Chicago Bears: Has the pocket presence of Mitch Trubisky gotten worse?

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bears Mitch Trubisky
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The bad: Trubisky’s pocket presence lately

Against the Carolina Panthers, Trubisky was sacked four times. He was sacked twice against the New Orleans Saints and five times against the Green Bay Packers. In all, that is 11 sacks, which is close to four per game.

Now, don’t forget that Trubisky is a guy that prides himself on his mobility, which helps him avoid being sacked. I’m not saying that Trubisky is never going to get sacked. No quarterback is perfect, but the way he is getting sacked, as well as the number of times he is getting sacked, is startling.

After the Broncos game on August 10th, Trubisky was asked if he has a natural knack for taking off when he needs to:

"Yeah man, who wants to get tackled? Who wants to get sacked? Not me. No negative plays, right? So, yeah I’m going to take off, and I think my linemen appreciate that, too. They don’t want the cute QB to hold the ball too long, so I’m going through my progression. If it’s not there, I’m trying to pick a seam and get down and take care of myself, as well.  So, I think that’s important. Just creating positive plays, and the defense has got to account for that, as well. So hopefully, that will open some things up, too. Yeah, I don’t want to get tackled."

So, he talks about finding a seam and running with it if there is no where to throw the ball. He also talks about limiting negative plays and the importance of not taking sacks. Ok, remember that.

So, let me say it again. Trubisky has been sacked 11 times over his past three games, including five times against the Packers last week. Why the sudden shift in mentality? The answer is clear to me: faulty coaching. Now, let me show you what I’m talking about.

On this play, the offense is already in field goal range on third down. Zach Miller is the open receiver in the flat. Trubisky holds onto it for far too long and takes the sack, which makes it a very tough field goal opportunity. Did you see him hold onto the ball like this against Minnesota and Baltimore?

Here is another third down play. I understand it’s 3rd and 15 and Trubisky is trying to make a big play, but the receiving options are poor and aren’t going to beat the deep zone defense of the Panthers. Tanner Gentry is wide open underneath and picking up a few yards is always better than taking the sack. No negative plays is what Trubisky said, remember?

On this play, no receivers have had a chance to get open, since the routes have not fully developed by the time Trubisky is getting pressured. Here is my problem. It’s almost like he steps into the sack. Against the Vikings, he ran the other way (away from the pressure). If he did that here, even if the defensive end disengages from Massie, Trubisky would at least have a shot at throwing the ball away.

“Who are you and what have you done with Mitch Trubisky?” is exactly what I was thinking on this play. I don’t even recognize Trubisky, here. I know the weapons stink, but he had so much time to throw the ball away. He even dives down when he knows he’s about to get hit, so I know he realizes he’s under pressure.

Against Minnesota or Baltimore, he would either throw the ball away or throw it up for a receiver to see if they could make a play. Have Fox and Loggains been telling Trubisky to not risk a critical mistake, which is forcing him to freeze?

I think Trubisky was thinking he had a wide open alley to run here. However, Packers’ pass rusher Nick Perry was spying him on the play, and brought him down for a sack. It did not appear that Trubisky was in any kind of pressure on the play, and instead stepped into pressure.

This was the worst one of the day. Hopefully, it’s the worst one of Trubisky’s career. You can never take a sack on a “naked”, especially near the endzone. Trubisky acknowledged this, after the game. He said that, although it appeared Bellamy was wide open, he really wasn’t open. Basically, the corner was trapping him, in other words, baiting him to throw it. However, Trubisky also said that he can never take a sack on that play, too.

The good news is that Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson did this in his second year as a pro. It was the 2013 NFC championship game against the San Francisco 49ers. At least Trubisky didn’t fumble it like Wilson did!

So, let me reiterate. I believe a lot of this stems from the Harrison Smith interception. Trubisky has gone from trying to make a play to throwing the ball away to holding onto it and taking sacks.

I believe that the biggest reason behind this is head coach John Fox. I will bet you that Fox has told Trubisky to not make mistakes that cost the team the game. This has Trubisky hesitating and second guessing, at times. It is almost like he is paralyzed some plays.

I feel like Trubisky is going to be a pro bowl quarterback, but right now, his pocket awareness is not good. The only way this is going to get better is if the coaching staff opens up the playbook and tells him to play freely. The shackles need to be taken off. It’s like Loggains and Fox are in the huddle and in Trubisky’s head when he’s throwing.

Next: Could Jim Bob Cooter be of interest to the Chicago Bears this offseason?

Unfortunately, this is never going to change with this coaching staff. So, it is up to Pace to find the right head coach to properly groom and develop Trubisky before it’s too late.