We’re wrapping up our four-part Mitchell Trubisky round-table with the following question.
How long until he reaches his ceiling?
If you missed the ceiling we’re all predicting for him, be sure to check out yesterday’s article where we all chimed in with our thoughts on what he can be if he maxes out his potential.
The Chicago Bears certainly believe in him, and after two years there has been no wavering from the franchise, but this is going to be a huge year for his development. General manager Ryan Pace has surrounded him with play-makers and the coaching to become the best version of himself possible and I think we start to see that as 2019 rolls on.
With only one year as a full time starter at North Carolina (a version of the spread offense), then being in the Dowell Loggains/John Fox system (the run, run, pass, punt offense) as a rookie, he had a big learning curve in 2018 under Matt Nagy.
Mitch was asked to learn a complicated offense and he succeeded in phase one. He may be more comfortable entering year two of the system, but until he and his head coach are completely in sync, we won’t know how this story ends.
I tend to agree with the head coach when it comes to knowing when Trubisky hits that ceiling. “Mitch is growing as a quarterback, which is important,” Nagy told Terez Paylor of Yahoo Sports. “In this offense, it takes a good two and a half, three years until I think you truly know it all, and he’s a kid that wants to be so perfect that sometimes I pull him up and say, ‘Hey it’s OK if you make an error, it’s OK to just play.’”
I think we see strides this year, even more strides in 2020, and then in 2021, as long as everything has gone according to plan, we’ll really start to see Trubisky feeling his offense. The relationship between a head coach and quarterback is the most important relationship in sports, and if these two can stay together they’ll win a lot of games and Trubisky will reach his full potential.
Now let’s check out what some of our other guys think about today’s question.
Aaron Leming - That’s a tough question to answer. In most case studies, you’ll usually see what a quarterback is going to be by the end of his rookie deal. That would be 2020 for Trubisky (as long as you don’t count the fifth-year option). With that being said, I think his maturation as an NFL quarterback needs to be close to complete before the end of next season. I think we are going to know a lot about Trubisky but the time the 2019 season is done. If his inconsistencies remain, his ceiling likely drops dramatically for me. If he takes the same steps he did in his sophomore season, we could be talking about a Top 10 quarterback by year’s end.
Ken Mitchell - 2021 - That’s pretty specific, but that’s how long it took Alex Smith to reach his ceiling in Kansas City. I don’t really use Smith as a comp in other ways, because Trubisky is already better than Smith was when Smith was young.
Robert Zeglinski - It’ll be a disappointment if Trubisky doesn’t feature like a top-12 quarterback this season. Hell, it’ll be downright anticlimactic considering the expectations and energy emanating from this iteration of the Bears. There are too many cards stacked in his favor to say any failure to live up to his potential won’t be thoroughly on him. He’s boxed in by arguably the deepest and most gifted group of skill players the Bears have possessed in their century of existence. On the other side of the ball there’s a reigning No. 1 defense prepared to pick up the slack any time his offense falls short.
Whoever Trubisky is as a professional for the rest of his career, everyone’s going to find out his true identity over the next half year. That grey area, it’ll be tested, and it’ll be tested again. This is where perception becomes reality and reality becomes whatever a person wants it to be.
Erik Duerrwaechter - This is the year we will see Mitchell Trubisky reach his ceiling, for good or bad. There are no more excuses for his performances. The coaching staff, weaponry, and protection -- both a good O-line and an elite defense -- are all in place for him to find sustainable success. And he’s too talented to not produce exceptional numbers against near-peer or even elite adversaries.
If he plays as a top ten quarterback this season, the Chicago Bears are going to the Super Bowl. If he doesn’t play up to those expectations, their defense will still give the team a chance, but Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy will need to start considering “Plan B” with Trubisky becoming eligible for a new the following season. It’s his time to shine.
Josh Sunderbruch - I can see him hitting a plateau by the end of the season and seeming to have peaked for a few years, then hitting another burst of improvement as he really starts to process defenses. I think he has enough physical tools to buy him the time he needs to hit that second stage of development some veteran quarterbacks enjoy. I don’t think it will be a huge bump, but it will be enough to keep his career alive.
Sam Householder - Maybe he’s there by the end of this season, I certainly hope he’s in the above-average tier, but I don’t think the Matt Ryan/Philip Rivers direct comp can come for another two seasons. Because, again, the keyword here is consistency. Until we see a couple consistent seasons from him we won’t be sure what he is.
Jacob Infante - Truth be told, I’m not really sure.
The thing about Trubisky is that the flashes are there that indicate he is the guy the Bears will put out on the field for the next 10 years or so, but there are also games where he looks like a bottom-10 quarterback whom the Bears would be better off letting walk in free agency and starting over in the draft in the future. The general saying is that it takes three years to truly get a good read on whether or not a draft pick was a good selection, and the mantra definitely rings true with Trubisky.
This season is a make-or-break campaign for Trubisky to break out and take that next step to become a legitimate franchise quarterback. Given the team’s projected salary cap situation going forward, this may be the most talented roster Chicago can afford to have around him for a while. Average to slightly above-average players will be casualties of the organization’s plans to keep a long-term core of blue-chip players on the roster, which will hurt the well-roundedness that the Bears possess in their starting lineup right now. Trubisky is going to have to improve this season, and if he doesn’t now, then he may never be much more than another name in Chicago’s rich history of mediocre starting quarterbacks.
Robert Schmitz - I’m not sure, but I don’t think it matters.
This is the year. The defense is chock-full of great players, Matt Nagy will effectively debut his ‘true scheme,’ and both the RB room and the WR room are as good as they’ve been in years. The Bears have a weapon for every situation, and that’s wild to think of. Need someone who can go up and get a jump ball? Throw it to Allen Robinson II. Need a runningback to finagle his way four yards forward? Hand the ball to David Montgomery. Need to dump the ball off and hope for the best? Toss it to Tarik Cohen out in space. I could keep going and find ways to mention Anthony Miller, Taylor Gabriel, Cordarrelle Patterson, and others, but I’m sure you get the point.
The truth for Trubisky is that this year will likely (health permitting) be the year that cements his reputation, one way or another. With the talent surrounding him (and well as historical trends to boot), Trubisky needs to be the final ingredient in a Super Bowl recipe or he’ll likely be forever remembered as ‘the guy who couldn’t get it done with that team.’ I personally don’t think that’s fair to him, I think he’ll likely be even better in 2020 than he is in 2019, but life isn’t fair and neither is football. This truly is the year for Mitchell Trubisky, and I’m excited to see how it plays out.
In case you missed any of our four-part Trubisky round-tables, or wanted to catch up on all our offseason round-tables, check out the story-stream right here.