Did you see Carson Wentz’s breakout party on Monday Night Football?
One day after we watched Mitch Trubisky complete four passes in a Chicago Bears win, Wentz threw four touchdown passes in Philadelphia’s victory against Washington on Monday Night Football. Wentz threw for 268 yards and posted a 126.3 passer rating.
He also added 63 rushing yards, a bulk of which came on this run:
BUT HOW!? pic.twitter.com/KxYSyIuAXQ
— The Ten-Yard Line (@TheTenYardLine) October 24, 2017
Carson Wentz is an example of why teams should be more willing to take a risk when drafting a quarterback early. Credit the Eagles for putting a good core of coaches and teammates around Wentz, allowing him to develop as a rookie and blossom as a second-year player.
Wentz’s growth from Year 1 to Year 2 is what you hope to see from Mitch Trubisky. Wentz took his lumps as a rookie, tackled the learning curve head-on, and has made improvements to his game. I suppose having a reliable Pro Bowl caliber receiver such as Alshon Jeffery on the outside helps, but Philadelphia has has other receivers step up and make plays in the passing offense too.
Chicago might not have what Philadelphia has right now, but Trubisky gives the team a start it wouldn’t have had otherwise if the team retained Jay Cutler for 2017, kept Mike Glennon under center, or brought in another veteran place-holder quarterback
- A popular thought before, during, and shortly after the 2017 NFL Draft was that teams passing on this crop of quarterbacks would be rewarded for their patience with a more talented class in 2018. That group of quarterbacks might take a hit though, as Brandon Allbright reports that Sam Darnold is unlikely to leave USC after this season. Reports of Darnold staying in school popped up in July, so this isn’t much of a surprise, but it remains significant. And while there is still time for him to turn it around, his recent performance against Notre Dame suggests he could use a bit more seasoning than expected.
- Then again, the Bears traded up one spot to draft a quarterback who made a grand total of 13 starts at North Carolina. So it’s safe to say anything is possible.
- One way the Bears have aided in Trubisky’s development is by playing a brand of defense that hasn’t been seen in Chicago in quite some time. Hub Arkush of Pro Football Weekly writes that it’s hard not to be excited about how this group has performed. Shutting down an offense led by an interception-prone Joe Flacco is one thing, but handcuffing Cam Newton, Christian McCaffery, and Kelvin Benjamin is another. Newton and the Panthers were 3-0 on the road and put up some decent offensive numbers in those wins, so to limit that group to three points despite being dominated in time of possession says a lot about what this defense can do to a team.
- While the pass rush deserves a ton of credit for what it has done to lift the defense to new heights, Chris Emma of CBS Chciago writes the secondary is playing inspired football. After going without an interception in each of its six games, Bears defenders have picked off four in the last two – three of which have come from defensive backs.
- The youth movement in the secondary continues to pay off, as safeties Adrian Amos and Eddie Jackson, as well as cornerback Kyle Fuller are playing excellent football. The same can be said for free agent addition Prince Amukamara, who has played on each of the Bears’ 215 defensive snaps over the last three weeks and is Pro Football Focus’ 24th highest-graded cornerback.
- With the defense providing the heavy lifting, Chicago’s offense goes back to the lab in search of improvement. The Bears’ run-pass balance seems to fit the team’s plan to develop its rookie quarterback, writes John Mullin of NBC Sports Chicago. Offensive Coordinator Dowell Loggains’ reliance on the run is change from what was expected after last season when the Bears threw the ball 61 percent of the time, which was a departure from a more balanced 54-46 pass-run ratio run by the Bears when Adam Gase was calling the plays for Jay Cutler.
- Still, Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald writes this kind of offensive approach isn’t sustainable. The Bears will eventually be forced to take the training wheels off Trubisky and allow the quarterback to make some throws downfield. Yes, there will be more risk when a rookie quarterback is putting it in the air than when the sure-handed Jordan Howard is pounding it through the line. However, while we’re seeing young defensive players develop in front of our eyes, we’re reminded Trubisky needs to develop his game, too.
- And yet, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune notes John Fox is happy with his offense because it isn’t turning the ball over at an alarming rate as it was during Mike Glennon’s tenure. Timing is everything, and while there is no opportune time to give the ball to the opposition, Glennon’s turnovers often gave offenses a short field to work with and put the Bears defense in a bad spot. At minimum, Fox would like to end every offensive possession with a kick – whether it comes as a PAT, field goal attempt, or even a punt that can help swing the battle for field position. Fox should want more from his offense, but considering the weapons on that side of the ball, a more conservative approach might be more in-line with what this team’s strengths are right now.