I love Mitch Trubisky. I’m also a fair evaluator and have given Trubisky his fair share of criticism, especially for his play in the first three games of the year. Go back through my Twitter timeline (@DhruvKoul) and post-game Thoughts columns from the Green Bay, Seattle, and Arizona games. You’ll see.
But he’s improved, steadily, each week since then, and though the numbers may not always reflect it, the tape certainly does.
Yet, for whatever reason, there’s been a lot of bullshit spewed from the national media about Trubisky that is overboard to the point of unhinged. Bill Barnwell of ESPN speculated that Trubisky may not make it to the end of his rookie contract. Like, how?
And then Michael Lombardi, the former failed GM of the Cleveland Browns who I’m certain had input in the evaluation of spectacular flameout Johnny Manziel before he was fired, vomited this series of garbage:
…”It’s a joke. I was in Chicago this week and all I saw was Trubisky jerseys. I was thinking you people are crazy! You’re going to be selling them in 3 years. There’s no way!…When they have to play somebody tough, I think it’s a real problem…I think the Bears are overvalued."
— Joe Ostrowski (@JoeO670) November 6, 2018
And my favorite:
Oh my God. https://t.co/7tU2sIJgWL
— Dhruv Koul (@DhruvKoul) November 7, 2018
Dak Prescott?! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Like, hahahahahahahahahahaha.
So, naturally, I had to subtweet retaliate:
There are people that exist that think Dak Prescott is a better or more talented QB than Mitch Trubisky. In fact, one such person used to run an NFL front office.
I suppose there's a reason we refer to that time period in the past tense.
— Dhruv Koul (@DhruvKoul) November 7, 2018
It’s clear that these people don’t watch any actual tape or break down any actual game situations. No, Trubisky isn’t perfect. In fact, Trubisky, like ALL QUARTERBACKS, is bad at times. But those times are becoming fewer and farther between, and he’s shown very good progress in recent weeks, whether it be in his pre-snap audibles, reading the defense, making good decisions, and making great throws. Check out this breakdown by Dan Orlovsky, someone who I have a lot of respect for for being fair in his QB film breakdowns, on one of Trubisky’s better plays in Buffalo:
Every week @Mtrubisky10 gets better. Still so so young-but he’s getting coached well, he’s smart, and it’s showing on tape for the @ChicagoBears organization. @thekapman @kfishbain @DickersonESPN @BearsBarroom #NFLGamePass #NFLPartner pic.twitter.com/iV81X8SlLv
— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) November 6, 2018
What’s my point in bringing all of this up? I’m going to be starting a weekly “Grading Trubisky” column for each game the second half of this season, starting with today’s divisional showdown against the Detroit Lions. Evaluating QBs is certainly a subjective game, but I’m going to do my best to put some numbers to each of Trubisky’s plays and come up with a grade at the end of it. And I’m doing this so we can actually shed *some* objective light into how Trubisky is playing each week, even though the national media is clouding everyone’s judgment with their uninformed stupidity.
I’m adapting a grading mechanism that my Twitter buddy @BMADFTS shared with me. It’s simple, and takes into account your subjective evaluation of each QB throw, but also assigns a score to it. It looks like this:
“Big Time Throw” — A special throw in terms of decision, placement, accuracy, velocity, and touch that we rarely see. Think Aaron Rodgers’s pass to Jared Cook on the sideline to set up the Packers’ game winning field goal to beat the Dallas Cowboys in the 2017 Divisional Round. Such a throw gets awarded +3 points, and are meant to be rarer occurrences.
“Very Good Throw” — A throw, generally down field that tests a defense and gains significant yardage and is placed very well, only where the receiver can get it. The receiver *may* have to put some effort into catching it, but it’s meant to be a coverage beater. Think Mitch Trubisky’s back-shoulder throw to Allen Robinson in Miami. Such a throw gets awarded +2 points.
