Well, it finally happened. The debut of rookie Mitch Trubisky marked the beginning of a new, hopefully successful era for the Chicago Bears. He ended the night completing 12 of his 25 pass attempts for 128 yards, a touchdown, an interception, and a fumble lost. While it was clear from the opening series that Mitch has much of what it takes to be an elite quarterback in the NFL, there were some rookie mistakes that he will have to learn from.
The Bears are going to have a lot of fun running the play-action bootleg with Mitch Trubisky under center. That isn’t a fact, that’s a guarantee. With the late success of Cohen and Howard running to the left side, defenses will have a tendency to bite on a play fake. That mixed with Trubisky’s solid footwork and mobility will give him plenty of opportunities to roll out and find a receiver on the run. We saw it a handful of times during the preseason and a few more times last night.
It took less than two minutes for it to be made apparent that this kid can flat-out sling the football. Mitch has a cannon. Just ask Kendall Wright. During the first series for the Bears, Trubisky threw towards the sideline to a diving Wright for a completion of 12 yards and a first down. The ball was thrown firmly into a minuscule window just out of the reach of Trae Waynes. On the following play Trubisky found Wright yet again, this time throwing a bullet over the middle that Wright was barely able to hold onto. It’s nice to see a quarterback release the ball with such speed and confidence.
While it’s no secret that his ability to throw the football is one of his most impressive attributes, it was Trubisky’s elusiveness and ability to sense pressure that kept a few Chicago drives going. He stepped up in the pocket when he needed to and was able to free himself from danger by escaping the pocket while keeping his eyes downfield, especially in the second half. As Jon Gruden said, “This is one of the things he [Trubisky] brings to the table, he’s gonna be able to create some offense that’s unscripted.”
There were some mishaps that could have and probably should have been avoided. Although starting your first game on Monday night with the weight of your city resting on your shoulders isn’t the simplest task, it is important that Trubisky learns from his mistakes and rights the ship for the sake of the future.
There were a few instances where Trubisky may have led his receivers into some danger. For example, late in the 2nd quarter Mitch felt the pressure from the Vikings 6-man rush and quickly heaved a pass down the seam to Marcus Wheaton who was being trailed by Trae Waynes. Trubisky clearly didn’t see safety Andrew Sendejo who met Wheaton with a vicious hit that ultimately broke up the pass. The rookie must be weary when leading his teammates into those situations. With a a thin receiving core as it is, it’s important that there are no major injuries to this offense. Learn when to check down.
Furthermore, Trubisky needs to learn when to take a shot and when to play it safe and throw the ball out of bounds. When he’s rolling out, he needs to be able to quickly decide when there’s nothing down the field. After making that decision, he must decide whether to tuck the ball and run with it or to throw it 15 rows deep. The mistake he made by trying to force the ball to Zach Miller on 1st down late in the 4th quarter virtually decided the game. Though Harrison Smith made a really good play on the ball, the whole situation could have been avoided. Get rid of it. Live to play another down.
All in all, Mitch’s numbers don’t really tell the whole story of his performance against Minnesota and its significance. He displayed his impressive build along with a variety of skills that include speed, mobility, and arm strength. The Bears will need to fill a few holes on the offensive side of the ball in order to help the kid grow into what the franchise expects him to be. For now, if he works on his weaknesses during the short week Bears fans should be hopeful that next Sunday can result in a victory against the Baltimore Ravens.