For most fan bases, NFL football is that of a continuous frustrating loop of failure.
It is perhaps the one major sport where you can indeed count more than half of the league following as suffering. For every fan base that thinks it has it bad, there's still another football city in a similar loop. Think about it. Aside from the Bears, you can historically and reasonably also include the Lions, Vikings, Cardinals, Falcons, Panthers, Eagles, Chargers, and more among the snakebitten. Parity certainly exists, but only in small spurts, such as the year to year shuffle in playoff spots. Most of the time, the cream of the crop rises by the end of January's postseason i.e. the franchises with the most quarterback stability like the Patriots, Steelers, and Packers.
So when an organization reboots with a new quarterback, the primary reason for most of this consistent incompetence and failure - particularly as the normally inept Bears have "enjoyed" - hope is at least temporarily restored.
The Bears are currently in an interesting spot because of what they could have in Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback. Interest and faith in the organization should be at its estimated highest in six years simply because of the prospect of what Trubisky could offer. That's how this equation works. A light equals potential that this man is finally the man to make Chicago football fully relevant.
From the opposite cynical perspective, all of this somewhat restored goodwill is lost if the Bears demonstrate they can't develop Trubisky. That they have no idea what they're doing with him. That they're taking him along the improper path and ruining an opportunity to become a real contender before they're even starting. As Trubisky currently sits with the 34th highest passer rating in the NFL at 66.2 in a beyond limited offense, the question must be asked of whether these Bears can be trusted not to waste their new lifeblood.
More than anything, Trubisky's future and growth will define the Bears' ultimate destination in the coming years. After taking a look at where the Bears stand after eight games, this second part of an evaluative discussion by the WCG staff centers around the most integral piece of Chicago's future.
2. Are the Bears doing a disservice to Mitch Trubisky's development thus far? How pleased are you with his and their progress here?
From a pure statistical perspective, regardless of the concrete reasons why, Trubisky is currently one of the very worst quarterbacks in the NFL. As mentioned, he has a 66.2 passer rating (Mike Glennon had 76.9 in his four starts). He's averaging a minute 128 passing yards a game. And, he's completing just 47.5 percent of his passes. A rookie quarterback that isn't exactly lighting the league on fire. Far from it, in fact.
The Bears are clearly doing Trubisky no favors, which we'll get to, however, in a point of view seemingly no one wants to touch on, I would be remiss to completely absolve him of fault. He's still missing throws and open receivers more often than you'd like. He's not going through his full progressions. And his mechanics go a bit out of whack when under pressure.
Yes, Trubisky is the Bears' "Golden Boy." But he's still really raw.
Even if the Bears had a better plan and weapons for the rookie, I'm of the opinion Trubisky's performance still wouldn't be that of a savior that turns the Bears into a playoff team this year. He leaves too many plays on the field regardless of the marginal game plan and talent around him. When he makes a mistake, it is not purely the fault of John Fox, Dowell Loggains and company. It is a raw, inexperienced player looking exactly like the raw, inexperienced player he is.
With all of that in mind, these current Bears are still doing everything possible to put their green quarterback in a position to fail. In limiting Trubisky's passing attempts from game to game which makes him afraid to make mistakes - a big no-no in retrospect - and putting almost all of the onus on the 23-year-old to save the offense from predictable play calling, they're putting an unnecessary crutch on a young player with dynamic playmaking ability.
The Bears' ceiling with a great running game and elite defense will be the same ceiling they've had through almost of their history in the modern game - ultimately falling short to a superior, more balanced team when push comes to shove.
Trubisky needs to be trusted with the ball in his hands. Chicago's offense itself needs to be opened up, even at a small degree. If the Bears can "learn to win" and attain seven to eight wins out of the 2017 season, nothing still matters more than how Trubisky progresses through the rest of the year. The staff has forgotten that, and as the Bears defense has begun to turn it on of late, seemingly half of the city has as well.
