Mitch Trubisky’s viability as a franchise quarterback for the Bears has become a major topic of discussion, but you can’t knock his determination.
Regardless of how bad things get — hideously bad, in the case of the first two games — he keeps a brave face.
And, as he showed last week and a few other times in his young career, he doesn’t let a slow start demoralize him.
He proved it anew when he stepped up late against the Broncos and made a terrific pass to Allen Robinson to set up the game-winning field goal — not only an important gain, but a truly impressive play. He shook everything that went wrong that afternoon and came through with a brilliant throw.
“He’s bringing everybody along with him,” running back Tarik Cohen said. “He stays up, keeps the offense positive. Him never giving up, that’s the main thing I see.”
On Thursday, Trubisky was in the all-too-familiar position of facing the media after another underwhelming performance but stayed unflinchingly positive amid questions about an offense that has been one of the NFL’s worst.
Coach Matt Nagy loves to remind reporters that the shortcomings shouldn’t be pinned solely on Trubisky, but no one has more influence on how the offense fares.
And of the 33 quarterbacks with enough attempts to qualify, Trubisky ranks 27th in completion percentage (58.3), 32nd in passer rating (65.0) and 32nd in yards per attempt (4.8). Eli Manning got benched with better numbers.
There’s no certainty that the Bears will get this rolling, but there’s optimism going into the game against the Redskins on Monday night. And Trubisky is Mr. Bright Side despite his struggles.
“You just gotta believe this week is gonna be the week,” he said. “There’s definitely some things that we are missing on film, but we’re coming together, and we’re correcting them.
“The most important thing to me is that my guys still believe in me. . . . We’re sticking together, and we’re gonna do what we gotta do to correct it, and we gotta believe that this offense could explode at any minute because of the playmakers and the special guys we have in the locker room. We just gotta keep believing in that.”
It’s good timing for that type of optimism because the Redskins are terrible defensively. If that sounds like hyperbole, it’s not. Facts only.
They’re bad at all the things that matter on defense. They can’t stop the run or the pass. They gave up more points than anybody but the Dolphins the first two weeks. They allowed the fifth-highest opponent passer rating. Any video footage of them getting a stop on third down would be a collector’s item.
So maybe Monday can be this year’s Tampa Bay game for Trubisky.
Remember that one? After three lackluster games, he went berserk on the lowly Buccaneers for six touchdown passes (a quarter of his season total) in a 48-10 romp at Soldier Field.
If Trubisky enjoys one of those breakout games against the Redskins, the conversation in Chicago will swing wildly. It’ll be back to lofty thoughts of Trubisky being “back” — back to what, exactly? — and renewed hopes that he can be the Bears’ long-term answer.
But, more important, it could be the spark the Bears need to simply get through the month. The defense was exceptional the first two games and could use the boost of not feeling like it has to be perfect to give the team a chance. A big number Monday would be a reminder for the offense that it’s not as incompetent as it has appeared.
“We all feel like we’re capable of putting 30 points up,” Cohen said. “When you get them going, you don’t want to go back to a three-point scoring offense. Once you start putting points on the board, it’s like, all right, we’re here now. Let’s not regress.”