Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace gambled when he traded up to draft quarterback Mitch Trubisky with the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Head Coach John Fox took a risk of his own in Week 5 when he tabbed the rookie to replace Mike Glennon as the team’s starting quarterback.
Whether Pace going out on a limb will pay off will be determined over time, the short-term bet placed on Trubisky by his head coach (who is still currently on the hot seat, mind you) could turn out to be the thing that solidifies Pace’s selection. Go figure.
Trubisky has grown in his nine starts with the Bears, with the biggest sign of progress coming in the team’s Week 14 win against the Cincinnati Bengals. It’s not just that he completed 78 percent of his throws, it was the type of throws he was asked (and willing) to make that proved to be biggest sign of Trubisky’s development.
Check out his throw chart from Week 14, via NFL.com’s NextGen Stats:
Trubisky threw 11 passes that traveled 10+ yards in the air against the Bengals, proving that Offensive Coordinator Dowell Loggains was willing to expand the team’s playbook and extend the field vertically – which is something opposing defenses haven’t had to account for much in 2017. Trubisky completed seven of those passes against the Bengals … after throwing just one such pass in Week 13 against the San Francisco 49ers.
However, Trubisky probably doesn’t take the steps he did in Week 14 without showing what he did a week earlier. Here is a look at that particular chart from NFL.com’s NextGen Stats:
Trubisky completed 12 of 15 passes, but gained just 102 passing yards – and the one pass that had some traveling distance resulted in a touchdown. Go figure.
Because the 49ers dominated time of possession, the Bears offense ran 37 plays and limited Trubisky’s growth potential in the progress. And yet, Trubisky took strides in the small sample by showing off improved footwork, mechanics, and decision-making in a game where the Bears played it close to the vest. It wasn’t pretty, nor did it help the Bears win a game they should have won handily, but it was helpful.
Trubisky’s biggest steps have come over the last five games, where has completed 65.9 percent of his passes and posted a 90.6 passer rating. And while he isn’t even averaging 200 passing yards per game, it’s a significant improvement from the 49.7 percent completion rate and 75.7 passer rating he owned in his first four starts.
After nine starts, this is what Trubisky’s season-long passer rating chart looks like:
Sure, there is some red, but that big green patch down the left sideline and the swaths of yellow are encouraging if you’re thinking about the big picture.
And as a point of comparison, here is Mike Glennon’s:
That’s waaaaaaaay too much red for a quarterback who spent a significant amount of time learning the position in a low-pressure backup role.
Glennon was brought into be a placeholder until the Bears found their quarterback of the future. As it turns out, the Bears might have drafted that guy a month after signing Glennon to a three-year deal that featured $18 million in guarantees. That Glennon was making what amounted to rookie mistakes ultimately cost him his job. And that Trubisky has cut back on those missteps nine games into his rookie season goes a long way toward showing how much he has grown in just nine starts.
Here’s to seeing what start No. 10 has in store for the player who wears ’10’ on his uniform.