As the 2017 Chicago Bears head toward the final stretch of their season, the main focus is the development of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
The rookie quarterback has started in six professional games after his college career where he made just 13 starts at North Carolina. Although the Bears wished to have had him sit this season, Trubisky has shown significant improvement from his first start against the Vikings to his more recent start against the Lions.
The biggest sign of Trubisky’s improvement through the six games has been his accuracy.
In Trubisky’s first three games, the Bears coaching staff protected his inexperience by calling few pass plays. In his first two starts against the Vikings and Ravens, the Bears quarterback attempted 25 and 16 passes of which he completed 12 and 8 of those passes.
In his two starts following the bye week, the rookie quarterback has attempted 35 and 30 passes and completed 21 and 18 of those passes. That is a completion percentage of 60, wherein the first two games it was below 50 percent.
Another indicator of Trubisky’s growth has been the Bears coaching staff opening the playbook up more with the more games he plays.
Through each game, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains has given his rookie quarterback different passing plays to work with. It was noted in the New Orleans game, Loggains began stacking his receivers in sets in order to create mismatches and releases in the passing game.
That game was the first game to where Trubisky was given more complex passing plays as several plays included crossing patterns and wide receivers in motion pre-snap, something that had not been seen in the three games prior.
Since the bye week, Trubisky has had more talented weapons to work with.
Inman, who was acquired via trade from Los Angeles, has been very productive in his first two games as a Bear catching nine passes for over 131 yards. With Markus Wheaton, he has not caught a pass in either game but his presence has allowed Kendall Wright to return to the slot position where he is best suited for in an offense.
The Bears quarterback’s maturation has also shown with the growth of tight end Adam Shaheen. In back to back weeks, the pair has connected on plays longer than 20 yards.
Trubisky to Adam Shaheen for the touchdown pic.twitter.com/ck5kCP9grX
— Kevin Marchina (@kg_holler) November 19, 2017
One of the most rewarding sign through the six games Trubisky has played in has been his success at not turning the ball over through the air. Trubisky has only thrown two interceptions this entire season, both coming late in the fourth quarter of games against two of the top teams in the NFC in the Vikings and Saints.
Both came in two-minute situations with the Bears needing a score to either to tie or win the game. Other than those situations, Trubisky has not thrown an interception during any other part of a game. This in itself has allowed the Bears to stay competitive in all of his starts to where when Mike Glennon was starting, his interceptions came early in games ending chances of the Bears being competitive.
Trubisky is by no means a finished product as a quarterback yet.
There are still some throws that get away from him where he has an open target and he is still prone to sacks. These weaknesses were on display during the Bears last drive against the Lions as on a second down from their own 41-yard-line missed an open receiver in Lions territory as the pass sailed way over Inman’s head.
On the next play, Trubisky was sacked as he stepped up into pocket cost the Bears a down, loss of yardage, and a timeout. He needed to throw the ball away or scramble outside of the pocket to save yardage. A good portion of his sacks this season have come while trying to step up into the pocket.
Furthermore, Trubisky has been inconsistent protecting the ball in the pocket as he has either fumbled the snap or been stripped of the ball three times so far this season.
The Chicago Bears head into Week 12 as big underdogs on the road in Philadelphia, with most betting sites monitored by sportsbettingdime.com setting the initial line at Chicago +11. Facing the NFL-leading Eagles (9-1) will be a Herculean task for rookie QB Mitch Trubisky. Philly has one of the best front-sevens in the league and can generate pressure rushing just four. They also surrender the fewest rushing yards per game (71.0), which is terrible news for a Bears team that leans heavily on running back Jordan Howard. While the Chicago defense is good enough to keep the Eagles under 30, the one-dimensional offense will have a hard time keeping pace and the Eagles should distance themselves as the game wears on, ultimately covering the double-digit spread.
With six games gone and another six games to go, the rest of this season is to see how much the Bears quarterback can grow in his rookie season. Although he doesn’t have an eye-popping amount of passing yards or passing touchdowns, he has shown mass amounts of growth. When Trubisky was drafted, many analysts believed he would need to sit for a year before playing in a game because he was highly inexperienced.
So far with very little experience, he has not made the mistake that befall many other rookie quarterbacks starting. The close games have provided the Bears quarterback invaluable experience for tight pressure situations as well.
If Trubisky is able to keep building during his next six games, the Bears may have finally found their franchise quarterback.