I know that this is a Mailbag about the Chicago Bears (primarily) and the NFL, but I must say: The XFL’s debut last weekend?
It was actually pretty awesome.
Okay, I may not have been as excited by it as the guy above seems to be, but it really was impressive when considering expectations.
No, it’s not the NFL. It’s not as fast. It’s not as skilled. There’s no Chicago team to root for. I get all that.
But it’s competitive. The rule experiments are fun. And the quality is better than I expected. It doesn’t have to be the NFL to survive. And they proved there is hope for a secondary football league to survive.
I’ll say this, I do wish they gave us another week or so to come down from the Super Bowl. But that’s another discussion…
Anyway, with that, I reach into this week’s Bears Mailbag. Thanks to everyone who submitted questions. I always appreciate the participation! Follow me on Twitter @DhruvKoul to continue the conversation.
The best case scenario would’ve been Mitch Trubisky seizing the job as a clear-cut franchise QB in 2019 and leaving no doubt in 2020. But alas, he did not. So the Bears are left somewhat scrambling this off-season.
In my honest opinion, the best case scenario at QB is the Bears are able to pick up a veteran QB (relatively cheaply) who can come in and take the job from Mitch. Because relying on Trubisky to improve from not only 2019, but also 2018 (which wasn’t good enough) is a TALL order. The Bears may or may not draft a quarterback, but if they do, the hope is they’re able to develop during the season and be at least able to compete for a backup role in 2021. (This would mean Mitch is let go.)
Overall, I want to see the Bears properly address the following positions: TE, EDGE, CB, and RG. They’ll make a decision on ILB (and it’s difficult to go wrong, given their options.) And I’d also like to see Allen Robinson signed to an extension.
The running game will look different, mainly because it will be better. I’d like to see the Bears’ offensive line be a bit more physical, but Matt Nagy’s run scheme can work. I think something that’s going understated is that Nagy had to teach his scheme to Harry Hiestand and Mark Helfrich before they could go and teach it to the players. It’s easy to see where communication could’ve gotten lost, or just been plain bad. Now that Nagy has Juan Castillo and Bill Lazor (two guys who are familiar with his scheme), communication and teaching will be on point. That in itself should lead to improvement.
If these improvements to the roster, coupled with adequate QB play from the veteran, come together, the Bears are easily a playoff contender in 2020. Seriously.
Where I’m struggling is I don’t know what Trubisky has really done to earn too many more chances. Jay Cutler was not only more talented than Trubisky was, but he had the Bears in the NFC Championship game in his second year, and contending for the playoffs in his third — and a LARGE portion of that was due to Cutler’s own play. (Yes, the defense was very good, but people forget how well the offense was rolling in 2010 and 2011.)
Trubisky has regressed significantly from Year 2 to Year 3 in the NFL. He looked so lost at times last year, that I genuinely couldn’t tell if he would last in the NFL beyond his rookie contract. Physical talent isn’t the issue with Mitch — it’s mental acuity. And those kinds of mistakes are unacceptable in the NFL.