Mitch Trubisky has Bears stuck in neutral

The middling quarterback is not good enough to win big with or bad enough to force them into a total rebuild.

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Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) looks to pass the ball against the Packers.

Kamil Krzaczynski/AP Photo

The worst thing an NFL franchise can do is link up with a kind-of-good quarterback.

We’re not talking about a great quarterback or a terrible one. This is about a middling, sort-of-OK, teasing, not-quite-bad, sometimes-up-sometimes-down offensive leader whose talent meter averages about a six on a scale of 10.

The reason this is disastrous is that the pro game is all about the quarterback. And if yours isn’t great but isn’t horrendous enough to force you to dump him right away and get a new one, well, you are lost.

You’ll never challenge for the crown.

You’ll never beat the great teams.

And — big point here — if you’re a coach (or sometimes a general manager, though the Bears’ Ryan Pace seems bulletproof), bye-bye.

You really think there’s job security in hooking your wagon to, say, the future of NFL quarterbacks Drew Lock or Kirk Cousins or — let’s be done with it — Mitch Trubisky?

What ‘‘great’’ coach didn’t have a great quarterback pulling the sled for him?

Vince Lombardi had Bart Starr.

Tom Landry had Roger Staubach.

Don Shula had Dan Marino.

Bill Walsh had Joe Montana and Steve Young.

Tony Dungy had Peyton Manning.

Andy Reid had Donovan McNabb and now Patrick Mahomes.

Mike Tomlin has Ben Roethlisberger.

Oh, and how’s Bill Belichick doing without Tom Brady?

The Bears are in their fourth year with Trubisky, whom they picked No. 2 overall in the 2017 draft. He is a classic tease who sometimes plays like an eight out of 10 and sometimes like a two. This is slow, painful disaster.

Bears coach Matt Nagy’s future depends on Trubisky’s success. Or, at least, it should. You never know with the Bears.

‘‘I haven’t gotten into any discussions with that,’’ Nagy said Monday of his tenure with the Bears. ‘‘We were trying like heck to do everything we could to have a chance to get into the dance in the playoffs. And our players and our coaches did that, any way you look at it.’’

Yep, the Bears got into the playoffs. With an 8-8 record. While losing their last game to the Packers 35-16.

And their reward is a trip to New Orleans to play a 12-4 Saints team that won its last two games by a combined score of 85-40. A Saints team with Hall of Famer-to-be Drew Brees at the helm.

Is Saints coach Sean Payton a great coach? Well, he has been with them for 14 years, has a 143-81 record, has won seven division titles and a Super Bowl and ranks 23rd in NFL coaching victories.

And guess what? He has had Brees — now in his 15th season with the Saints — every step of the way.

So the Bears go from Aaron Rodgers to Brees in back-to-back weeks, from future Hall of Famer to future Hall of Famer.

Second-year Packers coach Matt LaFleur has a 26-6 regular-season record with two NFC North titles. That’s astounding.

Is LaFleur a genius? Maybe. How would he do without Rodgers? Ha!

But that’s how the NFL rolls. Everything is weighted toward the quarterback.

Special rules protect him (no low blows, he can slide on runs and so on). Offensive linemen almost can tackle defenders to protect him. Passing rules (no touching receivers after five yards, tree-frog-sticky gloves, etc.) glorify him.

So when you miss on a quarterback in the draft or in a trade or in free agency, you haven’t shot yourself in the foot; you’ve shot yourself in the gut. You bleed painfully — forever.

Trubisky never will be that great quarterback. In four years, he has proved it.

There was a point in the loss Sunday to the Packers, with the Bears behind 28-16 and needing to rally quickly, when you knew he would do something that demonstrated his lack of brilliance. You felt it.

It came soon enough — on a downfield throw into double coverage for a rally-killing interception.

The Bears have made Trubisky’s offensive playbook as simple as they can to emphasize his strengths (good athlete, good rollout speed, decent accuracy on close targets) and to de-emphasize his flaws (bad field vision, slow decision-making, inaccurate on deep throws).

This is good policy for simply cruising along. But at some point in most games, a team has to catch fire, fight back, make huge plays, do the daring deeds that lead to great victories.

The Bears can’t do this.

They’re stuck in quarterback purgatory.


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