When Mitch Trubisky showed a basic level of competence running an offense during the preseason, we didn’t expect accuracy to be an issue if and when he was promoted to the first string – Trubisky completed 67.9 percent of his passes and threw 53 attempts without an interception.
Sure, the completion percentage was expected to take a dip, while the interceptions were certainly going to come once he faced the next level of competition, but overall it wasn’t much of a consideration.
But the drop in completion percentage (which is down 15.1 percentage points from the preseason) is a bit alarming for a player whose accuracy was billed as a strength by GM Ryan Pace. At least Trubisky, who seems to be his own harshest critic when analyzing his play in front of the assembled media at Halas Hall, seems to have a grip on why accuracy has eluded him:
“I had bad footwork in the game and that usually leads to bad accuracy,” Trubisky told reporters on Wednesday (you can also watch video below). “Then timing. A lot of throws in the game are throws that I made and throw on time, and because of bad footwork and bad timing, it caused a couple of throws to be off.”
And how did this happen?
“Sometimes I did perfect footwork. Other times I was off by a step,” Trubisky explained. “Other times a bucket step where I’m not in line. Other times I’m fading in the pocket, moving when I don’t need to move because of the rush. Sometimes you feel those things as a quarterback and you’ve got to fix them. And I will.”
It’s possible a change in personnel could help matters.
While making accurate passes wasn’t expected to be a problem for Trubisky, finding proper timing with his receivers was something he was going to deal with as soon as he entered the starting lineup. The only pass catchers on the active roster Trubisky worked extensively with in the preseason were wide receiver Josh Bellamy and tight end Adam Shaheen.
It’s a small sample, but maybe it isn’t a coincidence that Trubisky has been his most efficient and effective when targeting Shaheen and Bellamy. Trubisky has completed 7 of 8 passes for 81 yards, gained four first downs, and posted a 148.4 passer rating when throwing to Shaheen. The sample is smaller when throwing to Bellamy, but the two did connect on a big play touchdown against the Green Bay Packers in Week 10. Combined, Trubisky has completed 9 of 15 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns when targeting Shaheen and Bellamy, good enough for a 130 passer rating.
At minimum, getting Shaheen – and his 6-foot-6, 278-pound frame – more involved in the passing game could help Trubisky find some confidence and tack on a few more points to his completion percentage.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) November 29, 2017