The schedule sets up favorably for the Chicago Bears.
The Chicago Bears officially named Mitchell Trubisky the starter over the weekend, and appear ready to roll into the start of the 2020 season. As we sit just five days away from the first game, fans are likely experiencing a wide variety of emotions.
Most of those emotions center around the anticipated performance of the aforementioned Trubisky. Although named the starter, it feels like this quarterback competition will last the entire season. Therefore, every single throw will be scrutinized not only by the fans but by the coaching staff as well. Without preseason games, this will be the first opportunity for the staff to see him in a game situation.
In light of that, every play will matter as the coaching staff tries to determine if Mitch will stay the quarterback. For Mitch, he will have a great opportunity to get his feet under him early in the season based on the schedule.
We discussed recently how teams tend to rely on their defense early in the season as offenses tend to take a few weeks to get into a rhythm. In this regard, the Bears have an advantage over their opponents.
However, teams without good defenses can get exposed early in the year. Enter the Bears’ first two opponents.
Chicago Bears have a golden opportunity
On Sunday, the Bears will take on the Detroit Lions, against whom Trubisky has played exceptionally well. In fact, his numbers are remarkable against the division rival, particularly against their current head coach. Against Matt Patricia’s team, he owns a 3-0 record, throwing for 866 yards, nine touchdowns, and one interception.
This is largely due to the fact that the Lions own one of the worst passing defenses in the league. According to Football Outsiders, the Lions owned the 28th ranked passing defense in 2019. His success can also be attributed to the fact that Patricia’s defense has inexplicably played a lot of man defense against Trubisky, which mitigates one of his greatest flaws — reading defenses.
In Week 2 the opponent gets a little easier, as the Bears take on the New York Giants, who ranked 30th in passing defense in 2019. Add to that a new head coach working with some new players in the secondary, and it’s hard to see them being much improved by Week 2. Therefore, this is yet another good opportunity for Trubisky to ease into the new season as he tries to build on the work he did in the offseason to improve on his weaknesses.
Candidly, however, it also means that his performances in the first couple of weeks must be evaluated against that backdrop. Unfortunately, for Mitch, he is in a bit of a lose/lose situation these first two games. If he plays well against terrible pass defenses (something he has done historically) it will be expected. However, if he plays poorly, it will increase the chorus of doubts from his detractors.
The bottom line is Mitch needs to play well the first two weeks and use those games as an opportunity to get in a rhythm for the rest of the season when the competition ratchets up significantly.