Who exactly do the Chicago Bears have in Mitch Trubisky? This is something the organization is still trying to find out. They don’t have a “bust” as many are loudly proclaiming. At the same time, it’s becoming clearer by the day that they don’t have a franchise guy either. Trubisky is talented for sure. He has a good arm, great legs, and a cool head on his shoulders in high-pressure situations. However, he also possesses a lot of shortcomings.
His mechanics remain inconsistent. His ability to hit receivers at the intermediate and deep levels remain spotty. The decision-making when under duress still leads to way too many interceptable passes. His ability to conduct a game from the pocket just isn’t adequate. It doesn’t seem like Trubisky is capable of seizing control of a game himself. He’s at the mercy of the game plan and seems unable to elevate beyond it.
He’s hardly the first to be like that in NFL history. It doesn’t necessarily mean the Bears can’t win with him. It just means they likely won’t win a lot of games because of him. One expert who has followed him closely now believes he has a grasp on what Trubisky is and which quarterback he seems to emulate the most. Dan Durkin of The Athletic, while reviewing tape of the win in Denver, reached his epiphany.
“Against the Broncos, he only had one pass completion past 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, bringing his season total to six. The more I watched this scheme unfold, the more I saw a bit of Jake Plummer in Trubisky’s game. Take that comparison for what you will.”
Mitch Trubisky comp to Jake Plummer is pretty solid
That’s actually not a bad tag by Durkin. For those who don’t recall Plummer, here’s a brief recap. He was a 2nd round pick in 1997 for the Arizona Cardinals. He threw as many touchdowns as interceptions his rookie year, then led the team to its first playoff berth in years in 1998. As time went on though, it became clear he had limitations. Though big, athletic, and boasting a strong arm, Plummer was not a natural pocket passer. He couldn’t read coverages like the top QBs of his era could.
Plummer had an up-and-down run in Arizona until he finally left in 2003 as a free agent. It was then he signed with the Denver Broncos. There he found an offensive system that finally understood how to employ the skills he had to best effect. Denver ran the ball and used his mobility for bootlegs and moving pockets. This simplified his reads and allowed him to make quicker decisions. The results over the next three seasons were 60 touchdown passes to just 34 interceptions, a 32-11 record, and three-consecutive trips to the playoffs.
It would seem that the Bears have begun to reach the same realization Denver had back then. If they want to get the most out of Trubisky, they’ll have to stick close to what he does best. Run the ball to open up play action, then use bootlegs and moving pockets to make his reads easier. It may seem like a concession that he isn’t the franchise guy they’d hoped for, but this is likely the best strategy to help the offense function.
The Broncos had plenty of success with Plummer during that stretch and finally found their replacement in 2006 when they drafted Jay Cutler.