When the Chicago Bears traded up to draft Mitch Trubisky second overall in the 2017 NFL Draft, the move was questioned by NFL analysts, but also welcomed by Bears fans, who were desperate for a franchise quarterback. Knowing how things panned out with Trubisky and the Bears, it can be painful knowing we had the chance to draft Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson, both of who have had better playing careers. Despite a hot start in 2018 going 11-3 and a Pro Bowl appearance while dominating the NFC North, Trubisky’s spark with the Bears soon trickled away after a couple of years of inconsistency. But whose fault is it? Should we blame someone? Let’s take a look at what caused the former UNC standout to fail in the NFL.
The Coaching Staff
It’s tough to come out and say that the whole coaching staff was at fault, but the guy who put it together, Matt Nagy, certainly has his share of drawbacks. Trubisky has a particular style of play. Nagy, a member of Andy Reid’s coaching tree, ran an offense that was strict to a style of offense he believed in, not to that of the strength of his team leader. After the 2019 season went sour, Nagy and Trubisky were slated to meet to discuss all that went wrong and how to improve for the following year. Nagy was a no-show, while Trubisky was ready with notes and thoughts. This was the start of an already-diminishing relationship between the two.
One time during a game film session, Nagy became upset with Trubisky for not throwing to the intended receiver on the play when Trubisky instead found another open receiver who went on to score.
Matt Nagy certainly could have been more open to helping out Trubisky develop, so it’s safe to say that Nagy played arguably the biggest role in his NFL downfall.
Lack of Weapons
It’s no doubt that any successful NFL QB can amplify their quality of play with a top-tier offensive weapon. Tom Brady had Gronk. Matt Stafford had Megatron. Steve Young had Jerry Rice. Who did Trubisky have? Allen Robinson was his best bet, but really one had one good year together in 2018. Over 36 career games together, the pair posted 202 completions for 2500 yards and 14 touchdowns. The point is, with salary cap issues from defensive players like Khalil Mack and Danny Trevathan, to name a few, the Bears really couldn’t afford to sign big-name guys in the offseasons when they became available. And that’s not to say those players like Mack and Trevathan weren’t worth it, because they were and we got our money’s worth, but former GM Ryan Pace had no plans for the future when he handed out contracts, it seemed. Trubisky didn’t get top-tier weapons like Mahomes got Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill or how Deshaun Watson got Deandrew Hopkins. It’s interesting to wonder how much better Trubisky would’ve been with a top-tier weapon. Or would Magy even have incorporated him into the game plan? That’s one of those things we can wonder about, but never find out the answer to.
Lack of NFL-readiness
Obviously, there is no doubt that when you are drafted to the NFL, you are given high expectations, so when you’re drafted second overall to a QB-hungry team, those expectations and pressure is that much higher. Again, it surprised many NFL analysts on the Draft night when Trubisjy was taken considering Mahomes had a full two years of success at Texas Tech and Deshaun Watson had a National Championship under his belt. For a QB to be drafted that redshirted as a freshman at a school known more for its basketball program, it’s safe to say the thought process is questioned then, too. Trubisky wasn’t as NFL-ready as Mahomes or Watson were, and that has proven to be true time and time again. Again, coming from a school after having really only one good year should raise some questions about the QB’s readiness. Was that year a sign of success or just a false glimmer of hope? We could be seeing the same situation out in San Francisco with Trey Lance who was drafted after just a year of dominance at NDSU.
No matter who you want to blame for Mitch Trubisky’s troubles as a Bear in the NFL, the coaching staff, lack of offensive weapons, and slim collegiate experience all raise red flags. It can only pain Bears fans to know what a successful Trubisky would have looked like. But, we can only imagine we’ll probably never know.