What would continuity mean for Mitch Trubisky, Dowell Loggains?

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Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains gives QB Mitch Trubisky a play on the sideline. (AP)

Adam L. Jahns’ “Inside the Huddle” column appears in game-day editions of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Given the chance, Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains didn’t publicly pat himself on the back for rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky’s breakout game last Sunday against the Bengals.

He also wouldn’t say he saw Trubisky’s big day coming after months of working together.

‘‘I was proud of him,’’ Loggains said matter-of-factly.

Loggains, though, did say he anticipates Trubisky’s strong play will continue through the last three weeks of the Bears’ season.

And what if it does? What if Trubisky follows up his performance against the Bengals with an even more impressive showing against the Lions? And then what if he excels against the Browns and Vikings?

What would Trubisky’s late success say about Loggains? Would Loggains be worth keeping around, even if coach John Fox is dismissed after the season?

It’s an interesting scenario to consider because the value of continuity for quarterbacks never should be underestimated.


Big finish or not, it’s all about 2018 for Bears QB Mitch Trubisky

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General manager Ryan Pace certainly knows that coming from the Saints. Coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees have been together since 2006.

And the Bears should know that after Jay Cutler had six offensive coordinators in eight seasons with the team.

Advocates for change point to the Rams’ success this season. Jared Goff, the No. 1 overall pick in 2016, has excelled in his first season under coach Sean McVay.

Still, it’s difficult to judge Loggains fairly because he has lacked continuity at quarterback, a benefit many of the NFL’s offensive minds had in earning their reputations and current jobs.

McVay is one example. Kirk Cousins started every game under him in 2015 and 2016, when he was the Redskins’ offensive coordinator.

Dolphins coach Adam Gase? Peyton Manning started every game under him in 2013 and 2014 with the Broncos, and the often-injured Cutler made 15 starts under him in 2015 with the Bears.

Niners coach Kyle Shanahan? Matt Ryan started every game under him during his two-year run as the Falcons’ offensive coordinator. Ryan improved considerably in his second season under Shanahan, throwing for more touchdowns (38 to 21) and yards (4,944 to 4,591) and posting a career-best 117.1 passer rating.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson? Alex Smith started every game but two in Pederson’s three seasons as the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator (2013-15).

Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is expected to be in demand for coaching vacancies again this offseason. But he obviously has benefitted from having a healthy Tom Brady in eight of his nine seasons as the Patriots’ play-caller.

In 2008, the Patriots and McDaniels turned to backup Matt Cassel for 15 games after Brady suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the season opener. Cassel played well, but it was also his fourth season with the team.

Continuity matters for quarterbacks and their coordinators. Trubisky is Loggains’ fifth starting quarterback in two seasons as the Bears’ coordinator. He has coached through a range of players and personalities. Take a look:

Cutler: Five starts, 1-4 record, 81-for-137, 1,059 yards, four touchdowns, five interceptions, 17 sacks, 78.1 passer rating.

Cutler didn’t flourish under Loggains as he did under Gase, but he suffered an injury to his right (throwing) thumb in the season opener against the Texans. It got worse the next week against the Eagles. He then suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder in Week 11 against the Giants.

Brian Hoyer: Five starts, 1-4 record, 134-for-200, 1,445 yards, six touchdowns, no interceptions, four sacks, 98.0 passer rating.

Loggains arguably was at his best with Hoyer, who surpassed 300 yards passing in four consecutive starts before suffering a broken arm. The Bears were so pleased with Hoyer’s play that they were considering sticking with him over Cutler when Cutler returned.

The 49ers signed Hoyer last offseason, but Shanahan didn’t come close to replicating Loggains’ success with him. In six starts with the 49ers, Hoyer completed 119 of 205 passes for 1,245 yards with four touchdowns, four interceptions and a 74.1 passer rating. He was released after the team acquired Jimmy Garoppolo.

Matt Barkley: Six starts, 1-5 record, 129-for-216, 1,611 yards, eight touchdowns, 14 interceptions, six sacks, 68.3 passer rating.

Barkley was a challenge because he had been signed to the practice squad a week before the season opener. He didn’t get second-team reps until Week 3.

