The topic for this week across SB Nation dives into the question: which player can your team least afford to lose? Now, this question could be taken in many different ways. If we’re talking about which impending free agents they can’t let leave the team, then the answer for the Chicago Bears is likely Kyle Fuller.
Although he isn’t the most consistent cornerback in the league by any means, he is head and shoulders the best outside corner the team has. Heading into the start of the regular season, many doubted whether or not Fuller would even make the 53-man roster. Since then, he has proven doubters wrong en route to a career year.
However, if we’re wondering which player in general the Bears can’t lose, then there’s one answer that stands out about the rest.
Ever since the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft came to a close, it has been obvious that the Bears plan on making quarterback Mitchell Trubisky the face of the franchise. After decades of uninspired play at the quarterback position, Trubisky represents a beacon of hope that the city of Chicago hasn’t seen in a long time. He is expected to be with the team for the long run and turn around a franchise that hasn’t won more than eight games in a single season since 2012.
Without a young, franchise quarterback in the making on their roster, then the Chicago Bears don’t have nearly as much to be optimistic about. Even worse, they would lack the centerpiece of their blueprint to exit the cellar of the NFC North.
As much as Trubisky means to the Bears in the long run, he is also a very important player on the 2017 roster. He is far and away the most talented quarterback the team has. In the nine games he has played in thus far, he has displayed top-notch athleticism, the ability to improvise on broken plays, a strong arm and the ability to read the field well.
Sure, he hasn’t exactly been lighting up stat sheets since he first debuted back in Week 5 against the Minnesota Vikings. He’s far from a finished product - his inconsistent footwork has affected the timing and accuracy of some of his throws - but that’s to be expected from a rookie. With a full offseason to hone his craft and immerse himself into the team’s playbook, we may see those errors start to fade away.
Plus, a lot of his statistically-mediocre rookie year is due to poor coaching and surrounding talent on offense. The coaching staff’s inability to use Trubisky to the best of his abilities appears to have prevented him from truly breaking out right away. It’s tough to look like a star when your best receivers are Dontrelle Inman and Kendall Wright, too.
We’ve seen the development of both Carson Wentz and Jared Goff aided by surrounding them with a smart coaching staff and talented receivers to throw to in their second year. If the Bears do the same this offseason, then they could see somewhat similar results with their young signal-caller.
The Bears have done a good job of adding young players to a roster that previously had very little in the way of future building blocks. Players like Jordan Howard, Leonard Floyd and Akiem Hicks have all proven to be very important to the team. However, none are more valuable than the rookie, Mitchell Trubisky.