Mitch Trubisky is Great in Play Action, So Maybe the Bears Should Run More (VIDEOS)

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Mitch Trubisky is Great in Play Action, So Maybe the Bears Should Run More (VIDEOS)

Chicago Bears

We’ve previously identified Mitch Trubisky’s accuracy, footwork, and decision-making as areas where improvement was going to be legitimately necessary. And while growth in those areas is still needed, the folks at ESPN’s NFL Matchup have highlighted a place of strength for the Chicago Bears’ starting quarterback:

Trubisky’s 139.2 passer rating on play action passes is the third best in football. Only Russell Wilson (156.9) and Drew Brees (148.0) are better. And when you’re hanging in a top-5 with Wilson, Brees, Philip Rivers, and Jared Goff, you’re obviously doing something right.

There are times when pointing out potential growth spots can be tedious. This is not one of those moments. Trubisky, who threw just two touchdowns off play action as a rookie, has already thrown four in 2018. Two came against the Seahawks on Monday Night Football, while two others came during his six-touchdown breakout against the Buccaneers in Week 4.

That Trubisky is excelling in play action means a handful of things. For one, the threat of the run is causing defenders to bite (or at minimum, play honest). For another, the offensive scheming by Head Coach Matt Nagy and Mark Helfrich has been effective. For one more, Trubisky is making the right reads when he sees the openings created by play action. And finally – and perhaps most importantly – it means he’s making strong, accurate throws to take full advantage of the situation.

Because isn’t that the whole point of running play action? Deceive the defense to the point where they’re out of position because they believe a run is coming, then throw into the open areas that were vacated by defenders. Seems like a simple enough way to get a young quarterback some open looks and where playmakers can run in space.

Speaking of running in space, one thing that makes Trubisky’s play action so effective is his ability to throw successfully and accurate on the run. And once again, the gang at ESPN’s NFL Matchup highlight Trubisky’s skill in this area:

Trubisky owns the NFL’s fourth best passer rating outside the pocket with an impressive 113.8. The only quarterbacks better than him: Philip Rivers (129.2), Case Keenum (121.5), and Cam Newton (116.7). Once again, Trubisky is keeping good company here.

In case your memory is fuzzy from the bye week, this is what Trubisky looks like when throwing off play action:

https://twitter.com/NFL/status/1041848028448022528

A solid running game and effective play calling with well-timed play action passes can open up deep, short, and intermediate options. Yeah, sign me up for more of that, please!

Knowing Trubisky’s proficiency in play action and on the move, it makes you think that the Bears should run the ball more. And while I understand that sounds blasphemous after watching Trubisky air it out for six scores, hear me out.

The Bears’ 116 rush attempts are the 12th fewest in football this season, which doesn’t seem like enough. After all, Chicago is 3-1, has led for a vast majority of their games, and features a backfield tandem of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen, which is as talented as you’ll find in the league. Think about it. Chicago’s offensive brain trust would probably be wise to use the running game to set up play action opportunities.

Perhaps Miami’s defense provides said opportunities. The Dolphins have allowed the 13th most rushing yards per game while facing the second highest amount of rushes. These are the types of numbers that play right into the Bears’ strengths and what their quarterback does well. Shouldn’t they continue to try and take advantage of this?

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)


Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.