Barkley, though, nearly won his first two games as a starter. Receivers Josh Bellamy and Deonte Thompson dropped potential winning touchdown passes against the Titans in Barkley’s first start. In his second start, Barkley had a career-best 97.5 passer rating in a 26-6 victory against the 49ers. His play unraveled in his last three starts.

Mike Glennon: Four starts, 1-3 record, 93-for-140, 833 yards, four touchdowns, five interceptions, eight sacks, 76.9 passer rating.

Glennon wasn’t the quarterback the Bears hoped he would be. He didn’t play well for Loggains; he played tentatively after the Bears drafted Trubisky.

The decision to sign Glennon and then bench him in favor of Trubisky reflects poorly on the organization.

Trubisky: Nine starts, 3-6 record, 131-for-225, 1,508 yards, six touchdowns, four interceptions, 23 sacks, 80.0 passer rating.

The Bears were impressed enough with Trubisky’s growth to promote him to Glennon’s backup after the preseason, but his development was muddled from the beginning because of the team’s decision not to have an open quarterback competition. He didn’t start taking first-team snaps until Week 5.

Loggains’ and quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone’s developmental plan for Trubisky accelerated after he was named the starter. But Fox restricted game plans and play-calls with the same conservative approach he had for Glennon.

Everything changed against the Bengals, though. In his ninth start, Trubisky finally resembled a franchise-changing quarterback.

The question now is, what does Pace do if that continues?


@MasonMDubbsWest: If the Bears are picking in the draft and [North Carolina defensive end Bradley] Chubb, [Penn

State running back] Saquon [Barkley] and [Alabama receiver Calvin] Ridley are there, whom do you take?

A: The Bears have too many needs to focus on one position early in the draft, but Chubb would be my pick. Building up front on both sides of the ball is the best way to go. Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson also might be a player to consider.

As for Chubb, the Bears need a pass rusher to pair with outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, who still has to prove he can stay healthy for an entire season. Some analysts are calling Chubb the best edge rusher in the draft class.

As for offensive playmakers, the Bears can find immediate contributors on the second day of the draft. Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (37 catches, 585 yards, five touchdowns) and Rams receiver Cooper Kupp (56 catches, 783 yards, four touchdowns) were the 62nd and 69th picks, respectively, in the 2017 draft.

@MKania04: If [defensive coordinator Vic] Fangio ends up leaving at the end of the year, could that affect whether [cornerback Kyle] Fuller re-signs?

A: Good question. Fangio’s relationship with Fuller has had its ups and downs. Fangio openly questioned Fuller’s willingness to return from his knee injury last season, but time spent together in the offseason improved their relationship. Fangio now speaks highly of Fuller when he’s asked about him. Still, there are concerns about Fuller’s durability, commitment and personality fit. That’s why he isn’t a lock to return. He’s also having his best season in a contract year. Teams are leery of such success.


Jackson’s right mindset

When the Bears scouted rookie safety Eddie Jackson (above), his ball skills, instincts and ability as a returner stood out. But they also liked his resolve and attitude.

They liked how he overcame injuries, how he prepared and how he handled his failures on the field at Alabama.

So his starring performance in the Bears’ victory against the Bengals didn’t surprise anyone at Halas Hall.

Jackson struggled mightily in the Bears’ ugly loss to the Eagles. He missed tackles in the open field and had problems in coverage. Two weeks later, Jackson forced and recovered a fumble and made an interception against the Bengals.

‘‘His ability to bounce back from a bad play, a bad series or a subpar game is good,’’ defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. ‘‘He’s a mature player, and you expect that from him.’’

Picking things off

It seems as though cornerback Kyle Fuller, who leads the Bears with 16 pass breakups, drops an interception every week.

‘‘He’s had, I don’t know, four or five of them that he hasn’t quite been able to finish,’’ Fangio said.

But Fuller isn’t the only Bears defender dealing with a case of the drops. Bengals receiver A.J. Green made a nine-yard reception last week on a pass that hit cornerback Prince Amukamara in the chest. Amukamara didn’t have an interception in 14 games last season with the Jaguars.

Overall, the Bears have struggled to intercept passes in three seasons under Fangio. The Bears had eight interceptions — among the fewest in the league — in each of the last two seasons and have six — 29th in the league — with three games left this season.

Follow me on Twitter @adamjahns.

Email: ajahns@suntimes.com

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