A new head coach, a new offensive coaching staff, three new wide outs, and a new tight end are the big off-season changes for the Chicago Bears on offense. But their 2018 season will be defined by how quarterback Mitchell Trubisky grows in his second year.
Head coach Matt Nagy has been paired up with Trubisky, and the hope is they can capture some of the magic that happened in Philadelphia and Los Angeles with their coach and quarterback combos. The Eagles paired up Andy Reid disciple, Doug Pederson, with rookie quarterback Carson Wentz in 2016, and by 2017’s end Wentz was in the MVP discussion before an injury ended his campaign. In 2017, the Rams hired Sean McVay as head coach to work with second year pro Jared Goff, and the Rams improved their win total by seven games and Goff’s passer rating hit triple digits.
I think it’s a safe to assume that Trubisky will improve on his 77.5 passer rating in Nagy’s offensive system, but how much?
This is our final topic of discussion with Football Outsiders’ Assistant Editor Scott Kacsmar, and here’s the specific question I posed to him.
Windy City Gridiron - Many are hoping quarterback Mitchell Trubisky can have a Wentz-like or Goff-like jump in play this year. Do you see that as a realistic scenario?
FO - Second-year improvements on the level of Wentz or Goff are very rare. I think Marcus Mariota’s 2016 season in Tennessee is a better comparison as something that is both optimistic and realistic for Trubisky. One of the main things we researched for the Chicago chapter was the idea of adding an offensive-minded coach to a young quarterback like Trubisky. There weren’t many cases of that at all, and of the ones we did find, they weren’t very optimistic about this pairing working out. Think about Matt Leinart getting Ken Whisenhunt as his head coach in Arizona, who promptly benched him for Kurt Warner. The gold standard was Mike Holmgren and Brett Favre in Green Bay, but even that happened as a result of a trade and an injury that got Favre into the lineup.
Our line on Chicago has been to look for 2019 for bigger things to happen. This is more of a feeling things out to get better year. Not only with Trubisky and Nagy, but the players they brought in aren’t used to huge roles either. We already discussed Gabriel, but Allen Robinson is coming off an injury and hasn’t been great since 2015. Trey Burton has never been a No. 1 tight end. Anthony Miller is just a second-round rookie receiver. This offense is very much a work in progress, but at least there looks to be progress unlike under the Fox regime.
In case you missed the previous four topics we hit on with Scott, you can check them all out right here.
- What are some Andy Reid tendencies that we might see Matt Nagy bring with him to Chicago?
- Cody Withehair had a rough year in 2017 after playing superbly as a rookie, do you expect him to bounce back at center this season?
- Nose tackle Eddie Goldman anchors the middle of the Bears’ D, but is often underappreciated due to the nature of his position. How important is he to their success in 2018?
- What can we expect from Taylor Gabriel?
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