High hopes are often attached to a player chosen with the second overall pick in the NFL Draft. And when a team gives up what the Chicago Bears did to trade up and make that selection, expectations can be blown out of proportion. Oh, and it’s on a whole other level when that player is a quarterback going to one of the most quarterback-starved cities in football.
Yet, Mitch Trubisky will enter his rookie season with the Bears not having to carry that particular burden – at least in the eyes of some of NFC North analysts.
Over at ESPN Chicago, Jeff Dickerson asks his NFC North counterparts Rob Demovsky (Packers), Ben Goessling (Vikings), and Michael Rothstein (Lions) to share their realistic expectations for the Bears’ rookie signal caller. For what it’s worth, it seems as if the trio of pundits are in agreement on what Trubisky’s rookie season should look like in 2017.
Demovsky doesn’t see the Bears as a playoff team, so he couldn’t justify threatening Trubisky’s confidence by throwing him to the wolves as a rookie. Instead, Demovsky advocates the Bears stick to their plan of allowing Mike Glennon to work under center while Trubisky works on holding the clipboard as a backup. While 2017 is Glennon’s year, I can’t envision Trubisky undergoing a three-year apprenticeship similar to what Aaron Rodgers served under Brett Favre. Still, it can work for at least one season.
Goessling concurs with the idea of slow playing Trubisky’s development, noting that the Bears wouldn’t likely rush their rookie quarterback into action after making a significant offseason investment in Glennon. How the team uses Trubisky in the preseason should go a long way toward dictating how he will be rolled out in the regular season if that time comes. The way Goessling sees it, the Bears might be best suited keeping Glennon on the field for the whole season to allow the front office to decide what pieces the offense will need when Trubisky is ready in 2018.
In a near-unanimous sweep, Rothstein – who has seen Matthew Stafford’s rise from being the top quarterback of his draft class to a Pro Bowl quarterback who has led his team to multiple playoff appearances – believes the Bears would be wise not to force the action with Trubisky this season. By allowing Trubisky to learn from the sidelines, the team could get a better feel on what he’s picking up without putting him in harm’s way. Further, if the organization is pleased with his development, Trubisky could step in when the team is out of playoff contention. Rothstein writes that the Bears’ goal should be to play Trubisky when he’s ready in a situation that gives him the best chance to prosper. But if the Bears start Trubisky early, he doesn’t see an avenue for early success.
These are all reasonable expectations at a time where measured thoughts should be what guides the Bears’ decision-making process when it comes to their prized quarterback. The perspective from each of these analysts is valuable, especially considering each team has had a better run at drafting and developing quarterbacks than the Bears. Green Bay has had an unrivaled run of sustained excellence at quarterback that stretches from Favre’s glory days to Rodgers’ present-day dominance. Detroit used a top pick on Stafford, who has grown the most during recent years working with Jim Bob Cooter and led his team to the postseason in two of the last three seasons. Teddy Bridgewater is a bit of a wild card at this point, seeing that he missed all of last year with a gruesome leg injury. Still, Minnesota found their guy, made a move to get him on draft day, and developed a quarterback who has reached a Pro Bowl and taken his team to the postseason.
Of course, the only team that allowed for their quarterback-of-the-future to develop slowly was the Packers. Stafford was a Week 1 starter as a rookie, while Bridgewater was thrust into a starting role in Week 4 after making his debut replacing an injured Matt Cassel during a Week 3 loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Chicago can only hope to replicate the success their division rivals have had in developing steady quarterback play. As it stands, Trubisky gives them their best shot.