If Trubisky is indeed the player Ryan Pace believes that he drafted, the Bears' best window for a championship will be the next four years - when he is at his cheapest before a payday. After the rookie receives his second contract, it will be that much more difficult to win as a team to be taken seriously. The good old salary cap at work.
So, the clock is already ticking. Given the rise of second-year quarterbacks such as the Rams' Jared Goff and Eagles' Carson Wentz turning their respective teams into playoff contenders, there is no excuse for Trubisky not to be at minimum, at the relative same level of play in 2018. He's the player that will differentiate the currently unbalanced same old Bears. No one else possesses that power.
Conservative quarterback play does not win titles, which the Bears must be in position to do so starting next year. Stop playing "Fox-ball." Give Trubisky the keys to this car. Let him make mistakes. And let him flourish just the same. Let him play football.
Lester Wiltfong Jr.
I'm fine with how they are bringing him along in his first four games. But with that said, if they continue to limit Trubisky's chances as the season progresses, then that's poor coaching.
Disservice? Totally impossible for me to judge, since I am not in the building. Trubisky certainly doesn't have good tools to work with on the field.
Trubisky, for the most part, has done well in the limited opportunities he has had to showcase his skills. While the Bears seemingly haven't shown a whole lot of confidence in him, I don't expect him to take on a workload befitting of a typical NFL quarterback. After all, he's a rookie throwing to one of, if not the worst, wide receiver groups in the league. His performance against the Saints was a step in the right direction. Chicago ran a predominantly run-first offense throughout the first three quarters, but he was given more opportunities to throw the ball than he has in most of his outings this year. That's what they have to do with him this season.
If the Bears are not harming Trubisky's development, then they are certainly not in any danger of maximizing it. He is learning to be an incomplete, risk-averse quarterback who is afraid to win. That is not a leader for a franchise. The fault is with a conservative head coach, an incomplete offensive coordinator, and a general manager who failed to take stock of the previous two.
His development has been ... okay. I see two main problems. The first is that Loggains himself is still developing too. The second is personnel. Obviously the wide receivers are an issue, but so is the offensive line. Whitehair might have DMS, while injuries to Kyle Long, Josh Sitton, and now also Whitehair have prevented the line from truly gaining cohesion in front of Trubisky. We ended the Saints game with Sitton at center flanked by Tom Compton and Bradley Sowell at guard. It's no wonder Trubisky was rushed from the pocket throughout.
Absolutely. I think that if the game plan was to hand the ball off and then get your quarterback killed by only throwing in obvious passing situations, then Mark Sanchez should be playing. I think to this point, the coaching staff has failed this team as it pertains to bringing along Trubisky.
I think a little bit. Asking Trubisky to make seven throws a game isn't going to give a definitive answer of how good he can be and it can't make him feel like his coaches believe in him. I am pleased that they have put him in a position to build some confidence and win games, but it's time to start taking the training wheels off. He should be able to handle more now that he is four starts in against some decent defenses.
A week ago, I would have answered unequivocally, yes. Now, I feel a little more ambivalent. Limiting his pass attempts isn't helping his development, and giving him simplified one-look reads probably isn't helping him either. But the play calling did open up against the Saints, and eight more games like that will give Trubisky plenty to learn from. There were several times in that game where he threw the ball without properly setting his feet and his accuracy suffered. Too much of that and he can develop bad habits. The right amount and he can look at the tape and see what he's doing while learning invaluable lessons that he may never get in the lower pressure environment of practice.
Ultimately, I don't think this is the best coaching staff to develop a franchise quarterback, but I do think there's great value in the opportunities he's getting.
WCG Contributors: Jeff Berckes; Patti Curl; Kev H; Sam Householder; Jacob Infante;Andrew Link; Ken Mitchell; Steven Schweickert; Jack Silverstein; EJ Snyder; Lester Wiltfong, Jr.; Robert Zeglinski; Like us on Facebook.