If Mitch Trubisky keeps stumbling, ramifications would be ruinous for Bears
Mitch Trubisky will be shelved. Offensive expert Matt Nagy will be fired. Ryan Pace will be on the hot seat, his talent-appraising reputation in shambles.
Fans easily could be celebrating the Bears this week instead of heaping abuse on them.
Get a few yards closer for Eddy Pineiro’s last-second — pitifully missed — field-goal attempt, score a touchdown on just one of those 12 goal-to-go plays in the first half, throw a single touchdown pass at any time in the game (like most quarterbacks do, Mitch and Matt), and the Bears would’ve beaten the Chargers.
But they lost 17-16. And now they’re 3-4, losers of three in a row, circling the drain.
So if Matt Nagy says his boys need to put on earmuffs and horse blinders to avoid the criticism swirling about, then fine, do it. Look like beasts of burden preparing for winter, guys.
But what people are upset about is what has happened on the field. And when fans at Soldier Field boo, it may not be pleasant for the Bears’ organization to witness, but they all — players, coaches, scouting staff, owners — would do well to understand how far-reaching the progressive failure could reach.
If flailing third-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky is this bad, and Nagy is this wedded to him, and general manager Ryan Pace has risked this much on his 2017 top draft pick, and the team’s plunge continues, then the entire field operation for the Bears is in ruins.
What might happen?
Trubisky will be shelved. Offensive expert Nagy will be fired. Pace will be on the hot seat, his talent-appraising reputation in shambles.
That’s the ripple effect of trading away four draft choices (one a No. 3 overall) to move up to the second spot in the draft to take an alleged quarterback savior who turns out to be a dud.
And right now, there may be no worse starting NFL quarterback than Trubisky.
It’s high-stakes stuff, these quarterback hunts. Everybody knows it because snagging a great one — a Dan Marino, John Elway, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady — can set up a franchise for years.
But fail in the hunt, especially if you risk much, and watch the cards collapse around you.
There are many excuses for Trubisky’s regression from potential. He started only 13 games in college. It takes time to ‘‘get’’ Nagy’s offense. The play-calling doesn’t benefit him. He has had some unfortunate failings around him (see Pineiro’s shank). He has a harness on his previously dislocated left shoulder.
All reasonable excuses. But nobody really cares.
The NFL is a right-now vicious jungle. And failure is failure, excuses and sympathy be damned.
Picking Trubisky so high might have seemed smart. As Pro Football Focus wrote before the draft, he “appears to be the safest option of the 2017 quarterback draft class.”
Operative phrase is “safest option.’’ Not best talent, greatest upside or rarest ability.
And then two other 2017 first-round quarterbacks — Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson — were picked after him, and their success has focused a laser beam of failure on Trubisky. To be succinct, the Texans’ Watson has a 105.7 passer rating, the Chiefs’ Mahomes a 113.1 and Trubisky an 81.4.
Mahomes, of course, was last season’s league MVP. You get the picture.
Maybe Trubisky will develop into a decent quarterback and live up to his potential in two or three years. Maybe we’ve already seen his best.
Either way, Pace ultimately will be tied to Trubisky, and the time to evaluate that pick has arrived. This was the season everything should’ve come together for Trubisky and the Bears.
Time is working against them at this point as the rest of the division steadily pulls away.
The flailings of Trubisky make us ponder all possibilities here. The Bears have had only one No. 2-or-higher draft pick in the last 67 years. To miss when you get such a chance is disaster. It’s Tony Mandarich super-bust territory.
Sorry, Bears, but that’s what you’re looking at. So sorry.