As Mitchell Trubisky enters his third year in the league, second under head coach Matt Nagy, he should be eager to prove to his critics that he is ready to be a franchise quarterback.
Mitchell Trubisky was the #2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft, picked ahead of other notable quarterbacks like Deshaun Watson and NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes. After a lackluster rookie year, in which Trubisky racked up 2,193 passing yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions in 12 games, the front office made it clear they believed in the young signal-caller by bringing in an offensive mind like Matt Nagy from Kansas City to help aide in his development.
In that same off-season, the Chicago Bears also brought in playmakers like Allen Robinson and Trey Burton. Considering the Bears also had the top-ranked defense in the NFL, fielding three All-Pro’s lead by NFL Top 100’s #3 overall player in Khalil Mack, it's obvious the young quarterback was set up to succeed right away.
The Bears third-year quarterback showed signs of improvement early on in 2018 as evident in the September 30th matchup vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he threw for 354 yards and a career-high six touchdowns.
However, there may have been games where the Bears won with Trubisky struggling thanks to the defense and special teams.
The Bears quarterback finished the 2018 regular season with 3,223 yards to go along with 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 14 games. He was also third in total QBR (total quarterback ranking) trailing only Drew Brees and Patrick Mahomes.
None of his performances, however, were as sweet as his December 16th Week 15 outing. Trubisky racked up 235 passing yards and threw two touchdowns in a victory over division rival Green Bay Packers. That victory not only officially eliminated the Packers from playoff contention but also sealed the Bears first NFC North title since 2010.
One year after predicting Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes would be the breakout player in 2018, the same NFL scouts are now predicting Mitchell Trubisky will break out in 2019. We all know that turned out. Mahomes flourished in his second year working in Andy Reid’s West Coast offense, the same offense that Matt Nagy runs in Chicago. Trubisky, not coincidentally, was the most popular bet to win the NFL MVP next year at Caesars Palace topping Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield, New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley, Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott and Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr.
Scouts point towards Nagy, his coaching, and his scheme as reasons why Trubisky is going to break out this season.
Backup quarterback Chase Daniel has certainly noticed a change in Trubisky during training camp this year. He said “Night and day, he’s not learning the offense, he’s running the offense.” when asked about the difference in Mitch Trubisky this year. It looks like Trubisky himself is pretty confident with his familiarity in Nagy’s system as well.
“Just being in the offense for a whole year already I know what he expects out of each play and what we’re kind of thinking mindset-wise. So it’s just going through that, continuing to work on the details, going through all the adjustments of each play and kind of just being an extension of him and doing exactly what he wants within each play.” - Mitchell Trubisky on his familiarity with Head Coach Matt Nagy’s system via the chicagobears.com.
The changes on the offense coming into the 2019 season could be the most important aspect that will allow Trubisky and the Bears to build upon last season's success. The Bears cut ties with former Pro Bowl running back Jordan Howard, who was viewed as a non-fit in Coach Nagy's system, by trading him to the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this off-season. The team shouldn't miss Howard too much, as general manager Ryan Pace did not waste any time replacing their former lead back.
It's looking like the Bears will transition to more of a "running back by committee" approach as Tarik Cohen, free-agent signee Mike Davis and third-round draft pick David Montgomery will all split time in the backfield. Wide receiver Cordarelle Patterson, coming over from the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, adds another dimension to a now suddenly very deep running back corps.
The running back group wasn't the only area that was strengthened this off-season. The Bears drafted Riley Ridley, younger brother of Atlanta Falcons' wideout Calvin Ridley, in the fourth round. Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Taylor Gabriel, their electric Swiss army knife Patterson and the emerging Javon Wims make up the rest of the receiving corps. The Bears typically keep six receivers on their roster, so the competition will be fierce to keep a roster spot which will only make these guys better.
Lost in the commotion that was the wildcard round matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles, was the play of Trubisky that night. The young signal-caller threw an impressive 303 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions against one of the better defenses in the league especially considering the weather conditions that night. Cody Parkey and his missed 43-yard field goal is what most will remember, but for those watching closely, it was the beginning of Trubisky's ascension to a true franchise quarterback.
As summer heads into its final stretch and football season draws closer, Super Bowl dreams reside here in Chicago. Khalil Mack and the vaunted defense may dominate once again, but if the Chicago Bears are to capture another division title, Mitchell Trubisky will be the one leading them there.
Trubisky's breakout season is here folks, and his mission is to lead the Bears' to their first Super Bowl win in 35 years.