Should we be concerned about Mitch Trubisky’s history with position battles?

Chicago Bears (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Mitch Trubisky is set to battle Nick Foles for the Chicago Bears’ starting quarterback job. His spotty history in past position battles could be something to worry about.

Quick! Without Googling, tell me about the last time you saw Mitch Trubisky win a quarterback position battle!

Assuming you got beyond phrases like “uh,” and “um,” you probably didn’t get much further. And for a player who stood on the doorstep of a $24.8 million option this past offseason, that feels problematic, no? As fellow Bear Goggles On contributor Cameron Henderson pointed out, the Chicago Bears will have a number of position battles on its undercard. But make no mistake: Trubisky vs. Foles will be the main event worth watching.

And thankfully, this one comes without a pay-per-view. Yet even given his recent press conference and three years worth of film in Matt Nagy’s system, Trubisky feels, to me at least, like an underdog in this race. And in inspecting the number of reasons he could win the starting job, one thought was unshakable:

When was the last time Trubisky outperformed a quarterback in an organized battle and won a starting job? High school?

In a roundabout way, it circles back to just how much faith we can have in Trubisky winning this competition against Nick Foles when the time comes. All offseason, we’ve plugged statistics and thoughts in search of optimism, and as a Trubisky fan, I hope he wins the city over.

Here are the facts

Part of what led to both the mystique and the confusion about the Bears drafting Mitch Trubisky after just 13 starts was the fact that he wasn’t able to take the reins of the starting job off of Marquise Williams — a backup in the XFL, as in Vince McMahon’s football league.

To Trubisky’s credit, he hasn’t necessarily been afforded any such upper hand in either case. At North Carolina, the plan was for him to redshirt as a freshman, but that allowed Williams to pick up the steam needed to earn Larry Fedora’s vote of confidence for each of the next three seasons, buying into the effect of chemistry Williams had on the Tar Heels.

In a Brad Biggs column for the Chicago Tribune last October, he detailed one national scout’s thoughts on how that should have been red flag No. 1 when the 2017 NFL Draft came around.

"“I really liked all the traits, but I had a problem with a quarterback that couldn’t beat out a guy (Williams) that was on the street the next year,” the scout said. “Their head coach (Fedora) was telling you something, and guys don’t listen. It’s like: ‘Oh, we can make him better. We can improve him. We can always do this and that.’ “These college coaches, they get paid too. They know what the hell they are doing. That was the problem that I had.”"

And then came 2017. And believe me, I’ve tried to forget everything about that season. The uniforms — which are the exact same now — just appeared a little uglier with that 5-11 team wearing them. Trubisky lost the starting job, unfairly in my view, to Mike Glennon, a quarterback who at no point in his career led a team to more than five wins, or even produced a winning record for that matter. By the end of the 2017 preseason, the numbers looked as follows:

Trubisky – 36/53, 364 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
Glennon – 26/44, 243 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT

Numbers put aside, Trubisky should have opened the 2017 season for the Bears. But after winning the head-to-head matchup and still losing the Week One job, it’s worth wondering if Mitch Trubisky, chronically-known as an over-thinker, won’t be going into camp with those aforementioned losses in the back of his mind.

He cannot be enamored about the idea of having to potentially play perfectly in order to be the signal-caller when the season kicks off Sept. 13. Perhaps it’s all in my head, but I doubt it’s just my head.

More. Who is to blame for Eddie Jackson's regression in 2019?. light

Mitch Trubisky has completed 811-of-1,280 passes since entering the NFL in 2017. But when the cards have been on the table, and a job has been on the line since college, he’s a spotty 0-for-2. It’s unclear if this deck will be stacked against him, but for what I’d argue to be the sake of his career, let’s hope he has something up his sleeve.