After two wonky games to officially open the NFL season, we’re soon to find out who the 2019 Bears are. That will only happen, however, if the coach starts trusting the QB.
A 1-1 start to the season always seemed likely since – as was well documented throughout last week – nobody wins in Denver in Week 2. (Of course nobody predicted what actually took place down the stretch.) The demise of the team’s defense was greatly exaggerated. Reports of an offensive regression, however, don’t appear to have been aggressively predicted enough.
One of the biggest things to emerge from the win over Denver was Matt Nagy flat out not trusting his quarterback. The Bears had third downs and between two and three yards SIX times in the game and chose to run the ball on four of them. Do coaches who trust their quarterbacks take the ball out of their hands this often? I don’t think so.
It’s not uncommon for teams to run in those situations, but it is odd for them to insist on running it like the Bears did. After the game, Nagy said he intentionally had a conservative game plan in order to keep his defense rested, in the heat and high altitude. Perhaps that helped prevent the collapse until late in the fourth quarter but scoring points would’ve made any incoming collapse less significant.
Nagy lost trust in his quarterback last year too. After Trubisky was impossibly bad against the Rams, Nagy scaled back the offense, going conservative with the thinking that they’d go as far as the defense would take them. While the QB played well, the offense struggled to score throughout that stretch, including in the playoff game.
Ultimately, Nagy’s plan didn’t work. The defense gave up two straight long drives, the second resulting in a touchdown and two-point conversion to give Denver the lead with less than a minute left. The Man in the Visor had no other choice after that. He had to let Trubisky sling it. And the quarterback got the team down the field for the game-winning field goal.
At this point it seems clear the Bears will always regret passing on Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes in favor of Trubisky, but that doesn’t mean their signal caller isn’t or can’t be a good quarterback. But two games into his third season, we don’t really have a feel for whether or not that’s the case.
The Bears have to find out what he is, even if that means losing in 2019. They have to know if Trubisky is good enough to get the job done for the next decade. Answering that question means trusting the quarterback, allowing him to at least try to convert third-and-short plays.
The first two games were always going to be tough for Trubisky and Nagy. But this week they have a defense that allowed Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott to carve them up. When we look back at Trubisky’s career, this game is going to be one that defines him.
But if the coach still doesn’t trust him, we’ll know what we need to know.