Payton Presser: Trubisky gave us hope, joy & rookie mistakes in his Bears debut
Last time we talked, the Bears had just got it handed to them on a Thursday night in Green Bay. The next morning, I wrote my letter to you guys about unleashing Mitchell Trubisky. We all got our wish, since I know I wasn’t alone. Trubisky was underneath center for his first career NFL start. Even with the change at QB, there were questions that lingered in my mind heading into the week 5 match-up against the Minnesota Vikings. How would Trubisky fare in his first outing? Could the Bears find a way to rebound from their last outing? Would the defense be able to step up with all the injuries? What I’ve seen so far is an unpredictable John Fox team. With the rookie taking over as signal caller, would he bring a spark to a struggling offense, and also ignite the defense? It was not the outcome that I predicted, But the Bears were fun to watch in all three phases of the game. Just as I thought would happen with Trubisky, the Bears had some good plays and bad plays in their 20-17 loss to the Vikings. Let’s jump in to some of my takeaways.
Monday, October 9th will be a Chicago sports day that I will never forget. The sports day started off with the Cubs beating the Nationals in Game 3 of the NLDS and ended with the Bears on Monday Night Football. What made it so special was the first career start for rookie Mitchell Trubisky. Bears fans, it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for since the Bears moved up to select him 2nd overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. I can’t lie. I was nervous from the moment I woke up because Trubisky is a symbol of hope for me as a lifelong Bears fan. Not that I don’t believe in the young man. I think he has the skills to be special. But when you have a history at QB like the Bears over the last 25 years, there’s always going to be doubt. His Monday Night Football outing was just as I expected. I thought I would see flashes of the guy I saw in preseason and also a rookie making rookie mistakes. Trubisky finished the night going 12 of 25 for 128 yards, 1 touchdown, a fumble and a costly interception late in the game. When he watches that interception on film he will know you have to throw it away and live to fight another day. One thing he did in the preseason and was able to continue was his ability to throw on the run. I’m impressed with his ball placement, but let’s not forget that the kid has wheels. Now the challenge is going to be how he handles his next step in becoming a starting QB and that’s playing on the road. Baltimore is not an easy place to play. But these experiences will hopefully be beneficial in the long run. Monday wasn’t the outcome we all hoped for, but the Bears offense has a new life with number 10 under center. #MoneyMakingMitch
Penalties will hurt you
Monday night the Bears played hard, but they also hurt themselves with the costly penalties that either kept the opposing offense on the field or backed up their own offensive drives and took points off the board. I don’t have time to run through all of them, but the Bears had 8 penalties for 55 yards. OK, maybe there’s one we can talk about, being a running back by trade: The holding call on Markus Wheaton that canceled Jordan Howard’s 42 yard touchdown run. It was a questionable holding call in my opinion. I’m not mad at Wheaton. I’m just upset that it took 6 and possibly 7 points off the board. No team ever plays a perfect game. But the Bears have to play close to it if they want to win more games this season.
Injuries are still a thing
The injuries still seem to be one of the biggest stories over the past two years. Yes, I just said two years! We said this Bears team couldn’t afford any serious injuries to key members on the roster. Defensively, this team is losing players every week. The middle linebacker position is bare bones at the moment. Cornerback Marcus Cooper was inactive on Monday night as he has been dealing with back spasms. So that means Vic Fangio’s unit was missing five starters. It hurts because in some ways we are not getting to see how good the defense could really be.
Even in the loss there was some good that came out of the night. First would have to be the call by Jeff Rodgers and Fox having the guts to call the fake punt. On the Bears first drive in the 3rd quarter, Pat O’Donnell came in to punt on fourth down and six on Minnesota’s 38 yard line. He got the snap and found Benny Cunningham open up the middle. Cunningham caught the ball and juked a few guys on his way to a 38-yard touchdown. Next would have to be the Bears 2-point conversion. First, Trubisky handed it off to Jordan Howard, who then handed it off to Zach Miller, who then flipped the option pitch to Trubisky for two points. Seeing Leonard Floyd ball out was definitely a good thing. Floyd had 2 sacks and 6 solo tackles on the evening. He is the guy in the Bears defense that has so much promise. I want to see him stack another good performance Sunday. What more can you say about Akiem Hicks? The dude comes to play every game. Doesn’t matter if he’s got one man on him or he’s trying to split a double team, the dude can ball. He racked up two sacks as well on the night. I need more good things to keep happening for the Bears.
I would be lying if I told you last night still doesn’t sting, but I did walk out of Soldier Field feeling charged up and ready for Sunday to roll around. It was the start of a new beginning for this Bears franchise. I would love to predict the future of Trubisky, but I’m OK in waiting this journey out. I want to watch Trubisky make progress every time he steps on the field. I’m also ready to see him struggle during this journey. It’s all part of the process. This is what I’ve been waiting for and I’m guessing what you’ve been waiting for as well. I woke up with the feeling of hope. The hope that number 10 has the tools to one day be the QB we’ve been waiting for. That’s why seeing him play now is great. But I would love to see where this team would have been and how much farther along had he started the season as the starting QB. Time to move forward and focus on what’s next and that’s a trip to Baltimore for a date with the 3-2 Ravens. Now that there’s game tape on Trubisky, it will be interesting to see how the Ravens will play him defensively. I’m also interested to see how he makes adjustments in his game from week to week. This is what I signed up for and I’ve got my seatbelt buckled and ready for the ride. #Beardown