“Solid Throw” — A throw that is better than one you expect all QBs to make. Think a tightly covered slant or a well-timed comeback or curl route. Such a throw gets +1 point.
“Expected Throw” — A throw all QBs should make and place well. Think an open crossing route or out route. No points are awarded here.
“Poor Throw” — An underthrown deep ball or a poorly placed ball that should’ve been an easy completion but instead forced the receiver to make a large adjustment to catch it. Think Trubisky’s pass to Jordan Howard that was nearly intercepted by Mychal Kendricks vs. Seattle this year. Such a throw gets -1 points.
“Turnover Worthy Throw” — A throw that either is picked off (and deserved to be) or wasn’t picked off (but deserved to be). Think Trubisky’s pass to Bradley Sowell in Miami. That stuff can’t happen. Such a throw gets -3 points.
There are also fractional points awarded for good QB runs (either designed or scrambles) that gain positive yardage and also for good pocket movement to avoid pressure to buy the QB room to step up and make a throw. And there are fractional points taken away for sacks and also fumbles that are the QBs fault. Jailbreak pressure is not considered the fault of the QB.
Eventually, all of these points will turn into a composite score. Here are the ranges:
9.5 and up — A range
5 – 9.49 — B range
-2.5 – 4.99 — C range
-5 – -2.51 — D range
Less than -5 — F
Is it perfect? No. For example, on certain throws, we won’t know where Trubisky was in his progression and whether he *should* have seen one receiver over another. But it’s a start.
That said, let’s dive into Trubisky’s terrific game against the Lions today; a game that the Bears mostly dominated from the opening drive en route to a 34-22 win.
Drive 1 — Each of Trubisky’s throws were “expected”. He did a good job calling audibles to beat the defense and looked sharp, but each throw was something that most QBs should be able to hit. No “points” on that first drive.
Drive 2 — A big time throw to Allen Robinson in between defenders, a very good throw to Ben Braunecker, a very good throw to Taylor Gabriel that was incomplete (gave his receiver a chance), an expected throw to Tarik Cohen which lost yardage, and then a big time throw to Robinson for the touchdown. That’s 10 points right there!
Drive 3 — Two expected throws to Cohen and Trey Burton, and then a solid throw to Anthony Miller (wide open) for the touchdown. That’s one more point!
Drive 4 — A poor throw on the incompletion to Robinson, an expected throw to Burton on the shovel pass, and then two scrambles result in another touchdown. Overall, that netted zero points on that drive.
Drive 5 — End of the half. Not grading this one.
Drive 6 — A solid throw to Anthony Miller for the 55 yard gain, an expected throw to Cohen, and a poor deep pass incomplete to Robinson, resulting in a missed field goal. It netted zero points.
Drive 7 — Two expected throws resulted in a grand total of five yards, and it resulted in a missed field goal. This drive also netted zero points.
Drive 8 — Poor pass to Cohen incomplete, a solid pass to Jordan Howard, a poor pass to Gabriel, and a big time pass to Miller that was dropped over the middle. Resulted in +2 points.
Drive 9 — A very good throw to Burton and another solid throw to Robinson resulted in another touchdown. That’s +3 points.
Drive 10 — Poor pass to Gabriel and then a bad sack from Trubisky. Resulted in -1.5 points.
Drive 11 (Final Drive) — A big time throw to Robinson in between defenders to gain eight yards, a strong scramble to pick up a big first down, and a very good throw to Miller (given the time and situation) to salt the game away. That’s +6 points right there.
FINAL GRADE: Trubisky ended up with a composite score of 20.5 for the game, which is a rock solid A, pretty much an A+. A heck of a game from Trubisky — arguably the best of his career.
That said, here’s a parting shot at good ol’ Michael Lombardi based on Trubisky’s sensational performance:
Michael Lombardi probably can't even afford Mitch Trubisky after today's game. https://t.co/uJ17KknpnJ
— Dhruv Koul (@DhruvKoul) November 11, 2018