The Progression: Mitch Trubisky is going to be a franchise quarterback

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 28: Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky #10 of the Chicago Bears throws the football in the second quarter against the New York Jets at Soldier Field on October 28, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 28: Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky #10 of the Chicago Bears throws the football in the second quarter against the New York Jets at Soldier Field on October 28, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has started in 21 games in his NFL career. As a young player who continues to improve each week, he has shown he can be the franchise quarterback Chicago so desperately needs.

Mitch Trubisky had a rough 2017 season as many expected. Due to incompetent coaching and personnel, Chicago’s offense was pathetic. Trubisky still made some plays when his name was called upon, but was generally relied on as a game manager during his rookie campaign. 2018 is a new season, and Trubisky has improved drastically despite criticism from the national media. That’s to be expected when they only tune into primetime games and don’t watch the Bears each week. Let’s dive deeper into the numbers.

Trubisky’s first NFL start was against the Minnesota Vikings during the 2017 season. His first four game stretch also included games against the Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints. During this stretch Chicago went 2-2 and Trubisky completed 38 of 80 pass attempts for 512 yards while also tossing two touchdowns and two interceptions. That’s only completing 47.5% of passes, which is awful. This stretch also included Zach Miller‘s horrific injury which would have added another touchdown pass if not for a historically terrible replay review. This is easily Trubisky’s worst four game stretch to date, thankfully it was his first four games.

Trubisky’s passer rating during this stretch: 66.2

Chicago’s next four games were against the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers. During this span, the Bears went 0-4. Trubisky completed 60.2% of his passes going 68/113 and threw for 725 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. While Chicago struggled during these games, Trubisky made some strides with the limited weapons he had.

Trubisky’s passer rating during this stretch: 80.4

Chicago’s final four games of the 2017 season included the Cincinnati Bengals (Trubisky’s best game of the season), Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings. The Bears went 2-2. Trubisky finished 90 of 137, completing 60.2% of his passes. He threw for 956 yards two touchdowns and three interceptions. Each week Trubisky was improving, very slowly, but improving. Trubisky finished the 2017 season with 2,193 yards seven touchdowns and seven interceptions while completing 59.4% of his passes.

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Trubisky’s passer rating during this stretch: 81.7

Fast forward an incredible offseason and the 2018 season is underway. Chicago has drastically made improvements to the team. A complete overhaul was underway in Halas Hall, the Bears hired a young and upcoming Head Coach in Matt Nagy, and brought in all new coordinators while retaining Vic Fangio for the defensive side of the ball. As for personnel, Chicago brought in all new weapons. Signing offensive targets such as Taylor Gabriel, Allen Robinson and Trey Burton. Chicago also traded up in the draft to pick Anthony Miller out of Memphis. Chicago also already had a two headed monster at running back with Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen, so expectations are high and the pressure is on Trubisky.

The Chicago Bears are one of the most improved teams in the league in 2018, and it seems the offense has somewhat caught up to the defense. Chicago’s first four games were against the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Chicago went 3-1 in this stretch and Trubisky showed he has vastly improved since last season. Completing 70% of his passes going 91 of 130, Trubisky threw for 945 yards eight touchdowns to only three interceptions. Eight touchdowns is more than the young quarterback had all of 2017. Trubisky also had a historic day against the Buccaneers, as he threw for 354 yards and six (!!) touchdowns. It’s clear he is seeing the field better and is becoming more comfortable standing in the pocket and delivering the throws.

Trubisky’s passer rating during this stretch: 101.6

Trubisky going through his progressions and extending plays has become a beautiful part of his game. Trubisky is no longer a two read quarterback and doesn’t panic when those options aren’t there. That’s what’s so great about Nagy’s new offensive system. It gives him so many options to go to, and if none of them are there he can take off with his legs. Trubisky is currently second in the league among rushing quarterbacks, only behind Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

The final four game stretch comes against the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills. Again, Chicago went 2-2 in this stretch. If not for a special teams lapse against New England it’s very possible Chicago would have won that game. During this stretch Trubisky threw for 1,004 yards completing 59.5% of his passes. He also tossed eight touchdowns to four interceptions.

Trubisky’s passer rating during this stretch: 92.7

This Sunday the Chicago Bears faced off against the Detroit Lions. Previously, Chicago had lost 10 straight division games. Trubisky looked excellent, as he may have had his best game as a Chicago Bear. He finished 23/30 for a career high 355 yards and three touchdowns. Trubisky also rushed for a touchdown. Although these numbers are great, the best part of this stat line is zero turnovers. Trubisky took care of the football and made accurate reads and throws down the field all game. This game showed how much he’s really developed as a passer, and was an excellent game to silence his critics for his play this season. Wideout Anthony Miller also had a breakout game which helped Trubisky. Chicago is currently on a three game win streak.

Trubisky’s passer rating Sunday against Detroit: 148

Trubisky is going to only grow from this point. He’s already on pace to double his yardage from a season ago, and has already doubled his touchdown count. We’re only halfway through year two of the young quarterback’s career, and he has improved vastly. The sky is the limit in Nagy’s new offense, and one would think Trubisky will only continue to master it over time. The Chicago Bears are sitting at 6-3 and leading the NFC North, and they’ve already won more games than the entire 2017 season. If Trubisky continues to shine, we may be watching Bears football come January.

The Bears take on the Minnesota Vikings next week on Sunday night football. This may be the most difficult and most important game Chicago has played all season. Splitting games with Minnesota this season would do wonders for this team, but winning on your home field should give them a bit of an advantage. If Trubisky can put up the numbers he’s been putting up all season, Chicago should be in good shape.