Mitch Trubisky is the starting quarterback. He knew what he was getting into when he took that job. He’d earn the praise when the Chicago Bears were having success and he would take the blame when they were failing. As the offense has floundered over the first five weeks of the season, it was almost inevitable that people came hunting for Trubisky’s head. That’s just how fans are. Especially Bears fans. Those who haven’t experienced top tier quarterback play in decades.
However, here’s the thing about football. It’s a team sport. One of the most symbiotic in all of professional athletics. Eleven men are required to execute a play properly in order for it to work. Yes, the quarterback is the vital piece to the puzzle but even he can’t function at a high level by himself. Trubisky isn’t at that point yet where he can lift a team on his shoulders. Nobody knows if he’ll ever get there but one thing is for sure.
His teammates haven’t done him many favors thus far.
A deep dig into some key stats over the first four games Trubisky has played reveals some troubling trends. All of which have contributed to heaping more heat on him and his suddenly vulnerable status as a long-term option at quarterback for the Bears.
Mitch Trubisky has issues, but they aren’t the biggest
Few things have frustrated head coach Matt Nagy more so far this year than penalties. They’ve been rampant, especially on offense. Through the first five games, Chicago was flagged 19 times including eight by left tackle Charles Leno alone. This puts them on pace for 60 penalties this season, which would be an increase of 11 from the 49 they had last season. It’s one thing to get beaten by the opponent. It’s another to beat yourself and that’s what the Bears have done way too often.
Trubisky can only throw the football. He can’t be expected to catch it too. One of the biggest issues facing the Bears this season is the skill players aren’t doing that well enough. As a team in 2018, the offense saw 13 dropped passes during the regular season. So far in 2019? That number is already at 12. Trubisky was on the field for eight of them. People talk about penalties killing drives and this is true, but dropped passes also make finding a rhythm that much harder.
Then there’s the big elephant in the room. Everybody has seen the offensive line isn’t doing their job well enough so far this year. In addition to poor run blocking, they’ve been allowing too much pressure on the quarterback. In total, Trubisky has experienced some sort of pressure in his face 21 times. That’s an average of 5.25 per game. Last year it was at 4.21 times. So that has seen a significant spike as well.
Poor throw percentage
This is an interesting little stat courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference. It comes the number of throws deemed “poor.” Or in a bad spot to be caught. Last season, Trubisky was noted to have thrown 78 bad passes over the course of 14 games. A rate of 18%. Through four games this year, he has just 15. That would put him at 60 by the end of the year. A drastic improvement which currently stands at 14.2%. Nobody has recognized that though because of the penalties and drop issues.
Mitch Trubisky hasn’t been perfect. It still shows up on tape. He misses too many opportunities and still makes mistakes a player of his experience shouldn’t be making. At the same time, it’s hard for quarterbacks to execute at a high level when they’re constantly behind the sticks, constantly under pressure, and constantly having their passes dropped. Something to think about as he prepares to return next week.