And just like that, another quarterback has thrown his hat in the ring to be the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears in 2020: Mitch Trubisky.
It wasn’t perfect, but for the first time this year Trubisky looked like an actual NFL quarterback. It wasn’t just that he threw more great passes on Thanksgiving than he has all season. It’s that he looked composed. He went through his progressions and he made plays even after the defense took the initial look away. The head coach, who is clearly frustrated with the quarterback’s inability to run the offense, came away impressed.
“Today was Mitch’s day. It was his day.”
After noting that his last two touchdown passes were to players who weren’t the initial reads, Matt Nagy said, “That’s growth for Mitchell. Getting through progression one, progression two and making plays happen. I think that’s probably what I’m most proud about.”
For one day, Nagy had an NFL quarterback and the offense made plays when they needed to. And it wasn’t just about statistics, even though the statistics were terrific.
Trubisky threw three touchdowns against Washington in September and the same in Detroit a few weeks ago, but it didn’t look right in either game. Even in those performances, he was mostly bad, often missing throws and reads that could’ve put the game out of reach. On Thanksgiving, he created almost everything and the offense surely would’ve had more success if not for a few costly penalties.
Playing Detroit has certainly helped Trubisky. He has 24 percent of his touchdown passes the last two years against Matt Patricia’s defense.
Despite Trubisky’s continued success against them, Patricia has insisted on playing man coverage even though his team doesn’t have the pass rush or defensive backs to hold up. Trubisky knew what the coverage was snap-to-snap and, just as importantly, enjoyed clean pockets.
Even with those factors, Trubisky still made a few mind-numbing decisions.
- The interception on the Allen Robinson crossing route was unacceptably lazy.
- His decision not to try to get a first down on third-and-four while trailing by 10 with 30 seconds left in the first half was the kind of play that could make teammates question his dedication.
- Later in the game, he passed up another chance to run, instead taking a negative play while they were trying to make a comeback.
Yes, he made up for those decisions. But Detroit certainly helped.
Dallas is going to mix coverages and bring the heat. So are the Packers and the Vikings. Success against Detroit was nice, but it really just verified what we already knew. Trubisky can be good against bad defenses, but we still don’t know if he can consistently beat good — or even adequate — defenses.
This game alone won’t put Trubisky in a position to be the starter in 2020. More needs to be seen. He needs to be better. The Bears are going to be in the market for a new quarterback this off-season. How aggressive they are depends on these final four games.
Trubisky still holds the trump card. The job is still his if he’s able to take it.