Twenty Questions Heading into Training Camp: 5. Will Mitch Trubisky Make the Jump?

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 03: Mitchell Trubisky
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 03: Mitchell Trubisky /

The fifth question in our 20 question series- Will Mitch Trubisky make the jump this season for the Chicago Bears?

The Chicago Bears are going to go as far as Mitch Trubisky is going to take them.

This isn’t a groundbreaking idea, this is the modern-day NFL. Other than the Jacksonville Jaguars who spent ungodly amounts of money on their defense so they can be competitive with mediocre Blake Bortles at quarterback, NFL teams need their quarterbacks to perform at a high level if they want to reach any level of success.

If you look at Trubisky’s rookie numbers from afar, you would think his rookie season was rotten. But for fans and media members that watched Trubisky week-to-week, you saw a young quarterback that flashed a strong arm, solid touch with the football, good accuracy for a young QB and nice pocket presence and mobility with the football.

The Bears’ offense was very limited last season. Trubisky fans will say it’s because of John Fox. Trubisky critics will say the offense was limited because of his limited talents. With a new offense with new coach Matt Nagy, Trubisky is going to have every opportunity to shine.

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The Bears have brought in several new weapons for Trubisky to utilize and an offense that will focus on using RPOs on a regular basis, something Trubisky should do well at and something the Bears failed to utilize much during last season’s struggles.

Based on statistics only, Trubisky was one of the bottom three QBs in the league last year. While that’s unfair to him as a quarterback, those are the facts. If Trubisky struggles statistically again this season, the Bears’ offense will struggle as well.

Trubisky needs to make a jump this season to put the Bears into the realm of being competitive. In some cases, the Bears hype train is out of control. With all the new pieces, it seems some fans think the Bears can make the jump into being one of the top offenses in the league. Those are unfair expectations to put on a young QB and an offense that was one of the worst in the NFL last year.

Assuming the Bears defense performs at a similar level from last season (and there’s no reason to think they’ll be worse), for the Bears to be competing as a borderline playoff team, the offense needs to be average. Based on last year’s statistics, the two middle of the pack offenses were the Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins. So let’s look at where they performed to see where Trubisky needs to reach this season.

The Redskins running game was one of the worst in the NFL last year, so Kirk Cousins had to make up the lack of running game with more production through the air. Cousins threw for over 4000 yards with 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, good for a QB rating of 93.9.

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Atlanta’s run game is very good, something the Bears should have this year as well with Jordan Howard, so in theory, if Trubisky can mirror the type of numbers that Matt Ryan put up last season, that would be enough to launch the Bears into the cluster of average NFL offenses. Ryan threw for 4100 yards with 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Based on that production, the passing statistics Trubisky needs to target are around 4000 yards with about 23 to 24 touchdowns and about 13 interceptions. The smart money would be that Trubisky’s TDs and INTs should be about in that range, but that his yardage through the air would be a little less than 4000. Our stat projections for Trubisky last month had him at 3800 yards, 23 TDs and 14 INTs. That is right about where he would need to be for the Bears to jump into an offense ranked somewhere around 15 or 16.

If Trubisky does that, he puts himself and the Bears offense in a place where they can jump into top ten, maybe even top five range in 2019, but also puts the team in a position to vie for a playoff spot this season.

Trubisky has the talent himself, the talent around him and the talent within the coaching staff to make the jump. Expect it to happen and expect NFL shows across the country to be talking about Trubisky’s improvements and if he has what it takes to make the next jump into becoming “elite.”

The Bears offense is ready, just don’t put unrealistic expectations on the offense where even a vast improvement would still be considered a disappointment.