Patience for Bears QB Mitch Trubisky all but gone amid more stumbles
At 25 years old and in his third season, the Bears can’t keep asking people to wait and see on their highly drafted quarterback.
Matt Nagy knows you’re out of patience.
If he could be totally transparent without fear of what it would do to Mitch Trubisky’s psyche, he’s almost certainly tired of waiting, too.
But knowing there’s no other option, Nagy did his best Monday to hold off the wolves. He bordered on begging everyone to just give him a little more time.
“As much as we don’t want to hear that with the small sample size or the Year One-and-a-Half in this offense, the growth of this offense needs to be better,” Nagy said. “That position, it always starts there — it always does.”
Nagy defended Trubisky, but did not excuse him. He was fairly candid about his quarterback’s shortfalls in the 36-25 loss to the Saints on Sunday, when he completed 34 of 54 passes for 251 yards with two touchdowns.
That stat line actually raised Trubisky’s passer rating for the season to 82.8, which is still 13 points lower than last season and ranks 28th among the 29 quarterbacks who have at least 50 attempts this season.
But that’s not the line Nagy is evaluating. He completely threw out the frantic last three minutes in which the Bears scrambled for an onside kick and two touchdowns. That was by far Trubisky’s most competent segment of the afternoon, but it was worthless.
“To me it is garbage time, and that’s not the mode we want to be in,” Nagy said. “I could [not] care less about those stats at the end of the game.”
Before that, Trubisky was 20 of 35 for 119 yards and a 63.9 passer rating.
It’s worth noting that it was his first game back since suffering a dislocated non-throwing shoulder and partially torn labrum, but Trubisky is at a point where it’s indiscernible whether the injury had any effect or this is just how he plays.
It’s a new low for a quarterback who was once so enticing that general manager Ryan Pace traded up to take him No. 2 overall, bypassing Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. Mahomes could’ve done better on crutches than Trubisky did Sunday.
Nagy was blunt in assessing his poor pocket presence and some questionable decisions. He also pointed out, fairly, that hardly anyone involved in the offense is doing their job well. Wide receiver Allen Robinson, who has been targeted on 26.8 percent of the Bears’ passes, is the only skill player averaging more than 60 yards from scrimmage.
Nagy also acknowledged that when the Trubisky the Bears see in games is far below what he saw in training camp and in practices last week, that becomes an alarming problem.
“We need to evaluate how often does that go on,” Nagy said. “So if you have games like this that continue or that go on for a long period of time — [but] that’s not where we’re at right now with him.”
Isn’t it, though? How large of a sample size is necessary, and how much time do the Bears have to allow him to grow? Pace has to make a decision on his 2021 option after this season, and that’ll cost north of $22 million. Then comes the question of a contract extension, which is always a nine-figure commitment at that position.
Trubisky is 25, has gone through two full offseason programs in Nagy’s offense and will make his 32nd career start Sunday against the Chargers.
Of the 10 times he’s posted a 100-plus passer rating, nine were against bad teams and the other was an infamous 2017 win over the Panthers in which he completed 4 of 7 passes. Last year’s supposed breakthrough was against the Buccaneers. This year’s was against the Redskins.
The verdict is in. Trubisky isn’t league-average, let alone a game-changer. The only move left for Nagy is to do his best to hide it, and that means running as often as possible.