Chicago Bears

Mitchell Trubisky shows he still has a lot to learn

Chicago Bears second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky showed off his athleticism in a close loss to the New England Patriots in Week 7, but it doesn’t seem like he’s earned the full trust of Matt Nagy and the Bears coaching staff.

As a rookie, Chicago Bears passer Mitchell Trubisky showed encouraging signs of being a future franchise quarterback, despite throwing as many interceptions as touchdowns and completing under 60.0% of his passes with a meager 182.8 yards per game.

Coming into Week 7, Trubisky was averaging over 250 passing yards per game with a completion percentage hovering around 70.0%. He also had a TD:INT ratio of about 3:1, and while he has been lucky with some close calls that could have been interceptions, Trubisky has shown plenty of growth as a sophomore quarterback.

Unfortunately for the Bears, Trubisky showed why there will still be growing pains in his Week 7 outing against the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick is arguably the best quarterback in the league at scheming against young quarterbacks, as he helped force Trubisky into a 52% completion percentage and multiple interceptions. Trubisky could have easily thrown more than just the two picks, but there were also reasons to be encouraged with his performance.

Firstly, Trubisky bounced back after an atrocious first half, making big plays to help the Bears keep the pace with Tom Brady and the Patriots. The Bears only lost 38-31, and a large part of their success on offense was due to Trubisky’s athleticism. The former No. 2 overall pick churned out a whopping 81 yards on six carries, including a highlight-reel touchdown run where he covered 75-ish yards of ground on an eight-yard touchdown run.

But despite all of Trubisky’s big plays in a game in which he threw for 333 yards to go with the 81 rushing yards, the Bears coaching staff still doesn’t seem to fully trust their young quarterback. For example, despite nearly completing an epic Hail Mary as time expired in the fourth quarter, the Bears didn’t trust Trubisky’s arm enough to dial up a Hail Mary in the dying embers of the second half, instead opting for a drag route to close out the second quarter.

Tight end Trey Burton and running back Tarik Cohen were the only pass-catchers on the Bears to garner more than 10 targets in a game where Trubisky attempted an alarming 50 passes. Frequent passes to running backs and tight ends, even players of Cohen’s and Burton’s caliber, are hardly indicative of trust in a young quarterback. Meanwhile, No. 1 wide receiver Allen Robinson caught just one pass for four yards on five targets.

The Bears started to play more aggressively in the second half when the game got desperate, but Trubisky was averaging just 4.8 yards per pass attempt before the Bears offense starting attacking the Patriots out of necessity. Furthermore, this less aggressive approach from Nagy in the first half didn’t exactly pan out, because Trubisky was only completing 8 of 20 passes at that point in the ballgame.

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Despite the loss, Trubisky once again showed his prodigious athletic ability and fully legitimate arm talent. Sooner or later, the Bears will have to trust Trubisky, who even found Kevin White for  a big 54-yard connection in this game. Playing simple passes to playmakers like Cohen and Burton can continue to work, but the Bears need to trust Trubisky’s arm, especially when it comes to getting more out of Robinson, who is one of the most naturally gifted receivers in the NFL.

Trubisky showed so much heart in the second half of the Bears narrow loss to the AFC’s best team, but the coaching staff will have to give more leeway to their promising, steadily-rising quarterback if they want to turn in strong performances on offense from start to finish.

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