While Mitch Trubisky’s first-round draft classmates Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes are taking the NFL by storm, Trubisky is still waiting for a breakout performance of his own.
Patience will be key, but you should know that by now. After all, you’re probably reading this having patiently sat through the week of misery that followed the loss on opening night. With that in mind, ESPN NFL insider Louis Riddick asks us all to take a deep breath and let the situation sort itself out: “It’s one game for Mitch,” Riddick said, via Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times. “I understand that expectations are high because of where he was drafted, too. We all get that. But people need to slow down, pump the brakes, keep it all in perspective and just let Matt Nagy do his work.”
Few people know the Bears’ first-year head coach as well as Riddick. You see, Riddick and Nagy crossed paths when both were in the Philadelphia Eagles organization. While Nagy was climbing the coaching ladder between 2008 and 2012, Riddick was in the front office making his own moves to the top. Back in January, Riddick shared some anecdotes from his time working with Nagy, calling his observations and opinions sharp, while lauding his football acumen. With that as our backdrop, it feels like there is no one more well-informed to deliver this type of perspective more than Riddick. Then again, not everyone is willing to preach patience at a time like this. Because not only is Trubisky on the clock, the same can be said about his head coach.
Like Riddick, Michael Lombardi is a former NFL executive who is now a heavy hitter in NFL media circles. His post-Week 1 assessment of Trubisky isn’t as kind or encouraging.
At The Athletic, Lombardi limits his praise for Trubisky by referring to him as “an athlete” … one who is “more of an athlete than he is a quarterback.” Lombardi dug in further, saying Trubisky would struggle unless his coaches can script and scheme their way to opening up the passing game. The way Lombardi sees it, Trubisky “needs to be programmed” and that Nagy has to script practices for Trubisky to learn coverages and where to throw the ball. It’s a damning assessment, though, there is no denying that Trubisky looked great during the scripted portion of the game and seemed to come unglued when the situation became unstable down the stretch.
If you thought Trubisky had a lot on his plate, imagine being the coach(es) tasked with getting the most out of him. Then again, we also discussed how Trubisky needs to unlearn what he learned from a coaching staff last year that artificially handcuffed his deep passing options. Once he does that, his instincts and athleticism will take over from there.
Admittedly, I understand why it’s difficult to be patient. We live in a football world that demands immediate success. And hey, you should always set your goals high because no one ever got anywhere worthwhile by setting a low bar to clear. But just know that it could take some time for Trubisky to live up to his first-round billing. And that’s OK, because we knew that coming into the season.
The horizon remains bright for Trubisky, even though he’ll encounter choppy waters every now and again.