The wait to see Mitch Trubisky operate a new offense, under a new coaching staff, and with some new (and some old) teammates won’t last much longer.
Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times tweets that Matt Nagy has confirmed Trubisky will play in the Bears’ second preseason contest on Thursday against the Bengals. And not a moment too soon, as Chris Emma of 670 The Score describes Trubisky as being sharp in practice on Monday. Trubisky sat out the team’s loss in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game against the Ravens, leaving backup Chase Daniel and third-string quarterback Tyler Bray to split the snaps in Canton.
How much Trubisky will play is yet to be determined – and he does yet have much to learn of the offense and his own abilities – which means it’s up for debate with us. While injury concerns are always top of mind during the preseason, there’s definitely value in Trubisky soaking up as many snaps as possible in order to get up to speed with the offense. Striking a balance between risking injury and running the offense in a game situation doesn’t figure to be easy and it’s something Nagy and his coaching staff have to come to between now and Thursday.
As for production, I wouldn’t worry about too much, but it would feel like a step in the right direction to see Trubisky top what he did in his first preseason appearance as a rookie.
Trubisky played a healthy amount during the preseason in 2017, leading the team in completions (36), attempts (53), yards (364), and touchdowns (3) while posting a 106.2 passer rating. As a rookie in his first preseason, Trubisky displayed the kind of accuracy (67.9% completions) that was viewed to be a strength of his during the pre-draft process. That accuracy wasn’t always present during his 12-game stint as a starter in 2017 and could be something Trubisky needs to address throughout this preseason run.
If you’ll recall, Trubisky posted an adjusted completion percentage of 90.9 percent, according to Pro Football Focus last season. That number was the best by a rookie quarterback in their preseason debut since 2014, besting Derek Carr (81.3% in 2014) and Carson Wentz (78.9% in 2016) in the process. The offense called by Dowell Loggains played to Trubisky’s strengths, putting the rookie signal caller in the shotgun on 18 pass attempts – where he thrived completing 12 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown to go along with a nifty 102.1 passer rating while operating out of the shotgun. Trubisky even threw some out of play action and on the run, where he was 4-for-4 for 39 yards. It was a solid debut all around.
Trubisky played so well in his debut, in fact, it was difficult to pin-point where improvements could be made. Obviously, that changed when games that mattered in the standings became a thing, but I suppose that’s just another reminder of how different things can be in the preseason.
In any case, Trubisky should play a fair amount in order to build a rapport with his new teammates and gain familiarity in the offense. But with three other preseason games to come after Thursday’s showdown, there’s plenty of time for him to get acclimated. So basically, Bears, don’t over-do it.