This is going to feel a little like a hot take to some of you Chicago Bears’ fans, especially with the way we’ve watched and listened to some of the national media rip apart the 2019 season of Mitchell Trubsky, but right now, we at WCG view Trubisky as an average quarterback.
At a soon to be 25-years old, with only two years experience in the NFL, he’s no where near a completed project, so calling him average for now isn’t a knock, it’s simply the way it is. Sure he made the Pro Bowl as an alternate, but that has as much to do with the Bears going 12-4 and him having solid rushing numbers, than it does with his 95.4 passer rating. That rating by the way, landed him as the 16th rated passer for the 2018 season. In fact, most of his numbers landed in that middle third of QBs a year ago.
I know it seems like several of us are always jumping in our comment threads or getting on Twitter to “defend” his play, but that’s more to set those straight that call him bad. Mitch isn’t a bad football player. He’s a young ascending talent that very well could be on his way to becoming consistently good, but for now he’s average.
And that’s a perfectly fine place to be after only 26 career games as a pro.
The Patrick Mahomes comparison is never going to go away and that’s unfortunate, because they aren’t competing against each other. They were in the same draft class and Trubisky went eight spots ahead of Mahomes, but Mahomes did something historical in 2018 that no one could have foreseen. In his second year of his offense, in just his first year starting, Mahomes threw for the 8th most yards in a single season, had the 8th best passer rating of all-time, and passed for the 2nd most touchdowns ever. Mahomes may never be able to reach those lofty milestones again, so to expect Trubisky to do that isn’t realistic.
Mitch can be a successful QB while never hitting five thousand yards or fifty TDs in a single season, but some will always criticize him for failing to live up to the 2018 Mahomes standard.
Last October, after Trubisky made his 16th NFL start, I looked at his numbers when compared to other quarterbacks after a season’s worth of starts and nothing stood out in an alarming way. Stats-wise, he was ahead of some and behind others, but my assessment back then was that’s it’s too early to tell what kind of QB he’d be.
I’ve seen traits in his play that make me lean to believing he’ll an above average player, but he needs to show consistency with the good, while knocking out some of the bad.
After watching him go through the entire 2018 season, I saw those traits improve as the season wore on. He ended his season in a much better place than he started and I think his floor is that of an above average quarterback. He may never reach “elite” status, but how many of those guys are ever in the league at a time? There’s only a handful of elite QBs playing today and if Trubisky can’t quite crack the top tier, that doesn’t make him a disappointment. Ultimately, he’ll be judged on if he can help bring a championship to Chicago, and I think he has all the necessary traits to do that, but right now, I have him in the middle tier of quarterbacks.
I have him average, but the arrow is pointing up.
Several of us here at WCG weighed in on this very topic and here’s what we had to say.
Aaron Leming - I would rank Trubisky in the “average” category. Main reason for this is simple- Sample size is small and pure consistency lacks. He won’t lose the Bears many games and has the capability to win them games (See the playoff game if Cody Parkey makes the kick). The problem is, we’ve seen too many up and down performances to really say that he’s good or bad. I 100% believe this is a make or break year for him, but I’m expecting him to make the jump from average to above average or even a franchise level quarterback.
Josh Sunderbruch - He is a median starting quarterback. At any given time, there are probably ten teams that would benefit from having him instead of whomever they are starting, but there just as many teams that would suffer from starting him.
Robert Schmitz - Trubisky, at the moment, is an average quarterback. He’s oozing with potential and has shown he can do anything, but he still has too many “what in the world was that?” plays for me to not see him as average right now. He’s grown a lot and I’m excited to see what he can accomplish this year, but until he shows he’s taken that next step, I think we can’t consider him any better than average.
Erik Duerrwaechter - I have him slightly above average. Where we have seen him flash brilliantly in stretches, i.e. the 2nd half against the Eagles and week 4 against the Buccaneers, we’ve also seen him struggle at times. It’s his consistency that keeps his grade down for me; once he consistently plays at a high level, he’ll be a top ten franchise-caliber quarterback. A part of his struggles, like deep ball accuracy, could be attributed to working on his chemistry with his supporting cast. At the same time, he has all the tools you’d look for in a young quarterback to build an offense around. His leadership, and his overall athleticism, are his biggest strengths.
Again, he’s slightly above average until he can play at a higher level for more than a two-game stretch, consistently. That’s where the focus should be on his development.
Robert Zeglinski - Mitchell Trubisky is an average quarterback until proven otherwise. His resume to this stage of his career speaks to a guy that won’t lose you a game, but who also won’t put his team on his back enough to warrant a higher ranking.
The Bears can sing the praises of their young passer all they want during off-season programs and training camp. Until he’s elite and consistently elite in meaningful games, he’s an average quarterback. Tell you what. Scratch that. Wipe it off the board altogether. Until he’s good and consistently good in meaningful games, he’s an average quarterback.
Sam Householder - He’s average. I want to say above-average, but the consistency isn’t there. Week in to week out Trubisky isn’t a sure thing. That is what is holding him back from being above-average. If you can say, no matter the opponent, the minimum production you’re getting from him is 67.1 percent completion, 260 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT, then that’s about average in today’s NFL (Landed on those numbers by averaging the top 19 QBs that played at least 14 games last season).
Trubisky was right about there last year (66.6 percent completion, 230 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT per game), so yeah he’s right at average right now.
Jacob Infante - Trubisky is an average quarterback, and he will continue to be seen as one until he irons out the inconsistencies in his game. He has markedly gotten better since his rookie year, but he’s still far too up and down to be placed near the upper echelon of signal-callers.
Ken Mitchell - I live in Missouri, the “Show Me” state, and until Mitch shows me something new this year, I’m going to say he is what he was at the end of last year... and that was an average quarterback. Of course, how you judge a quarterback is up for debate. If you follow Pro Football Focus, you know that he’s rated slightly lower than a month-old glass of spoiled milk. Or if you use ESPN’s QBR system he was the third best quarterback in all of football.
Both PFF and ESPN’s ratings are patent nonsense, and both should be roundly ignored in my humble opinion.
The metric I generally use is Football Outsiders DVOA, and they place Trubisky slightly under the middle but still in that pack with Stafford, Carr, Cousins, etc. I will say that his DVOA improved as the year went on, so I’d put him about square-dead middle of the road.
Tomorrow we’ll take this round-table discussion towards the development we’ve seen from Trubisky during his two plus years in Chicago.