The only way Mitch Trubisky’s stats stood out after his second start with the Bears on Sunday is that they were mostly unimpressive across the board.
And yet, Head Coach John Fox raved about his quarterback’s performance after the game:
Fox on @Mtrubisky10: "I think Mitch played outstanding. Did he throw the ball 45 times? No. To me that doesn’t define outstanding."
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) October 16, 2017
Daring to call Trubisky’s Sunday performance “outstanding” is a step outside the box for Fox, especially when the numbers didn’t necessarily look great, but also lines up with a coach who is conservative by nature.
Fox lauded Trubisky’s six throwaways (which made up a majority of his incomplete passes), because, according to Fox, it beats the alternative of six interceptions. And he also lauded the presence of mind and athleticism that allowed Trubisky to track down an errant Cody Whitehair snap and get it out of the end zone, adding there were only a handful of quarterbacks who could get out of that precarious position.
Did Trubisky air it out and rack up gaudy yardage and a ton of touchdowns? Of course not. But he didn’t have to, because the Bears paired an effective running game and a ferocious defense to beat the Baltimore Ravens in Week 6. If it weren’t for multiple special teams gaffes, the score wouldn’t have been nearly as close as it was, and overtime surely wouldn’t have been necessary.
Eventually, Trubisky will need to make those dangerous, breath-taking throws in order to calibrate the risk calculus that every successful franchise quarterback possesses. But for now, Fox and the Bears coaching staff seem OK with operating on a run-first offense that stresses the value of ball security over anything else.
It won’t ever be confused with the Greatest Show On Turf, but it’s a refreshing alternative to turnover-laden football.