One of the obvious threads we’ve followed throughout the Bears’ late-season run into the playoffs is which Bears are playing for more than just a postseason berth. At the top of the list has been quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, whose return to the lineup after the bye offered him the opportunity to make his case to be a short-term (long-term?) option at quarterback.
But his post-bye six-game sample was just the beginning, as NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport believes that Trubisky’s fight for his future begins today.
“He’s had his moments, but from what I understand, there’s nothing certain, the Bears are not set – right now – on bringing him back,” Rapoport said. “Perhaps if he wins and keeps winning, he can change their mind. But still, a lot of work for Trubisky.”
I’m a big actions > words guy. So I think of how the front office didn’t pick up Trubisky’s fifth-year option, then the coaching staff benched him at the peak of his early season adversity as signs the team hasn’t been set on bringing him back for quite some time. But as Rapoport alluded to, things can change. It’s all in Trubisky’s hands starting at 3:40 p.m. CT later today.
And yet, Rapoport’s report reminds me I’d be mildly annoyed if today “decided” anything. In Trubisky, we’re talking about a player with 50 starts and four years of experience on his résumé. If one game can tilt things in any one direction, then I have major concerns about the Bears’ process for personnel decisions. It wouldn’t be the first time, if that are the case. But that’s neither here nor there.
For what it’s worth Trubisky has made the most of the opportunity, even if it hasn’t been pretty. He completed 70 percent of his passes, thrown 10 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, and a 96.0 passer rating in 6 games since the bye week. And perhaps, most importantly, he’s helped nudge the Bears into the postseason. At minimum, the postseason exposure affords him another showcase opportunity. If not for the Bears, for one of the NFL’s other 31 teams. You can’t ask for a bigger stage than this one.
Ultimately, this is where we stand ahead of what is essentially the biggest game of Trubisky’s career. If he looks like a stud for the next few weeks, sure. Then we can have those conversations about franchise fit. But the type of gains Trubisky needs to make are large. And the kind of run that needs to happen, on the road against, elite teams is momentous. These aren’t insignificant gains that need to happen in a short amount of time. At this stage, the Bears should know what Trubisky is based on four years of tape. That’s not a small sample any more.
However, the postseason is a different beast. And if Trubisky wants to stick around, it really sounds like he’ll need to prove that *HE* is a different beast, too.