Don’t bury Bears QB Mitch Trubisky just yet. Give him a month.
It’d be easy to give up on Trubisky after a brutal season opener, but hold off on declaring him a total loss for the season. See where he stands come October.
Young quarterbacks require patience, but it can’t be indefinite. There must be a point at which they’re accountable, and Mitch Trubisky is nearly there.
Give him a month.
It’s tough to ask Bears fans to hold off after Trubisky’s troubles in the season-opening loss to the Packers, but wait and see how the next three games go.
Trubisky ought to think that way, too, after a sullen postgame news conference in the wake of going 26-for-45 for 228 yards with an interception for a 62.1 passer rating in the 10-3 defeat.
“He’ll be fine,” coach Matt Nagy said Friday. “It’s a very meaningful game. But at the same time, we have to make sure that we understand that it is Week 1.
“We will look at this game, go through the parts of how he can get better and how we can get better everywhere on offense, because we need to be better on offense.”
Nagy tried to shield Trubisky from the heat by repeatedly casting the loss as a collective shortfall, but nobody is going along with that. Trubisky’s timing and accuracy were problematic, and it’s a wonder the Packers only picked him off once. The performance undercut all the times Nagy insisted everything would be fine and that Trubisky was doubtlessly building toward a big year. The drop-off between what Nagy sold and what Trubisky delivered Thursday was immense.
Pressed on it, Nagy again returned to the overall failure of the group.
“This is a team sport,” he said. “It’s not golf. It’s not wrestling. This is a team sport. It takes 11 players on that field to go out there and play well. If we all go out there and watch [the film], we could sit down and go through every play and see that it is 11-man football.”
That’s a fine lecture and all, but one of those 11 players matters more than the others. The Bears traded up to take Trubisky second overall in the 2017 draft, and he has everything he needs. It’s his second season with Nagy, the Bears have solidified what they believe is one of the NFL’s top offensive lines, and no quarterback could complain about this crew of skill players.
The excuses have dried up. Trubisky is either the answer or he’s not, and there should be clarity soon.
The Bears are on the road against the Broncos next weekend, then visit the Redskins and close the month at home against the Vikings. That stretch will be telling, and it’s a logical point at which to gauge Trubisky’s progress.
If he’s still this bad, the season is shot.
The Bears might still manage a wild-card spot if Trubisky pulls it together enough to be league-average, but that’s their ceiling in that situation. He has to give them much more to make them a legitimate title contender.
As overpowering as the Bears’ defense is, teams that function on only one side of the ball rarely do anything meaningful. In fact, seven teams in the last three seasons missed the playoffs despite having a top-five defense.
Regardless of where Trubisky stands by October, the Bears are tied to him this season and probably next. The summer in between is when they’ll decide if he’s worth a nine-figure contract extension.
Nagy covers for him now, but his loyalty is to winning. He didn’t draft Trubisky and won’t want to anchor his own job to a quarterback who’s going nowhere.
If it keeps going like it did Thursday, explaining away Trubisky’s lapses isn’t going to play well in the locker room, either. If you’re exasperated, imagine how those at Halas Hall with careers and millions of dollars at stake must feel. There’s a fine line between rushing to judgment on a guy and waiting too long for something that just isn’t going to happen.
Trubisky should get the first quarter of the season to find his game, but the leniency stops there.