Yes there’s no question the Chicago Bears have one of the worst offenses in the NFL. It currently ranks dead last in yards per game and 30th in points scored. It’s hard to win football games that way. At the center of the struggles, people have been quick to launch their barbs of disappointment at rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky. That’s not surprising. He plays the most important position on the field. It’s his job to make things go.
That they’re not going falls on him, which is really not fair. If anything Trubisky deserves a lot more credit than he’s getting. Under probably some of the worst circumstances seen in a long time, he’s weathered the storm and played better than traditional NFL logic says he should be. It’s true. The problem is the losing continues to mask it.
Sure his numbers aren’t the greatest: 1,237 yards, 5 TDs, 4 INTs, 54.9 completion percentage. Per usual though the numbers are misleading. It’s all about context, and context reveals that truth be told? Trubisky should be crashing and burning far worse than he has. Let us review the situation.
#1: The supporting cast
Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen make for a great tandem at running back. This is by far the best position on the Bears roster and they’ve done what they can to ease the pressure on Trubisky. Unfortunately problems elsewhere have limited what they can do. The offensive line was expected to be a strength this year. It hasn’t been awful but injuries have really sapped their effectiveness. Kyle Long managed to play just nine games. Josh Sitton has been playing hurt as well.
— NBC Sports Chicago (@NBCSChicago) December 5, 2017
As a result Trubisky has taken 21 sacks in eight games. To be fair some of them were because he holds the ball too long, but that leads neatly into the second part of the issue. He has no credible wide receivers. Understand this. Currently his two best options, Dontrelle Inman and Kendall Wright, weren’t wanted by their previous teams. Wright was cut by the Tennessee Titans. Inman was traded by the Los Angeles Chargers for a seventh round pick. They are #3 or #4 caliber receivers masquerading as #1 and #2 guys.
Guys aren’t getting open and that is magnified by the next big issue.
#2: The coaching staff
Everything about this teams’ struggles come back to the coaching staff, especially on offense. It starts with head coach John Fox. Keep in mind this is a 62-year old man steeped in a defensive background. It doesn’t get much more conservative than that. Fox has a long history of being allergic to throwing the football. He is old school personified, wanting to run it constantly and lean on the defense. That makes it hard for a rookie quarterback to learn. Three times this season Trubisky has throw 16 or fewer passes in a game.
Then there’s Dowell Loggains. The Bears promoted him in 2016 to become offensive coordinator. At the time it was considered a risk. He’d held the job once before but hadn’t done so well at it in Tennessee. Still his quarterback expertise compelled the choice. Time has proven that decision unwise. Loggains’ is an erratic play caller with little feel for the game and a maddening inconsistency with his use of personnel.
Unless something drastic changes in the next month he’ll have gone three seasons as a coordinator never ranking higher than 19th in scoring. His lack of creativity in regards to Trubisky is the most damning issue. He continues to fail at finding ways to get the rookie easy completions in the passing game and utilizing his athleticism as a weapon.
The job of a coach is to make things as easy as possible for his players. Loggains has not done that.
#3: The inexperience
Understand that Trubisky came in about as raw as any #2 overall pick in NFL history. He started just 13 games in college at North Carolina. The learning curve was going to be steep for him from the start. Given what’s happened it wouldn’t surprise anybody if he had double the amount of interceptions as he does touchdowns. Yet through eight games he has more of the latter. People need to understand how impressive this is.
Rex Grossman, the Bears’ last first round quarterback, came into the NFL with over 30 starts at Florida under his belt. Through the first eight starts of his career he threw five touchdowns and six interceptions. This despite only getting sacked 10 times. Also those first eight starts came across three seasons from 2003 to 2005. So he had multiple training camps of work under his belt too.
This should put in greater perspective how good Trubisky actually is. Sure he hasn’t set the world on fire. That was never going to happen this year. We should’ve seen that coming. The fact he has four interceptions in eight games (when Glennon had five in four) is a testament to how controlled he already is.