Bears rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky has shown some growth since the bye week – and it certainly helps that the offense has been opened up a bit – but he’s far from a finished product. Indeed, there is a growing trend that serves as cause for concern.
Trubisky has a fourth-quarter passer rating of 63.9 to go along with a 32.9 rating while trailing with less than four minutes to go in the game. For whatever reason, Trubisky tends to fade in the second half, evidenced by his not-so-nice 69.1 rating after halftime compared to his first-half rating of 87.2.
But it’s not as if his teammates are going to lose faith in their rookie signal caller. Offensive guard Josh Sitton sees the upside Trubisky brings to the table and feels that will soon translate to fourth-quarter success.
“You can just see it on his face,” said guard Josh Sitton, via NBC Sports Chicago’s John Mullin. “I don’t think he really says anything, he doesn’t really need to say anything, you can kind of see it, by that look in his eyes. He’s got what it takes to be a great player in this league.”
To be fair, Trubisky has been a strong starter and that seems to bode well for a team that just scored its first opening-drive points of the season in Week 11. Trubisky owns an impressive 104.5 quarterback rating in the first quarter. He’s completed 66.7 percent of his passes, averaged 8.8 yards per attempt, and has been sacked just once in 34 drop-backs.
Still, this isn’t a problem that will just go away overnight. Trubisky has been late/close situations in which he’s been given the ball to orchestrate a game-tying or game-winning drive in the fourth quarter in five of his six starts. To his credit, he did engineer a successful game-winning drive on the road to pick up a win against the Baltimore Ravens.
This isn’t as much a criticism of Trubisky as it is a noting of something that should be at the top of the list to work on as this season continues. Good teams often drive home the importance of successful practice habits in red zone, goal line, and two-minute situations … and it’s up to the Bears’ coaching staff to drill Trubisky in the same manner. The M.O. for Fox’s teams in Chicago has been to play good defense, eliminate turnovers, and be in a position to win games late. That’s why seven of the Bears’ 10 games have been decided by eight points or less in 2017.
If Fox wants to retain his job for 2018 though, he’ll need Trubisky to take that step in his development the next time the Bears put him in another late/close situation.