Eight plays. Four passes. Two completions. One yard. Those were Trubisky’s numbers on Thursday night, as he and the rest of the Chicago Bears’ first-team offense looked punchless in their debut against the Bengals.
Of course, if he wanted them, the excuses were there for Trubisky’s taking (the collective absence of Allen Robinson, Tarik Cohen, and Jordan Howard and very little time to build up momentum chief among them).
And yet, Trubisky wasn’t having it: “No excuse for first preseason game,” Trubisky said, via JJ Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago. “We have a bunch of experienced guys from last year, so there shouldn’t be any jitters. Maybe guys were excited, but it’s very simple – come out here, do your job, do exactly what we were doing in practice. We practiced our butts off this week. We just came out here and were sloppy.”
This was clearly not the message the Bears wanted to send at the outset of the year. In fact, the team’s desired vision was clear from the first offensive snap, when Trubisky targeted Kevin White with a deep pass down the left sideline (which ultimately fell incomplete, but proved a point nonetheless). Trubisky recently said that he works on practicing his deep-ball throws after every practice session, so it was disappointing to see the potential of such a promising start go by the wayside.
“We definitely had our shots, but early on you definitely want to see a better start out of this offense, and that was just not the way we’ve been practicing and that’s not what this offense is going to be this year,” Trubisky said, via the team’s official website.
In addition to the high standards that have been set by the new coaching staff, we can’t help but remember how Trubisky set a high bar for himself during his preseason debut in 2017. If you recall, the Bears thrust Trubisky into a two-minute drill situation where he went 4-for-4 for 24 yards and a touchdown. Trubisky also starred in the shotgun formation, where he completed 12 of 18 passes for 112 yards and a 102.1 passer rating. So to be fair, there was good reason for everyone’s expectations to be high. And of course, not meeting those expectations (even if it was just two preseason series) makes Thursday’s outing feel like such a let-down.
Judging by what Head Coach Matt Nagy said after the game, however, I don’t think we’ll see that again. Nagy seemed to insist the time will soon come for Trubisky to do a little more on offense, like, as soon as next week: “It’ll be fun as we go here to get him more snaps, let him get into a rhythm and really for all of the guys to get into a rhythm offensively,” Nagy said, via the Bears’ official website. “He’s going to have eight snaps to take a look at and see what was right and what was wrong, but it’s hard to judge off eight plays.”
There was certainly a case for Trubisky and the first-team offense to get more burn on the Paul Brown Stadium turf in Cincinnati. And I doubt a third series to see if Trubisky could make an adjustment after two less-than-inspiring drives would have hurt his overall development, but I suppose the Bears had their reasons for doing what they did.