Teammates are Mitch Trubisky’s last hope
With the struggling quarterback unable to carry the offense, the offense is going to have to step up and carry him. As Taylor Gabriel said, it’s not just a matter of respect or belief, “I have to have his back.”
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky’s career looks like it’s in a death spiral right now — a third-year downturn marked by a daunting catch-22: He needs confidence to have success. But he needs success to build his confidence.
And around and around she goes. The more Trubisky struggles, the more likely it will inevitably erode the confidence his teammates have in him. They all love him and respect him, but everybody has his breaking point. And if that confidence in him starts to break down, Trubisky’s job will be nearly impossible. He’s just not good enough to do this without a tip-top supporting cast behind him all the way.
Coach Matt Nagy has been staunch about sticking with Trubisky during troubled times. He said he didn’t even consider pulling him after a dreadful first-half performance by the entire offense in a 22-14 loss to the Eagles on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. Trubisky completed 6 of 13 passes for 24 yards as the Bears opened the game with three consecutive three-and-outs with a grand total of minus-20 yards.
At this point, only a loss of trust and confidence on the part of Trubisky’s teammates could force Nagy’s hand. And Nagy did not appear concerned about that when asked Monday about teammates’ belief in Trubisky — though it wasn’t quite a ringing endorsement, either.
“It’s there,” Nagy said. “Here’s how we do it: We look at it as a whole unit. You look at [Sunday’s] game offensively, there’s a lot more than just one person. You guys all get a chance to watch. That’s the part that’s frustrating, is Mitch knows and I know and we all know that it goes to him. He gets it.
“But there’s a lot of people involved here that we really believe in that it didn’t happen for [against the Eagles]. That’s the part that’s really frustrating.”
Since Nagy arrived in 2018, Trubisky has had the full faith and trust of his teammates — an unusual amount actually for a quarterback without many notches in his belt. And even as he struggled this season, his unwavering demeanor has sustained that belief.
“That’s one thing I love about him,” wide receiver Taylor Gabriel said after Trubisky struggled against the Saints on Oct. 20 in his first game back from a shoulder injury. “He’s a competitor. He’s a fighter. He’s always going to be out there and give it his all. I have to respect that. And not just respect it, I have to have his back.”
There’s the rub. No matter how much Trubisky’s teammates believe in him, it doesn’t mean anything if their belief in him doesn’t compel them to make plays for him. That seemed to be a bit of a problem against the Eagles, with at least three drops and a bobble. Even Allen Robinson, above reproach as the lone consistent playmaker for Trubisky this season, failed to catch a deep ball down the right sideline — a tough play he needs to make for a quarterback desperate for big plays. He got two hands on the underthrown ball against good coverage and couldn’t hang on.
It’s kind of silly to ask Robinson to make every single big catch with the season he has had so far. But that’s how desperate the Bears are for Trubisky to at least regain his 2018 form. His teammates need to carry him on their shoulders in hopes that one day he can return the favor.