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Looking Ahead to Trubisky’s Final 10 Games (Through Paul Simon’s Eyes)

| October 24th, 2018

This column comes not to defend the quarterback of the Chicago Bears because the quarterback of the Chicago Bears requires no defense. This column comes to defend three elements missing from modern sports discourse: patience, perspective and rational thought.

Mitch Trubisky is an inexperienced signal caller in his second year. Sunday was his 18th start – his sixth in a new, complicated offensive system. Through this period there have been plenty of good and plenty of bad to evaluate in the kid’s performances. And that puts Trubisky in the same category as just about every other young quarterback to come through the ranks of the NFL; a fact seemingly lost on the many social media football fans who believe Sean is the patriarch of the McVay Football Family.

Aaron Rodgers and Steve McNair were non-existent at this point in their NFL careers. Troy Aikman and Peyton Manning were throwing the ball to the other team far more than their own. Drew Brees, the league’s all-time passing leader, was so mediocre his team took a quarterback number one overall after his third season.

But fans are in a panic. Why? Because Patrick Mahomes has been an exception to this general rule. But the pre-professional experience of Mahomes/Trubisky should not be discounted. Mahomes threw 1,349 passes at Texas Tech. Trubisky threw 572 at North Carolina. The difference? Roughly Sam Darnold’s career at USC. As a current NFL GM texted me Monday, “You couldn’t draw up a better developmental path for a young QB than what Mahomes got.” Trubisky got a year of hand it off, hand it off, dodge a sack on third-and-long.

Nobody is arguing Trubisky is going to be better than Mahomes. But, honestly, who gives a shit? It’s not like Mahomes is in Detroit! Barring the two clubs both ending up in the Super Bowl, these two quarterbacks will be on the same field in their careers what, three times if both stick in the league for a decade plus?

(Side note: Notice nobody is yelling about taking Trubisky over Deshaun Watson anymore? That’s because Watson doesn’t look like he’s even going to physically make it to the end of his rookie contract. Sadly, many of us predicted this due to his frame and playing style. The league needs more Watsons, not less. But Watson should be a warning: the first seven games of one’s career do not a career make.)

Trubisky has work to do over the final ten games of 2018 because (a) he needs to get better, (b) the Bears can still achieve things this season and (c) the organization is building massive momentum for next season. And since I’m in a Paul Simon mood these days, I’m using the music legend to frame the discussion.


A Mile Out of Memphis

Accuracy has been Trubisky’s biggest issue through the first six games of the 2018 season and it’s been two routes in particular that have given him issues: the quick, mid-range out and the deep vertical, specifically over the middle.

Here’s the fact, though: Trubisky is not an inaccurate passer. He’s completing 65.9% of his passes, which is a higher rate than Ben Roethlisberger, Pat Mahomes, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson. And Trubisky is not tossing screens or easy dump-offs, even though he probably should be throwing more of both. He’s throwing the ball down the field. Just as he’s 15th in completion percentage, he’s 15th in yards-per-attempt.

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Week 7: Patriots at Bears Game Preview

| October 19th, 2018

[Disclaimer: The following game preview is being written under the assumption that Khalil Mack will play Sunday. It is also being written under the assumption that he’ll be limited, to a degree, by his ankle injury.]


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears…

…and I just like this game, hence yesterday’s flamboyant column. This should be the most intense, feverish crowd at Soldier Field in five plus years. And don’t be surprised if the Bears come out and match that intensity, eager to prove last week’s rollover in Miami was a fluke.


The Game Limerick

There once was a goody named Brady

Whose fitness guru seemed a bit shady

The coach tossed him out

Now Goody got gout

But at least he still has a rich lady


Why the Bears Will Win

  • Patriots on the Road. New England is 4-0 at home and 0-2 on the road but it’s how they’ve looked on the road that’s been jarring. They didn’t just lose to Jacksonville and Detroit. They lost by a combined score of 57-30 to mediocre teams. The Bears have a better defense than the Jaguars and currently a better offense than the Lions. (Note: These games were pre-Julian Edelman’s return and Josh Gordon’s arrival.)
  • The Andy Reid Coaching Tree. Matt Nagy isn’t going to require much research when building his game plan to attack the Pats defense. Look no further than the success Andy Reid had versus New England Sunday night. Okay, fine, look further. Doug Pederson put up more than 500 yards of offense on Bill Belichick & Co. in the Super Bowl with Nick Foles under center. (I still contend Pederson’s success with Foles is one of the most impressive playoff runs in league history. Foles is terrible.) The blueprint is drawn. And Nagy is very close to the men who drew it.
  • Taylor Gabriel is becoming a star in this offense and he’s going to be wide open 2-3 times against this Pats secondary because, quite frankly, Gabriel has been wide open for more than a month. But there are soft areas in New England’s deep zone and teams have had an easy time exploiting them. Trubisky HAS TO hit those throws Sunday.

Why They Won’t

  • Belichick. He’s the best coach in the history of the NFL and has made a career out of confusing young quarterbacks into bad decisions. Trubisky will see 3-5 looks he’s never seen previously. Stat: quarterbacks under 25 years old are a career 1-42 at Foxboro. (Yes, I know this game is not there but that stat is absurd.) Here’s what Mike Lombardi said about it: “He makes them play left-handed…He takes away what they do and they don’t have the experience to go and do other things.”
  • Tom Brady. He’s Tom Brady.
  • Edelman. Maybe this is the Sunday hangover talking, but it’s inconceivable that Josh McDaniels won’t throw 5-7 bubble screens against this defense and see if their performance in Miami was an anomaly or a trend. One would think those throws would would go to Edelman, the most elusive of NE’s receiving targets.

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