It’s time for Mitch Trubisky to take the next step in his evolution as a professional quarterback.
Sure, the Bears young QB is in a better place now than he was at this time last year – and there’s no denying the noteworthy improvements made even since Week 1 of this season – but this upcoming stretch of games present Trubisky with his biggest challenge yet: Keeping the Bears in first place through an onslaught of divisional foes.
With three straight contests against NFC North rivals on deck, Trubisky will need to conquer a game within the game. Division foes tend to know you best, and while the Bears have only one NFC North battle under their belts, you have to believe Chicago’s rivals have taken notes on what other teams are doing to ruffle his feathers.
So with that said, let’s take a look at what’s coming Trubisky’s way starting in Week 10: a whole heck of a lot of pressure:
These offenses are getting BLITZED the most/least this season.
— NFL Matchup on ESPN (@NFLMatchup) November 7, 2018
Trubisky’s biggest struggles have come while being pressured, so it’s no surprise to see the Bears’ offense among the most blitzed this season.
For the Bears’ offense to hit another gear, Trubisky needs to figure out how to better compose himself under pressure, particularly when making tough decisions and accurate throws. Then again, perhaps he’s already made some of that progress against the Buffalo Bills:
Mitchell Trubisky's passer rating versus the Bills, via @PFF_Bears
Under pressure: 131.2 (1st)
Kept clean: 30.9 (Last)#Bears
— Lorin Cox (@CoxSports1) November 6, 2018
Trubisky posted a 131.1 passer rating against the Bills when under pressure last week, which was the best of any NFL quarterback who suited up and threw the pigskin around. We expected Trubisky to face his fair share of heat against an aggressive and underrated Bills defense, but we didn’t expect Trubisky to thrive in those situations – even for a week.
To be clear: the sample size is not large enough to draw serious conclusions and fully commit to the idea that Trubisky is decisively getting better in this all-too-important area, but it was a step in the right direction – and it was very encouraging to see.
Of course, that 30.9 passer rating when kept clean is problematic – because, normally, that’s when he’s at his best. But who knows, maybe it was just a blip? Or maybe that’s just another example of the growing pains of a second-year quarterback who has yet to find consistency in all facets of his game at the same time. Either way, that number is at least as concerning as the other was promising – even if they’re both ultimately a one-week thing.
We’ll need to see Trubisky’s newfound success under pressure on display more as we move into the stretch run, but we can’t deny that his performance against Buffalo isn’t an inkling he can get better.