Bears stick with Mitch Trubisky as starter but need to see progress soon

Matt Nagy argued Monday that there’s plenty of time left in the season for quarterback Mitch Trubisky to play the way he wants him to. But the clock is ticking: The 3-4 Bears are in last place with nine games to play.

SHARE Bears stick with Mitch Trubisky as starter but need to see progress soon
Mitch Trubisky scrambles for 11 yards on the final drive Sunday.

Mitch Trubisky scrambles for 11 yards on the final drive Sunday.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Coach Matt Nagy argued that there’s plenty of time left in the season for quarterback Mitch Trubisky to play the way he wants him to. But the clock is ticking: The 3-4 Bears are in last place with nine games to play.

“You’re talking about a kid that wants it really bad — he really, truly cares,” Nagy said Monday, a day after the Bears’ 17-16 loss to the Chargers. “And I told you how I am and what I’ve learned on how you need to be with quarterbacks. But at the same time, there’s also an accountability. There’s that balance of, when is it time? And when do you want to start seeing that type of stuff?

“And I think we’re getting close to that, and he knows that. When I say that, meaning, when there’s opportunities to be made, we want to make those, and he wants to make them. But we’ve just gotta do it. But it’s the world we live in right now. People want it now.”

In Kansas City, Nagy had the luxury of installing Alex Smith — an eight-year veteran — to run an offensive scheme that he said “does take a little time” to master. Trubisky has 32 NFL starts. He has 20 in Nagy’s system and counting — Nagy confirmed he’ll stick with Trubisky over backup Chase Daniel.

“And then you take his college experience, high school experience,” Nagy said of Trubisky, who started for only one year at North Carolina. “It can be challenging. We know where we’re at, and we want it for him. He wants it for us. But it’s who we are right now. It’s where we’re at, and we’re just going to stay positive.”

Trubisky went 23-for-35 for 254 yards, was sacked four times and had a 75.1 passer rating. With a six-point lead, he twice turned the ball over in the fourth quarter in his half of the field — an interception thrown toward tight end Trey Burton, then, amazingly, a fumble when he wasn’t touched by the opponent. The latter led to the Chargers’ go-ahead touchdown.

The Bears seemed to stumble upon an offensive identity, though it had little to do with Trubisky. David Montgomery ran 27 times for 135 yards, both career highs. His 55-yard run was the Bears’ longest since Jordan Howard gained 69 on Halloween in 2016.

“As a unit right now, we didn’t get the win, but we felt there was definitely an improvement,” Nagy said.

Nagy held on to index cards, remnants of his film review earlier in the morning. There were plenty of plays highlighted in yellow for good throws that Trubisky made. Nagy thought a 16-yard pass to Burton in the fourth quarter was special. He was impressed with Trubisky leading the Bears down the field — with his passes and an 11-yard scramble — to set up the 41-yard field goal that ultimately failed.

He was better than the week before but made far too many mistakes. About five minutes into the fourth quarter, Trubisky had the team’s fastest player, Taylor Gabriel, running free down the field, chased by 36-year-old linebacker Thomas Davis.

Trubisky overthrew him, then fumbled on the next play.

“Those are the type of plays — man, it’s 16-10, you hit that touchdown, after the way our defense is playing, and it’s close to being the dagger,” Nagy said. “And we didn’t, we didn’t hit.

“He truly missed that one. He knew it right away. We all knew it. We’ll talk about it, and we’ll try to hit it next time.”

If Trubisky doesn’t, he’ll eventually start running out of next times.

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