You can talk about so many things that are wrong with this Bears team.
But let’s do quarterbacking. It’s important, and it’s a mess.
The Bears are stuck in the mire with a combo of Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles that is to great quarterbacking as Ren and Stimpy are to great acting.
They’re serviceable at times, entertaining occasionally and slapstick too often.
Take away Trubisky’s last, useless scoring drive Sunday against the Saints — a touchdown pass to tight end Jimmy Graham as time expired — and he ‘‘led’’ the Bears to three points.
This was about an inch shy of total embarrassment. Indeed, with one more inch, Saints quarterback Drew Brees would have scored on his final sneak and, without Graham’s one-handed touchdown snare, the final score would have been 28-3.
It should have been 28-3. That is a truer picture of the Bears’ malaise than the 21-9 final.
Think about this: All of the remaining quarterbacks in the playoffs are players you easily can envision winning the Super Bowl. They are Brees, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Jared Goff, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield.
It’s a mix of old and young, savvy and athletic, accomplished and emerging.
The old boys — Brees, Brady and Rodgers — are no-brainers. Among them, they have 56 years of experience, 36 Pro Bowl selections and eight Super Bowl championships.
You say they’re old? Well, duh. Football geniuses? Yeah, that, too.
The five young guys — Jackson, Allen, Mahomes, Mayfield and Goff — are 24, 24, 25, 25 and 26, respectively. In some alternate universe, it’s conceivable Brady, 43, could be any of their dads. Chuckle with that one. But Brady, Brees (42 on Friday) and Rodgers (37) are in some kind of floating time capsule, perhaps graying at the temples but still dangerous, driven and strong-armed.
Consider that Brees threw for more than 5,000 yards at 37, that Brady threw 40 touchdown passes this season and that Rodgers, who just seems to be getting started, threw 48 touchdown passes to only five interceptions and finished with a 121.5 passer rating.
Toast? These dudes? Shut your mouth.
So it’s the young quarterbacks who get the conversation flying. These are the fellows to whom Trubisky must be compared after four seasons. And it doesn’t look good.
Each of the young five quarterbacks has a different style, with Jackson’s elusiveness — 2,211 yards rushing in the last two seasons — being the extreme. But he can pass, too. And Mayfield, Mahomes and Allen also can run. Goff, with his broken thumb, is doing the best he can right now. He is more of a static game manager, but he has skills when healthy.
But this isn’t just about stats. The young five all were first-round picks, so they weren’t sleepers. Mayfield and Jackson were Heisman Trophy winners. Goff was the first pick in 2016 and Mayfield the first in 2018.
Jackson didn’t go until the end of the first round in 2018, but that was because general managers — herd followers, if you will — didn’t know whether his skills would translate to the big leagues. They know now.
Trubisky is not on these guys’ level. It just isn’t going to happen. We’ve seen enough. He’s a good fellow, well-liked by all. But can you picture him hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy as confetti swirls down?
So the Bears must look at the eight teams left in the running, look at their quarterbacks, and figure out how to get one like that. Because they need one. And they’re rare.
Coming up in this draft are a bunch of quarterbacks who might be the real deal. Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State’s Justin Fields, BYU’s Zach Wilson, Florida’s Kyle Trask — they’re all wonderful. Even darkhorse Trey Lance from North Dakota State.
All these guys lit up the college ranks. Some are huge (Trask is 6-5, 240). Some are fleet (Fields rushed for 104 yards against Michigan State). All could be something special.
The Bears, slated to pick 20th in the draft, could move way up — swing a deal with a package of players, cash, gold, shoes, McCaskeys, anything —and get a quarterback they think can lead them for years.
GM Ryan Pace blew it with Trubisky. Why should we believe he would do better this time?
Maybe we shouldn’t. But hope is all we have with the Bears.
And they’re going nowhere until they get a great, long-term quarterback. It’s pretty simple, really.
Can the Bears do simple? You wonder.