Ever since Bears signal-caller Mitchell Trubisky was selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, there’s been no shortage of skeptics that doubt the developing quarterback’s ability to be a franchise cornerstone.
From inconsistency and poor throwing accuracy to being carried by his defense, Trubisky has heard it all. Pro Football Focus even went as far as grading him as just the 30th-best QB in the league among 33 qualifiers in 2018.
Admittedly, Trubisky struggled with mistakes early in the season, but for fans who tuned in each week, his growth throughout the season was evident.
While his 24:12 TD:INT ratio and 66.6 completion percentage weren’t exactly ideal, these numbers don’t tell the whole story, as he was one of the primary catalysts for Chicago’s 12-4 record.
Buckle your seat belts, as there are multitudes of reasons to believe Mr. Biscuit will take flight in 2019.
1. In Nagy We Trust
From the moment offensive mastermind Matt Nagy stepped foot in Halas Hall, the winning culture he brought with him to Chicago was easily apparent. Challenging his QB to be the leader of his team, Trubisky answered by improving his stats from his rookie season across the board, raising his quarterback rating (QBR) from 32.4 in 2017 to 73.0, third-best in the league behind just Drew Brees and reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes
It’s hard not to get excited about how Trubisky will fare in Year 2 of Nagy’s complex-but-effective West Coast scheme that stems from the Andy Reid coaching tree. In recent years, the two quarterbacks that have played in a similar system competed at an MVP-caliber level in their second season.
Eagles HC Doug Pederson, another former understudy of Reid, had QB Carson Wentz playing extremely well in 2017 before his infamous back injury, finishing the year with 33 TDs in just 13 games. Mahomes is the other signal-caller that falls under this category, and we’re all well aware of the havoc he wreaked on the NFL last Fall.
Nagy likes what he’s seen so far this offseason, as he made clear to the media after their first OTA practice last week that Trubisky’s progress has been encouraging.
“Last year, I kept talking about ‘101.’ Now, without a doubt, I can say with pure conviction we’re in 202 right now,” said Nagy. “ I mean, he’s doing things in the last two days that last year at this time he wasn’t even close to. So that’s exciting.”
2. Familiarity Among Teammates
It wasn’t just Trubisky that had to take on a steep learning curve while adopting Nagy’s offense. This was especially the case for newcomers like Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel, who had little familiarity with their QB entering 2018.
Now with an entire offseason under their belts in the Windy City, these pass catchers will have had ample opportunity to build chemistry and really digest Nagy’s playbook.
More importantly, Trubisky’s connection with his number one target, Robinson, should be on an entirely different level in 2019, as the two teamed up for their March workouts in California. This was something they were unable to do last year as Robinson rehabbed a torn ACL.
Robinson publicly stated earlier this month that he feels their offense is already “years ahead” of where they were at this point last season.
Bears WR Allen Robinson, who worked out with Mitchell Trubisky in March in Huntington Beach, California, says he feels like the offense is already "years ahead" of where they were last year.
— Mark Grote (@markgrotesports) May 19, 2019
By the end of last year, the two were really beginning to click. In the Bears’ Wild Card loss to the Eagles, Robinson managed 10 receptions for 143 yards and a TD. This, alone, should have fans eager to see what this duo, along with the rest of the offense, can do in 2019.
3. Trubisky’s Underrated Traits
While Trubisky’s passing numbers undoubtedly have room for improvement, these stats have seemingly undermined his actual on-field impact.
Perhaps the most underrated aspect of his game is his legs. Trubisky’s mobility at his position ranks amongst the best in football, as his 421 rushing yards placed fifth behind known scramblers like Cam Newton (488 yards) and DeShaun Watson (551 yards). Trubisky has a great feel for pressure and knows when to escape the pocket to keep plays alive. He’s showed this time and time again.
While Trubisky’s prowess as a runner holds defenses accountable, his anticipatory accuracy, especially in the red zone, is another part of his game that doesn’t receive the love it deserves. When provided with a clean pocket, he’s proven capable of quickly releasing the ball to make throws through tight windows.
In fact, Windy City Gridiron writer Robert Schmitz pointed out that when Trubisky made his throws in under three seconds, he posted a shining passer rating of 111.58 compared to just a 58.23 passer rating when holding the ball more than three seconds.
Could it be his nerves that dismantled his accuracy on these kinds of plays?
Possibly, but this is something we see with many inexperienced passers. This is one area he can only improve on.
Along with this came his ability to elevate his play when it mattered most. In Weeks 14-17, Trubisky showed he could get it done on third down, where he mustered a 52.63 conversion percentage, ranking near the top of the league during that span.
Pair these traits with his emerging confidence and leadership qualities, and you’ve got a star quarterback in the making. If the progressions in Trubisky’s game listed above are any indication, he’ll have far fewer doubters when May rolls around next year.