Mitch Trubisky saw the most talked about screenshot in the history of the long-standing rivalry between the Bears and Packers, and followed it up with an apparent (but in our opinion, unnecessary) admission of guilt: “I’m sure everyone saw what I saw and they’re like, ‘Oh Mitch, throw to the wide open guy in the back of the end zone.’ Trust me, I wish I would,” Trubisky told the assembled media at Halas Hall during his weekly press conference.
Trubisky would go on to walk through the play, making note that running back Tarik Cohen was the primary option on a screen in the flat before checking down to a safer choice in Taylor Gabriel that set up a field goal that extended the Bears’ lead to 10-0. He would also explain his thought process in balancing the risk-reward calculus of throwing a dicey pass when ball security is valuable in that specific circumstance. In our opinion, things could have ended MUCH worse for Trubisky on that drive. He made the right call.
But still … Trubisky clearly wishes he could have that play back (even though the team was able to get points out of it): “That was a big positive takeaway for me. Moving forward, if I want to evolve into the quarterback I want to be, you’ve got to take the opportunity and I’ve got to anticipate that,” Trubisky explained. “You’ve got to know, as a quarterback, if that opens up take your chances and get it to the guy wide open.”
Head Coach Matt Nagy had a different perspective on the play:
On the play that is making rounds on Twitter with Trey Burton appearing to be open in the end zone, Matt Nagy says Burton is an option on that play but that’s later on in Trubisky’s reads. Wasn’t the primary option. #Bears
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) September 13, 2018
Matt Nagy on Trey Burton being open in the end zone: Burton is a later option on the progression. Mitch Trubisky didn't screw up.
— Patrick Finley (@patrickfinley) September 13, 2018
Let’s take this moment for what it is for Nagy, Trubisky, and everyone who crossed paths with re-watching the play over and over again … it’s a learning experience. For Nagy and the offensive coaches, it’s the first teachable moment of a 16-game regular season schedule for a quarterback who has just 13 games of NFL experience under his belt. For Trubisky, it’s a lesson in situational analysis and risk management. For us, it’s a lesson in that not everything is as cut and dry as a still image can make it look.
We won’t know if Trubisky has learned from the film analysis until he plays again and is presented with another situation in which he needs to throw into a tight window. Hope you’re willing to wait through four more sleeps to see it in action.