Blogging The Boys: How does the Chicago fanbase feel about Mitchell Trubisky? Is he the franchise quarterback for Chicago?
Windy City Gridiron: I don’t think anyone in their right mind could say Mitchell Trubisky is the franchise QB right now. I have a hard time seeing how he’s under center in September of 2020 given the way he has played this year. Stranger things have happened... well, actually, I’m not sure they have. I don’t know of a situation where a player regressed so drastically before our eyes in their third year. It seems as though it was all set up for him this year, but he has really struggled.
His defenders will blame Matt Nagy (more on that below) or the offensive line or the receiving corps but he’s rarely done anything to create on his own and his play has been a net negative in almost every game. You see other quarterbacks that have issues around them that they are able to overcome those issues, but it has simply collapsed for Trubisky. I really feel for the young man. He seems like a guy that really cares about football and is putting in the work. Unfortunately, the results haven’t been there.
BTB: The Bears were thought of as a playoff team this year who could contend it for it all. They’ve fallen short of expectations so far, why?
WCG: See: Trubisky, Mitchell.
Other reasons, to be fair, because it’s a group effort of suck, include the receiving corps leading the league in drops, an underperforming and injured offensive line, a play-caller that can get in his own way, and a defense that went from world-beater to merely good.
The Bears lack a true talent at Tight End. In fact, they’ll be playing a rookie undrafted FA again this week because their prized signing last year (Trey Burton) and second-rounder in 2017 (Adam Shaheen) are both on the IR. No one is shedding a tear for them as they both have been disappointments, to say the least. In fact, I have as many receiving TDs this season as those two combined. That undrafted FA, Jesper Horsted, caught one on Thanksgiving and I’ll be honest, I’m generally excited to see what he looks like the rest of the year.
The injury to Akiem Hicks really hurt this defense. They were lost in defending the run for the first few games after the injury and now lack a consistent pass rush. Teams are able to dedicate a lot of resources to blocking Khalil Mack because they simply are not afraid of any other rusher. That has really pushed down the defensive impact plays like sacks and turnovers. The Bears defense was able to win a few games on their own last year. They simply haven’t been able to do the same in 2019.
Finally, Kyle Long simply wasn’t himself and may not be able to recapture the physicality he once employed at the Guard position to the point his career may be over. His replacement has struggled mightily. Add to that a center-guard swap that didn’t work, which caused the Bears to go back to the center that can’t snap, and there have been issues up and down the line. Oh, and Right Tackle Bobbie Massie is recovering from a high ankle sprain, forcing another raw player into the lineup. The easy answer is Trubisky, because you’re not going anywhere without a good QB in this league, but there are plenty of issues.
BTB: What’s your take on coach Matt Nagy?
WCG: I like Nagy the Head Coach. I like the culture he has created in Chicago. Everyone loved Matt Nagy last year. Now that expectations in year two have not been met, it seems that a lot of fans have sharpened their pitchforks. A Head Coach, in my opinion, is a long-term investment. He’s showing some growing pains in his second season but I want to see how he handles that adversity. He doesn’t seem to have lost the locker room despite dealing with a struggling QB. I think he’s brought a lot of good in a short amount of time and I want to see what he’s able to do with this team in year 3 and beyond.
Matt Nagy the play-caller has really had a rough year. That happens (hello Sean McVay) but I want to see what he has learned from these struggles and if he can get better next year. He’s had some good moments this year and a lot of great moments last year - how does he bring that together to be consistent into the future? My personal opinion is that he’s calling a lot of good plays that are just not getting executed well. He continues to call those plays despite evidence that they’re not being run correctly. Some people say that makes him arrogant but I think he’s simply calling what should work on paper. If what should work on paper won’t work in the game because your QB isn’t executing, you can’t magically create a good play out of thin air. I think he’ll get the ship righted and he at least deserves to have a chance with a veteran in 2020.
BTB: What’s the formula for a team to beat the Bears?
WCG: Don’t be the Lions? ~shrugs~
The easiest path is to play average to good defense and shut down the Bears offense. Trubisky hasn’t been particularly turnover prone this year, but they are near the top of the league in 3 and outs and punts. Stay disciplined and win field position, it’ll eventually pay off.
The Bears defense has been good this year but they’re not the special unit they were last season. Take care of the football and capitalize on the two or three drives the Bears will give you.
BTB: How do you think the game will go on Thursday night and what’s your prediction for the score?
WCG: I think it’ll likely have its share of ugly football moments. We’ve got two 6-6 teams squaring off here so it’s not like either team can stake a claim to a clear advantage. A good Cowboys offense gets to square up against a good Bears defense. A bad Bears offense gets to face off against an average Cowboys defense. The Bears might hold the advantage in special teams, at least in the return units. The score lands somewhere in the upper teens, first one to twenty wins.
Thanks for the knowledge, Windy City Gridiron.