It was the most exciting play of Sunday’s Chicago Bears’ game against the Tennessee Titans, and it featured Chicago’s top draft pick, and an undrafted rookie. Second overall pick Mitchell Trubisky and UDFA Tanner Gentry seem to have developed a bit of chemistry with each other since becoming Bears. We’ve seen it in during training camp, and now we’ve seen it in a preseason game.
Will we get to see it for real in 2017?
The Bears have given Trubisky three very different game plans in the three preseason games so far. In the first week we saw a lot of bootlegs and roll outs, which cut the field in half for the rookie. The Bears gave him a high/low read on most plays, and he executed better than anyone predicted he would.
The second game, Trubisky entered with about two minutes left in the third quarter, and in my opinion, he had a conservative, protect-the-lead game plan. The Bears were up three, and Trubisky was handing off way more than us fans wanted to see.
While his play wasn’t as flashy, he ended up an efficient 6 of 8 passing with a touchdown pass.
Last Sunday, it was apparent to me that the coaching staff wanted to see Trubisky operate from the pocket. The play calls kept him behind his line, and while he had a few hiccups, we got to see his growth as a player. We saw him scan the field, work through his progressions, and subtly maneuver around in the pocket.
We also saw him drop a beauty of a 45 yard touchdown pass to Tanner Gentry.
It was a 2nd and 14 from the 45 yard line, and the Bears started the play in an offset I-Formation to the left, tight end (Y) Adam Shaheen to the right, Gentry, who was playing the Z, was also on the right, with Titus Davis lined up as the X on the left side.
The Titans were showing man coverage, with a single high safety, as Gentry came in motion from right to left across the formation. Rookie cornerback Jeremy Boykins was matched up one on one with Gentry, and the Bears wide out ran right past him.
The Bears sent X wide out Davis towards the middle of the field to occupy the attention of the safety, but Gentry had enough separation, and the ball was perfectly placed, I’m not sure it would have even mattered.
By sending Gentry in motion, he already had some momentum built up, and Boykins waited too long before flipping his hips and running with him. Trubisky executed a nice fake to his running back, then immediately looked to his left for Gentry.
The Bears offensive line all sold the play action as well, by firing out to the left and staying low out of their stances. Four of the Bears’ linemen immediately locked on to a defender, and the uncovered lineman, right guard Cyril Richardson, stepped left, checked his inside gap, then gave a little pop to the Titan defender (#76) to help his right tackle, Bradley Sowell.
Trubiksy had a nice clean pocket after the play fake, he stepped up, set his feet and fired away. The only Titan player that got anywhere near him was outside linebacker Kevin Dodd (#93), who rushed off the Bears’ right side. But look at who was able to have good position, and move his feet to stay with Dodd, who was a 2nd round pick in 2016 out of Clemson. Chicago rookie tight end Adam Shaheen does a good job of keeping Dodd moving past his quarterback.
With Trubisky playing in the preseason finale, the Bears will have a fourth game plan to evaluate him with, and that’s the one as a starting NFL quarterback.