Chicago Bears: Fans need history lesson on Mitch Trubisky

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

Chicago Bears fans dissecting every one of Mitch Trubisky’s plays need a little perspective — and better memories.

I like to think that I have a very good long-term memory though what I’m about to dredge up for Chicago Bears fans is not buried in the deep recesses of my brain. To the contrary, it’s at the forefront in my brain, having only occurred less than one year ago.

Ahhh, I remember it well. It was a crisp, fall afternoon in September of 2017, and the NFL season had just kicked off. Deshaun Watson took the field for the Houston Texans in a 29-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. He’d finish a pedestrian 12-23 for 102 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. However, over the course of the next six games, before his season-ending knee injury, he threw 18 touchdowns to only 8 interceptions and had “set the league on fire.”

While impressive, it’s important to note that he did so while only completing 61 percent of his passes. Nevertheless, Bears fans everywhere lost their collective minds over Ryan Pace’s decision to trade up for Mitch Trubisky and pass on an obvious star in Watson.

Later that same season, The New England Patriots sent Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers in a blockbuster trade for a mere second-round pick. Once again, Bears fans were prepared to set the world on fire, wondering how in the world Pace couldn’t pull off a similar trade before drafting Trubisky. All Garoppolo did last season was finish the season 5-1, completing 67 percent of his passes, while throwing seven touchdowns to five interceptions.

Fast forward to the present day and Bears fans are enamored with the current NFL heart-throb, Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs. Mahomes has thrown a remarkable 10 touchdowns to zero interceptions and has the Chief’s offense humming along. So much so, that Bears fans have once again retrieved their pitchforks and are ready to go after Pace, as Trubisky’s progression this season has not come as fast as they’d like.

Notably absent from this group of Bears fans is any mention of Watson or Garoppolo. Why? Well, I’m glad you asked. It could be because Garoppolo has completed 56 percent of his passes through two games with three touchdowns and three interceptions. It could also be because Watson hasn’t fared much better, completing only 59 percent for three touchdowns and two interceptions.

In any event, those statistics must be light years ahead of Trubisky’s this season. Wait, I’m now being told that’s actually not true and that Trubisky has completed 69 percent of his passes while throwing two touchdowns and two interceptions.

So I realize those stats aren’t an apples-to-apples comparison and there are a lot of other variables to consider. My point, though, is why isn’t the same crowd still clamoring for Garoppolo and Watson over Trubisky? Have they already written them off and jumped to the latest and greatest, represented by Mahomes?

Does that crowd only care about statistics of young quarterbacks and not necessarily their development? Would those same fans have written off future Hall of Famer Troy Aikman after his first 11 games? Judging by Aikman’s numbers through those 11 games, they surely would have — especially if they are ready to abandon Trubisky who posted similar, if not better numbers.

The main takeaway here is that a young quarterback’s progression is not linear. You have to expect ups and downs along the way. Fans who don’t take a more measured, and patient approach are setting themselves up for failure. After his first two seasons, there wasn’t a single expert who didn’t think Robert Griffin, III was a franchise quarterback. The same could have been said after Dak Prescott‘s rookie year.

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Now, none of this is to suggest that Prescott, Watson, and Garoppolo won’t be eventual stars in the league. It is, however, meant to suggest that unlike every other aspect of our lives where instant gratification reigns supreme, maybe we should wait to pass judgment on these quarterbacks — Trubisky included.