Quarterback Mitch Trubisky’s ability to scramble for big gains creates all sorts of advantages for the Bears’ offense.
“It kind of makes our job easier in a way from a tackle’s standpoint,” right tackle Bobby Massie said. “The defense has to respect his ability to run, so you get fewer blitzes and more contain rushes. It’s a good thing. It’s another aspect of his game that shows how good Mitch can be.”
Trubisky’s running has been a boon to the Bears’ offense the last three games in particular — 53 rushing yards against the Buccaneers, 47 against the Dolphins and 81, including an entertaining sideline-to-sideline eight-yard touchdown, against the Patriots. His 181 yards on 17 carries are 30 yards more than any quarterback in that span and have helped the Bears score 48, 28 and 31 points. It’s only the second time since the 1970 merger that the Bears’ offense has produced 28 or more points in three consecutive games.
“It creates a big problem,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said. “Anytime you have a quarterback that can sit in the pocket and throw and still beat you with his legs, that creates a problem overall. There are a few of them in the league like that, and he’s one of them. It’s going to be a challenge.”
But even Trubisky seems to know he’s overdoing it. And despite his success as a scrambler the last three games, he wants to get back to what he does best to keep the offense on a roll: play quarterback.
“Gotta be more detail-oriented,” Trubisky said when asked how the Bears’ productive offense can improve. “Me, specifically in my footwork and staying in the pocket, staying calm and just everyone doing their job.
“There’s no detail too small in this offense, and that’s really where you start to see that we could separate ourselves as an offense and score even more points. Because we put up 31 points [against the Patriots] basically playing backyard football — me running around just trying to find completions and not being very sound with my footwork and drop-backs.”
Trubisky’s ability to turn happy feet into big gains probably makes it more difficult to contain himself when he feels pressure or needs more time to find an open receiver. But he knows he needs to improve his footwork not just from a technique standpoint but a decision-making one.
“Sometimes it’s pressure, good scheme by the defense; sometimes [it’s] the protection, [though] I believe the O-line has been playing awesome these last couple of weeks,’’ Trubisky said. ‘‘And it’s also a product of me running early, trying to make plays with my feet and even running . . . when I don’t need to, just continually trying to make plays with my feet when I just need to stay in the pocket and stay as a passer and keep my eyes downfield.”
That’s the next step for Trubisky in his maturation as a quarterback: making plays downfield when he’s flushed out of the pocket.
“What we always tell him is be a thrower first,” coach Matt Nagy said. “It’ll come. I think that’s just [a matter of] experience with him.”
The trick is to find a happy medium because Trubisky’s scrambling is a productive asset.
“That’s a weapon right now for us,” Nagy said, “because there are coverages that defenses cannot run now because he’s running the ball.”
Eventually, Trubisky figures to find that sweet spot. When the Bears are scoring 28 or more a game, it’s hard to argue with the process.
“I’m going to continue to be aggressive and use my legs and play with that fine line because it definitely can make defenses pay,” Trubisky said. “But, most of all, I need to stay in the pocket, do my job and just go through my progressions.”