While there is a considerable amount of focus on what Mitch Trubisky’s arm talent can do for an offense dedicated to stretching the field vertically, his ability to make plays with his legs shouldn’t get lost in the shuffle. To that end, one of his teammates is setting lofty expectations for what Trubisky can do with his legs in 2018.
“I can see him getting 40 to 60 yards per game,” right tackle Bobby Massie told the Chicago Sun-Times. “You’re definitely going to see his athleticism.” Well, then.
A little bit of back-of-the-envelope math shows that Massie sees the Bears’ quarterback running for anywhere between 640 and 960 yards this coming season. Talk about a second-year leap! And while those numbers are a bit on the high end, consider that Alex Smith averaged 334 rushing yards per season in Kansas City (where Bears head coach Matt Nagy was the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator) and had three years where he gained at least 350 yards. Clearly, the Chiefs offense knew how to handle a quarterback who could move around.
Trubisky showed a sense of when to shuffle around in the pocket to keep plays alive and scramble for chunks of yards at times during his rookie season. However, I’m not sure the Bears used enough designed runs to truly take advantage of his athleticism. An increased focus on that aspect of his skill set will make Trubisky more of a threat in Matt Nagy’s offense than it was in whatever Loggains is running.
However, the Bears should be cautious with running Trubisky too often. As the franchise quarterback, there’s a ton of risk that goes into running too much. Obviously, Trubisky needs to be smart with his decisions and definitely needs to develop a risk calculus when it comes to using his legs. Still, I’m curious to see how innovative the offense can be with the addition of this element.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the Bears’ offense is going to look like something we haven’t seen in Chicago in quite some time next season. A major chunk of the difference will come in the Bears’ passing game, as there will be more of an emphasis on stretching the field and getting the ball to playmakers in space. Adding a competent passing attack that isn’t relegated to dink-and-dunk drop-off passes in the flat also figures to help boost a running game that was still productive despite its predictability.
At minimum, it’s going to look completely different than what Dowell Loggains ran under John Fox the last two seasons. And that’s just great with us.