When the Chicago Bears traded up one spot in the 2017 NFL draft, many “experts” were laughing and dumbfounded. They couldn’t believe that General Manager Ryan Pace gave up a lot of draft capital just to select Quarterback Mitch Trubisky. The past two years have made some of those same experts stay quiet, but it’s about time to shut them up for good.
Trubisky had a great year under Head Coach Matt Nagy, throwing for over 3,200 yards, 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. His total quarterback rating for the entire year was 73.0, on a scale of 1-100, which was THIRD in the entire NFL, behind only Patrick Mahomes and Drew Brees. Despite all that there are still plenty of doubters, and they are the ones who expect Trubisky to be the reason that the Bears falter. That’s simply not going to happen, barring injury.
Now that he’s had a full year to completely learn the offense and the playbook and adhere to Nagy’s style, there’s a good chance that Trubisky is going to improve even more, possibly explode. The parts are all there, and based on reports coming from summer workouts and OTA’s, they’re beginning to show.
During the OTA workouts at the end of May, the Bears coaching staff was presenting Trubisky with complicated plays from Nagy’s playbook. Trubisky himself noted that these were plays that were left out last year, but offered “confirmations” that the offense was already improving.
“It’s evident on film. It’s kind of hard for you guys (the media) to see them on the outside throughout OTAs, but we are getting better as an offense, and we are improving on those things we need to work on from last year. It’s definitely a focus for us,” Trubisky said during the May OTAs.
If Trubisky can go from 29th in league QBR to third overall with just one summer, imagine what he can do with a full year and then some. Being realistic, Trubisky isn’t going to be the next Mahomes. He’s not going to suddenly throw for over 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns. However, he’s going to make sure that star-studded defense has enough time to rest between series and manufacture some deep drives fo his own.
So, that being said, what are some realistic expectations statistically for Trubisky? Based off of last season, it’s not that much of an exaggeration to see Trubisky challenge for 4,000 yards. He missed two games during the 2018 season, and both were against opponents that were not elite defensively, and that would have put him closer to 3,700 yards. If he should stay healthy all year, then there is no reason that Trubisky can’t challenge, or exceed, 4,000 yards. But I have him penciled in for just under, with 3,900.
The yards are nice, but what about the scoring? Trubisky threw for 24 touchdowns last season, and ran for another three. Anthony Miller, a rookie last season, caught the most amount of touchdowns out of any Bears receiver with seven, and with his growth, he could possibly hit double digits. Add in the fact that Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel also have one year of learning under Nagy, and Trubisky could easily throw for over 30 touchdowns. That’s easier said than done however. Right now, I would pencil Trubisky throwing for 28 touchdowns and rushing for another 5, for 33 total.
With growth comes mistakes, and Trubisky threw 12 mistakes last season. It’s not a gaudy number by any stretch of the imagination, but it is something to improve upon. With more accurate throws and just added experience, in reading opposing defenses, those mistakes are going to dwindle. I have Trubisky penciled in for nine interceptions.
The part of Trubisky’s game that seemed to be talked about the least was his accuracy. Trubisky completed two/thirds of his passes during the 2018 season, which is pretty good. Considering that he missed two games, that number could have been higher. But he didn’t really throw deep all that often, and settled for some short range passes under 10 yards. I have a feeling that Nagy is going to want Trubisky to throw longer passes, and that will mean a diminished completion percentage. I have Trubisky staying near the same though, with 65% of his passes completed.
Trubisky’s final stat line in 2018 was good enough for a pro bowl nod. Even though it was a great season, there was more that he could have done. The haters are not going to go away any time soon, and that’s only going to add fuel to the fire for the Bears quarterback. When everything comes together, Trubisky is going to have another pro bowl season, barring injury. Better yet, the Bears are in prime position to make the playoffs again, and provided they fix the kicking situation, they are going to make a deep run.
FINAL STAT LINE
3,900 yards, 28 touchdowns, 9 interceptions, 65% completion percentage.