Chicago Bears: Three things Mitch Trubisky must focus on Monday night

(Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) /

How will Mitch Trubisky and the Chicago Bears handle the aggressive Minnesota Vikings defense on Monday Night Football?

With each passing day, the excitement around Mitch Trubisky’s NFL debut continues to build.

I mean, as a Chicago Bears fan, how can you not love what you hear about him?

His confidence, competitiveness and even-keeled nature radiate from him every time he speaks, even dating back to preseason. And when he made mistakes, he never let it rattle him, always seeming to elevate his play with time.

And when you listen to Leonard Floyd talk about how he delighted in picking apart the first-team defense as the scout team quarterback?

While his ascension as the Chicago Bears starting quarterback had a lot to do with Mike Glennon playing awfully, you have to believe that everyone knew this move was coming at some point this season. The rookie’s been establishing himself as an alpha in the Bears’ locker room since August.

Now that he’s getting his chance against a tough Minnesota Vikings defense on Monday Night Football, what will he need to do to be successful?

Of course, the Chicago Bears must still look to establish Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen on the ground. But that will be no easy task against the Vikings’ fifth-ranked rushing defense. More likely than not, this game may come down to how Trubisky handles what the Vikings throw at him.

Can he get plays in quickly while also reading the Vikings’ defense pre-snap? And as the play unfolds, can he process what he’s seeing and get the ball out of his hands before Linval Joseph, Everson Griffen and company crush him?

We’ll see on Monday, of course. In the meantime, here are a few things that the Chicago Bears should be telling Trubisky to focus on when he hits the field for his first start.

If he executes these things, among others, he could be the toast of the town, and of the league, Tuesday morning.

chicago bears zach miller
chicago bears zach miller /

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

1. Spread the Ball Around

While I’ll discuss some of the ways in which the Chicago Bears can make plays with their receivers later, the fact remains that they’re going to be a few cards shy of a full deck from here on out.

Unless Tre McBride turns out to be the next coming of Cameron Meredith, I don’t see any receiver becoming a true top target for Trubisky right now.

And no, guys, I don’t think Tanner Gentry will be that guy when he gets promoted.

So, the tight ends and running backs will have to keep sharing the pass-catching burden with the wide receivers this season. As such, Trubisky must aim to distribute the ball to as many different people as he can this season.

Against the Minnesota Vikings, that philosophy should serve him well.

More from Da Windy City

While the Lions didn’t exactly torch the Vikings through the air (209 passing yards allowed) last week, eight different receivers caught a pass from Matthew Stafford. Of those eight, six had at least two catches for 25 yards or more.

Furthermore, they got four catches and 67 yards out of tight ends Darren Fells (40) and Eric Ebron (27). As such, expect Trubisky to look for Zach Miller, Dion Sims and, when he’s in the game, Adam Shaheen.

Given how tough the Vikings’ pass rush – they sacked Stafford six times – the Bears should be drawing up plays to get the ball out of Trubisky’s hands quickly. And if the offensive line can keep him clean, he might be able to make some throws against a secondary allowing a 67.83% completion percentage (27th overall).

Well, as long as they follow one simple rule, that is…

trae waynes minnesota vikings
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

2. Target Trae Waynes

Memo to Trubisky and the Chicago Bears: do not mess with Xavier Rhodes.

Whatever receiver he lines up across from can go take a lap for all I care.

That said, his counterpart, Trae Waynes, has looked plenty vulnerable basically since he got into the league. And although he had a decent game against DeSean Jackson last week, he’s the weaker link of their starting corner tandem by far.

On paper, Waynes has all the raw ability to be a very good corner, with outstanding speed and athleticism. And he shows glimpses of that from time to time.

But far too often, the third-year corner struggles to play the football well and stick with receivers down the field. So, if the Chicago Bears want to push the ball with Trubisky, he’s the man they should attack.

Last Sunday, with the Vikings in Cover 2 man defense on second-and-10, he (top of your screen) gives up an 11-yard completion to T.J. Jones for a first down.

There’s nothing terribly special about this: Jones just runs a hitch right in front of him, and he’s too slow to react. Also, why is a guy with 4.31 speed giving his man that much cushion?

Well, maybe it has something to do with him getting pantsed a few times over the top. That’s Tommylee Lewis (yeah…who?) from the New Orleans Saints throwing him in the toaster with a double-move (bottom of your screen).

I’m thinking that a nice play-action fake could give Trubisky a chance to kill Waynes at some point Monday night. And if that opportunity comes, I would love to see him seize it.

chicago bears mitch trubisky
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

3. Be Ready to Run

At points in his first NFL game and throughout his rookie season, Trubisky will see things that confuse him. It’s only natural for a young quarterback facing other NFL defenses for the first time.

When he does get lost and the pocket collapses, he needs to know when to just get out of dodge. And that will be one of the more interesting aspects of how he performs in his first game.

In particular, the red zone might necessitate Trubisky using his athleticism to break down Minnesota in close quarters. Given that they’ve only surrendered touchdowns on 38.46% of their red zone trips, he’ll likely need to use every tool at his disposal.

Here, the Detroit Lions go with an empty backfield to spread the Vikings out on second-and-goal from the 7-yard-line. Interestingly, Minnesota counters by dropping seven men into coverage, playing man-to-man on the outsides of the field.

However, instead of going with a standard Cover 0 (“zero pressure”) look and sending extra pass rushers, safety Andrew Sendejo and corner Terrance Newman double Ebron as the two linebackers sit in the middle of the field eating up the crossing route.

The result? Stafford hesitates on his throw to Ebron when he sees the safety coming. Then, he waits too long to escape the pocket, and he ends up getting eaten by Linval Joseph.

On one hand, I would take a quick, decisive throw by Trubisky in this case, assuming it hits the target. But if that’s not there, I would hope Trubisky tries to escape the pocket and make a play.

By using his athleticism and ability to throw on the run, he could foil the Vikings’ attempts to bait him into bad throws. Plus, he can help put their hellacious pass rush on their heels a little bit.

Next: Five players to watch on Monday Night Football

No one truly knows what to expect from Trubisky on Monday night against the Vikings. But I can tell you one thing: if only for this week, the Chicago Bears just became appointment viewing again.