimately hinges on this: if Mitchell Trubisky is good, the Bears will be good. If Mitchell Trubisky is bad, the Bears will be bad.