What does Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky need to do Sunday in Denver to regain — or retain — your trust?
There was perhaps no bigger storyline following the Bears’ 10-3 season-opening loss to the Packers last Thursday than “Trubisky Trust.” Does the Bears coaching staff trust Trubisky, either on the football field or in front of the media? Do Bears fans trust Trubisky to lead the team to a Super Bowl — and beyond?
Overreaction tends to run rampant following the opening week of a football season. It’s even more egregious following a loss to a division rival. And it’s further compounded by high expectations that go woefully unfilled.
Examining the career arc of Trubisky
Bears fans were high on Trubisky in his rookie season. Selected second overall in the draft, he was young and athletic with good physical tools. He was a breath of fresh air for those who had “Jay Cutler fatigue.” He also had to be better than interim starter Mike Glennon. He showed enough promise in that first season to warrant optimism when Matt Nagy was hired to be the head coach the following season.
With an innovative offensive mind calling the shots, surely Trubisky would amount to something special, right?
Trubisky’s second season — his first in Nagy’s system — had its ups and downs. He made plenty of plays with his legs and a few more with his arm, throwing six touchdowns and zero interceptions in a big victory over Tampa Bay. He also threw a number of passes off target that left you wondering, “What was he looking at?” Trubisky had enough success to become a Pro Bowl alternate. Any doubt that Bears fans might have had about Trubisky’s ability mostly were shrugged off because it was the first year of Nagy’s offense and Trubisky’s second year in the league.
Then came Year 3.
The focus of the 2019 offseason was bringing the offense up to, or near, the level of the defense. The Bears jettisoned running back Jordan Howard and drafted a younger playmaker in David Montgomery. They drafted an additional receiver in Riley Ridley and also signed an explosive playmaker in Cordarrelle Patterson.
With additional resources and an extra offseason of prep work, surely all the obstacles were out of the way for Trubisky to “take the next step.”
Then Week 1 happened and the sky began falling for all the Chicken Littles out there.
The battle lines are drawn … where do you stand on Trubisky?
Fan bases splinter as careers of high-profile athletes take shape. Unless that player happens to be one of the best of all time, fans will eventually sour on athletes during the course of their careers. Some fans have shorter leashes than others, but the seeds of doubt are sown.
So, the question at this relatively early juncture of the 2019 season is this: where do you stand on Mitch Trubisky? And, additionally: what does he need to show you against the Broncos — and moving forward — to regain — or retain — your trust?
The way I see it, Bears fans are divided into the following categories in relation to their support for, or antipathy toward, Trubisky.
Never have been a fan of Trubisky
Fans in this category hated the selection of Trubisky from the moment his name was announced at the draft. Maybe some of that disdain stemmed from general manager Ryan Pace trading up one spot to select him. Perhaps you wanted the Bears to draft Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson. Whatever the case may be, with each errant throw or perplexing decision on the football field, Trubisky has further distanced himself from the hearts of fans in this category.
Was apathetic about the draft pick, but was willing to give Trubisky a chance
If you happen to fall into this category, it’s likely that you were lukewarm about the selection of Trubisky on draft night but did not outright hate it. You might have been skeptical about his abilities, but were “on board” with the pick because you’re a Bears fan and are willing to give the GM and the drafted players the benefit of the doubt.
Didn’t like him initially, but he has captured my affection
Maybe you booed the pick of Trubisky on draft night. Perhaps you questioned why Pace felt the need to trade up one spot to take him. It could be that you had your heart set on a different quarterback, or a player at another position. In any event, you didn’t like the pick. But once he stepped onto the field and showed promise, you began to like Trubisky as Bears quarterback.
Was a fan of Trubisky initially, but he has since lost my support
If you’re a fan in this group, you’re the complete opposite of one in the previous group. You liked the pick on draft night, cheering that the Bears finally drafted a quarterback after years of employing Cutler. You were excited about Trubisky as a prospect and eager to see what he could do. However, through shaky, erratic play over the first two-plus years of his career, you just can’t summon the belief in Trubisky as the answer anymore.
Liked the draft pick, but he has instilled some doubt
Those fans who fit into this group might have just joined it Thursday night. You were a fan of Trubisky from the get-go, but admitted that he had his weaknesses. Last year you acknowledged that his poor play was due to “growing pains” and thought that his arrow was still pointing upward. But then he started making poor decisions, throwing near-picks, and misfiring on intermediate-to-deep routes. And when he laid an egg against the Packers in the season-opener last week after an offseason of preparation and expectation, you officially developed some doubts about the viability of him as a Super Bowl contending quarterback.
Have been a fan all along and I’m still on board
If you’re in this group, you just might be among the few and the proud. Trubisky is your guy. From the moment his name was announced on draft night and right through his interception in the back of the end zone last Thursday. Despite his accuracy issues, and in spite of his occasional mechanical breakdowns — including back-foot, cross-body throws into traffic that bring back shades of Cutler — you’re with Trubisky until the end.
Right now, I fall into the last category. I’m generally high on Trubisky while acknowledging that he needs to show definitive improvement this season. But I am very close to slipping into the “Trubisky has instilled some doubt” category if I don’t see that improvement within the next few games.
Which type of Bears fan are you? In which category does your Trubisky trust factor reside?