Quarterback Mitch Trubisky is "Poised to Take the Next Step" and Other Notes

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Quarterback Mitch Trubisky is “Poised to Take the Next Step” and Other Notes

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears retweeted this and I’ve never been more fascinated by a work of art:

https://twitter.com/Johnny_FB13/status/964192727595409410

  • Kyle Long gets to block for a pretty good running back in Jordan Howard, who has rushed for 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons – something Walter Payton never did in his illustrious career. I’d be curious to see what advanced statistics would have to say about Payton’s game. We figure they’d be great. Luckily, we get to see where Howard stacks up beyond the stat sheet thanks to modern technology. Matt Harmon writes Howard ranked as the fourth-most-elusive running back in the NFL in 2017, according to data from NFL.com’s NextGen Stats. Howard finished first in the category as a rookie, so clearly he is a tough one to bring down. Only Derrick Henry (Titans), Dion Lewis (Patriots), and Kareem Hunt (Chiefs) ranked higher. Seeing Hunt at the top spot makes me wonder how new coach Matt Nagy – who was Hunt’s offensive coordinator in Kansas City – will use Howard in 2018.
  • While much of the offseason focus has been on improving at receiver, part of me wants to see what Howard can do at full strength when Mitch Trubisky has receiving targets defenses must respect. Over at NFL.com, analyst (and former first-round quarterback) David Carr believes Trubisky’s stock is on the rise heading into 2018. Carr has settled into his post-NFL career as an analyst and some of his best insight comes when dissecting the position he once played.  Carr believes Trubisky is in a “perfect situation” to take a step forward in his development after the team hired Nagy, who helped elevate Alex Smith’s career in Kansas City. Combining Trubisky’s toughness, accuracy, and leadership with Howard and the running game, a healthy offensive line, quality defense, and a new coach could lead to big things in 2018.
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
  • You’ll want to read Carr’s entire analysis, but it’s interesting that two quarterbacks with new head coaches are seen as having “down” stocks, while a third (Andrew Luck) has major injury concerns that could have played a role in Josh McDaniels declining a head coaching opportunity in Indianapolis.
  • Let’s circle back to the defense for a moment. The Bears finished in the top-10 in scoring defense and total yards despite using five different starting outside linebackers in 2017. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune analyzes the situation, which was bleak for a chunk of the year due to the always persistent injury bug. Perhaps we haven’t given enough credit to Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio for keeping the ship afloat despite the challenges his unit faced at that particular position.
  • With great cap space, comes great responsibility. And if the Bears are going to clear out up to $60 million with roster cuts, that means they’ll need to sign some players to replace the ones they parted ways with. Over at Bleacher Report, Kristopher Knox dives into each team’s biggest question heading into the offseason. For the Bears, it’s obvious as answering who will be catching passes from Mitch Trubisky is the team’s top question. Knox sees the Bears’ receiving situation as bleak, writing the team might not have a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver on its roster. So while shoring up the cornerback position ranks high on the priority list, finding a top-flight receiver and other high-caliber pass-catching options is a more dire need.
  • Among the players whose departure could clear significant cap space is quarterback Mike Glennon, who is all but scheduled to leave town having cashed in on what was essentially a one-year deal worth around $18 million. Good money if you can get it, but in the end, the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze for the Bears. Jordy McElroy of FanRag Sports Network describes the Glennon signing as “a disaster from the start” and there’s really no way to sugar-coat that.
  • HOWEVER, it’s the Bears’ aggressiveness in addressing the quarterback position (by drafting Trubisky) that softens the blow of Glennon busting out in his one year in Chicago. It’s obvious the Bears saw Glennon as a short-term fill-in, but drafted Trubisky to ensure there was a possible long-term solution in place if things didn’t work out. And in the end, all it cost was some money. It didn’t even have a long-term negative impact on the salary cap situation. The Glennon signing was a dud, but could’ve been much worse.
  • As a reminder, free agency isn’t the only way the Bears can improve their roster – it’s just the first of many avenues the team will travel. There is still the matter of April’s NFL Draft, where the Bears can build toward their goal of creating a sustainable winner. In Luke Easterling’s most recent three-round mock draft, the Bears select Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith with the eighth pick and Florida State receiver Auden Tate with their second-round selection. With Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson board, Easterling sees the Bears going defense with Smith. An inside linebacker might not be the most pressing need, but Smith was impressive during the college football playoffs and his tackling prowess would be welcome in the middle of the Bears defense alongside Danny Trevathan. Tate has second-round sleeper written all over him. Instability at quarterback put a dent in his receiving numbers, but he still came away with 10 touchdowns in the 40 passes he caught as a junior. The Bears could definitely use a physical, big-bodied receiver like the 6-5, 225 Tate. As for the Bears’ third-round pick, well, they don’t have one. Yet.
  • We say “yet” because the Bears could always trade around in the draft and come up with a third-round pick. Perhaps one of those trade partners will be the Arizona Cardinals. Team owner Michael Bidwell has made it clear via the team’s official website that the front office will be aggressively addressing their quarterback conundrum. Might I suggest trading up with the Bears?
  • Certainly, the Cardinals would like to have someone who can get this guy the ball in 2018 now that he’s officially back for another round:



Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.