Chicago Bears Setting Up Mitchell Trubisky for Big Sophomore Campaign
One week into the NFL’s 2018 free agency period, the Chicago Bears have already made some significant strides in improving their offense. The biggest splash they made was inking a deal with former Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Allen Robinson, giving the Bears the No. 1 receiver they desperately need. In addition, Chicago signed wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (Atlanta Falcons) and tight end Trey Burton (Philadelphia Eagles).
General manager Ryan Pace also saw it fit to welcome two new quarterbacks to the depth chart. The Bears agreed to a two-year deal with 10-year veteran Chase Daniel, and two days later signed Tyler Bray. Both Daniel and Bray were backup quarterbacks for the Kansas City Chiefs while new Bears head coach Matt Nagy was a QB coach from 2013-15. Daniel would later move on to the Eagles and the New Orleans Saints, while Bray stayed in Kansas City with Nagy where he was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2016.
With a new head coach, more potent weapons in the passing game, and two veterans to learn from, the table is set for Mitchell Trubisky to have a breakout sophomore campaign. In 2017, we saw flashes of what the second-year pro is capable of doing. Now, once everything begins to take place, Trubisky could be in position to live up to expectations.
Normally, second-year players are prone to have a “sophomore slump,” but recent history has shown that to be a myth; in particular with two up-and-coming quarterbacks. Jared Goff of the Los Angeles Rams and Carson Wentz of the Eagles both had big seasons in 2017, one year after they were drafted as the No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks in the 2016 NFL Draft respectively.
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Goff didn’t become a starter for the Rams until Week 11 of his rookie year, but finished the 2017 season with 3,804 passing yards, 28 touchdowns, only seven interceptions, and a QB rating of 100.5. As for Wentz, he started his entire rookie year, throwing 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, only to come back the following year to throw 33 touchdowns (second in the NFL) and just seven interceptions. Wentz, who virtually led Philadelphia to the Super Bowl championship, would have had greater numbers had he not torn his ACL in Week 14.
Getting back to the Bears’ roster, both of their new backup QBs have a lot of familiarity with Nagy and the offense that he plans to implement. However, Daniel and Bray aren’t the only newcomers who will have an understanding of this offensive game plan. As Burton was introduced as the Bears’ new tight end, he mentioned that he already knows “95 percent of the playbook.” While with the Eagles, Burton played under head coach Doug Pederson, who, just like Nagy, is a part of Andy Reid’s coaching tree. So, it seems that we will see some form of the West Coast offense this coming 2018 season.
With two new mentors, an offensive-minded head coach, new targets in the passing game, the dynamic duo of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen in the backfield, and hopefully the healthy returns of wide receivers Cameron Meredith and Kevin White, Trubisky should be primed to be the franchise quarterback Bears fans have been waiting decades for. Goff and Wentz both ended their second year with Pro Bowl selections. Trubisky could possibly be receiving the same accolade at the end of the 2018 season if everything falls into place.