One Year After His NFL Debut, Mitch Trubisky Has Gotten a LOT Better

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One Year After His NFL Debut, Mitch Trubisky Has Gotten a LOT Better

Chicago Bears News

At this time last year, we were preparing to embark on a new era of Chicago Bears football. The Bears were hosting the Vikings on Monday Night Football, rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky was ready to lead the way, and we (as a site) had reached our first turning-point moment.

One year later, we’re still trying to get a full grasp on the Trubisky experience. But now that Trubisky has 16 games (or a full season’s worth) of regular season experience, I feel as if we’re closer to finding that feel than we were at any point last season:

Mitch Trubisky’s First 16 Games:

  • Completions287
  • Attempts: 460
  • Percentage: 62.4%
  • Yards: 3,138
  • Yards/attempt: 6.8
  • Touchdowns: 15
  • TD%: 3.3%
  • Interceptions: 10
  • Int%: 2.2%
  • Rating: 84.3

OK, so this isn’t your normal 16-game sample. Trubisky put up these numbers over the span of two seasons, under two different head coaches, offensive coordinators, and systems (and it’s coming right after he had the best game of his career). Still, wouldn’t it be nice to put the numbers in some sort of perspective? You betcha. So let’s do that.

Had Trubisky posted these numbers last year in a full 16-game slate, he would have ranked 19th in completions, 21st in attempts, 17th in completion percentage, 22nd in yards, and 25th in touchdowns. These aren’t exactly awe-inspiring numbers, but they wouldn’t be viewed as discouraging from a first-year quarterback’s first 16-game slate, either. Think about it. Trubisky’s completion percentage, TD%, Int%, and yards per attempt numbers are in line or better than what Carson Wentz did in his first 16 games. This isn’t to say Trubisky is going to make a Wentz-like leap, it’s just that the Eagles’ star quarterback had humble beginnings as a rookie and we should keep that in mind before making any grand pronouncements (one way or another) about Trubisky.

Is Trubisky Showing Growth?

The answer is a resounding yes, and there are three data points that show how much and where Trubisky has grown the most.

First 4 Games of 2017: 38/80 (47.5%), 512 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT, 66.2 rating

Last 4 Games of 2017: 90/137 (65.69%), 956 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT, 81.6 rating

Trubisky first started showing signs of growth late in his rookie season, when Offensive Coordinator Dowell Loggains loosened things up and allowed Trubisky to air it out a little. Not too much, mind you, but enough to see what could and couldn’t work. Compare the first four games and last four games of Trubisky’s rookie season and you’ll see an 18.2 percentage-point increase in completion percentage, a 15.4-point improvement in passer rating, and an up-tick in yards per attempt (from 6.40 to 6.98). Those are noteworthy in-season improvements, especially if you consider the talent and scheme limitations Trubisky was working with … not to mention his own issues and inconsistencies.

Now, Trubisky is in the midst of his second step forward:

Last 4 Games of 2017: 90/137 (65.69%), 956 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT, 81.6 rating

First 4 Games of 2018: 91/130 (70.0%), 945 yards, 8 TD, 3 INT, 101.6 rating

Yes, we realize Trubisky’s monster game against the Buccaneers tilts the scales a bit (that game still counts!), but if you were pining for a breakout performance from the Bears’ QB1, there you have it.

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

As you see, Trubisky has further improved his completion and touchdown percentages, even over the improvements he made late last season, kept his interception rate more or less in the same place, and improved his yards/attempt once again (from 6.98 in the final four games of 2017 to 7.27 in the first four of 2018). These are the kind of numbers we were hoping to see from Trubisky as he moved away from the old offense and into the Matt Nagy era. Progress might not have happened as quickly as some would have liked, but it’s happening.

Look at it this way:

First 4 Games of Career: 38/80 (47.5%), 512 yards, 6.4 y/attempt, 2 TD, 2 INT, 66.2 rating

Last 4 Games: 91/130 (70.0%), 945 yards, 7.27 yards/attempt, 8 TD, 3 INT, 101.6 rating

Or, if you want to split it into two halves:

First 8 Games: 106/193 (54.92%), 1,237 yards, 6.41 yards/attempt, 5 TD, 4 INT, 74.6 rating

Last 8 Games: 181/267 (67.79%), 1,901 yards, 7.12 yards/attempt, 10 TD, 6 INT, 91.4 rating

No matter which way you slice it, Trubisky is getting better with experience. Development isn’t always linear and there are still going to be some bumps in the road ahead. But the 16-game snapshot of Trubisky’s career suggests that he is improving with every practice and game rep he takes on the field.

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)


Luis Medina

Luis is the Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation Bears, and you can find him on Twitter at @lcm1986.

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