In 2017, the Chicago Bears didn’t turn to rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky until their fifth game. “Bridge” quarterback Mike Glennon sort of forced their hand, because the plan to let the rookie sit and learn was only going to work if Glennon was passable. He wasn’t. Five fumbles and five interceptions in four games meant Bears’ fans would get an earlier look at the Future.
There was a small problem though, because once they made the decision to go to Trubisky, they slapped the handcuffs on him. Both in the play calling and in the gameplans, it was obvious they were being really, really, extra super cautious with what they wanted Trubisky to do.
Defenses were able to attack him on the multitude of third and longs he was faced with. The run, run, pass scheme became a running joke among everyone that followed the Bears.
From a purely statistical standpoint, Trubisky’s 77.5 passer rating placed him 28th in the NFL, and his completion percentage was ranked 27th (59.4).
But what if someone stepped back and took a look at his performance as a part of the big picture? Where would he rank then?
Cain Fahey of presnapreads.com, and a former ESPN and Football Outsiders writer, has been known to get a little controversial at times, but he does provide an interesting and un-biased look at the 2017 quarterbacks in his recent article. He ranked all QBs that had more than 200 passing attempts, and he also grouped his rankings into tiers. Chicago’s Trubisky was in Tier 3, but he was Fahey’s 14th ranked passer.
Here’s what he had to say about Trubisky’s rookie season.
Did you know? Mitchell Trubisky threw 39 seam passes in 2017 and was accurate on 28 of them. Only Aaron Rodgers was more accurate on seam throws than he was.
The big concern on Trubisky at this point is his ability to process coverages and blitzes. He ranked 24th in avoidable sack percentage as a rookie. But even that’s not a major concern because he came out of college as a raw rookie. His overall performance in 2017 was really impressive. The only thing he was lacking was a decent wide receiver.
Enter Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, a returning Cameron Meredith (if healthy) and tight end Trey Burton, and this problem seems solved.
Trubisky was phenomenally accurate and he spent most of his season throwing receivers open at every level of the field. His receivers had a high failed reception rate but more importantly than that they really struggled to get open. Whenever they were pressed aggressively at the line, Trubisky was going to have to either make a perfect throw or extend the play outside of structure.
His combination of creating big plays while being efficient with his accuracy and decision making to work the underneath levels of the coverage made for a hugely promising rookie season. If he had a healthy Allen Robinson last year, his numbers would have been as impressive as his performances were.
Most experts believe that Trubisky is set to take a big step in play in 2018. The talent is better around him, as are his coaches. The Bears are still in a tough division, but if they get a few breaks they could be in contention for a playoff spot down the stretch.
Based on 2017, Trubisky was Fahey’s second best QB in the NFC North, beating out Detroit’s Matthew Stafford who was 15th (that’s sure to piss off some Lions’ fans), and Minnesota’s Case Keenum who checked in at 19th and in Tier 4.
When looking ahead to 2018, the Vikings’ new quarterback, Kirk Cousins, was also in Tier 4 at 17th overall.
Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers was the top NFC North QB according to Fahey, who placed him in Tier 1 and at 4th overall.
Give his methodology a peek and let us know what you think.