Most of us agree that NFL preseason games are a waste of time, a money grab by owners, a major injury waiting to happen and an all-around threat to the republic.
Yet I can’t shake a powerful need to see Mitch Trubisky throw a pass in a game. To know that he has improved. To wipe away all the reports of his middling training camp. To make sure that what the Bears are saying about their quarterback is in the general vicinity of the truth.
Coach Matt Nagy has done the right thing here. He obviously believes his team is a Super Bowl contender and has not exposed his top players, including Trubisky, to the risk of getting hurt in meaningless games.
But all we’ve heard since the Bears’ first training-camp practice is that Trubisky has struggled because he has been going against the league’s best defense every day. This very well could be true, but the mention of it makes my Mitch Excuse antennae start twitching. We’ve all become accustomed to Nagy’s kid-glove handling of his 25-year-old quarterback. You point out the poor first three quarters Trubisky had in the wild-card loss to the Eagles last season, and Nagy gushes about the nice fourth quarter Trubisky had. You mention a bad interception, and Nagy talks about Trubisky’s excellent mechanics on the play. You say Lizzie Borden, and he counters with Joan of Arc.
This puts me in a constant state of uncertainty when it comes to Trubisky. And so, even though almost every fiber in me is screaming for the kid to stay on the sidelines during the preseason, a few fibers are vibrating madly for him to throw a pass or two, just for reassurance. Mine.
Last season, I agitated for Trubisky to play in the preseason because I thought he needed all the snaps he could get. He was (and is) far from a finished product. But Nagy was as protective as body armor when it came to his quarterback, and by the time the fake games were over, Trubisky had thrown only 18 passes.
I don’t like all the mystery going into this year’s opener against the Packers. Part of that comes from not being quite sure about what Trubisky is. And part of that comes from being paranoid. What is Nagy hiding? Is he getting ready to go all mad scientist with his game plan against the Packers? Or is he trying to fix something in Trubisky and doesn’t want it exposed in the preseason?
I’ll leave the door wide-open that there’s something wrong with me.
We’ve heard so much about how good the Bears’ defense is, and there’s no doubt that’s true. But it’s not reassuring to hear over and over again that Trubisky’s interceptions in practice are a result of his facing a brutish collection of defenders. It would be much better to hear that he’s killing Khalil Mack & Co. once in a while. Or more.
It’s why, against all reason, I’d like Trubisky to throw a few passes in the preseason. Just to see if he’s alive and not being probed by some space aliens.
Alas, there will be no further answers about him until the real season starts, so we’re left to either wallow in our unknowing or fantasize what the weather will be like in Miami in February, when the Super Bowl is played there.
Admit it: When the Bears open Sept. 5, you’ll have no earthly idea how Trubisky will perform. Some percentage of you will have hands over eyes, such will be your concern. That’s where my irrational need to see Trubisky play right now originates.
So I sit and wait and wonder if I’ll see a lot more Good Mitch this season and a lot less Bad Mitch. I ponder how much Nagy wants Trubisky to run this season. If he protects him from injury in the preseason, does it follow that he’ll try not to expose Trubisky to getting hit on runs and scrambles when the real games start? Or is Trubisky’s success predicated on his ability to run the ball and keep defenses off balance?
So many unanswered questions.
I don’t care that offensive lineman Kyle Long got into a fight with a teammate last week, only that he was puking afterward. The Bears need him healthy and in shape.
I don’t care about the battle for a backup D-lineman spot.
OK, I do care about the Bears’ kicker situation. I’d like to know if Eddy Pineiro is the antidote to Cody Parkey.
But I really care about what Trubisky does. I care to the point I’m in need of some Mitch nourishment, even if it involves empty preseason calories. I know: completely irresponsible. But sometimes you just need to know. Ya know?