Finding a market for Mitchell Trubisky was going to be challenging this past offseason. The second pick in the 2017 NFL Draft didn’t do enough to earn a fifth-year in Chicago. He was unable to show enough to garner a starting gig elsewhere. And, in the end, finding a place where he could compete for a QB1 spot was easier said than done.
But it wasn’t a lost offseason for Trubisky, who found an opportunity to land on his feet by signing with the Buffalo Bills. To be clear, going to Buffalo isn’t going to cure Trubisky of all his ills. But signing with the Bills offers everything Trubisky needs to rebuild moving forward.
In an interview with Jay Skurski of The Buffalo News, Trubisky — in his first public comments since leaving Chicago — touched on a handful of things that make me think he is in the right place.
⇒ “I think I just needed a fresh start. I just wanted to go somewhere where I was wanted and they had a role for me. I wanted to be a part of a championship-caliber team, so when this opportunity came knocking on the door, I thought it was a great fit, just with the offense and the people they’ve got in this building right now. To be part of a team that can possibly go win a Super Bowl, I think that’s special.”
⇒ “I put a lot of thought into it, for sure. It wasn’t just something like, ‘OK, Buffalo sounds great. Let’s go there.’ It was like, ‘What’s going to give me the best opportunity to really develop as a player and what is going to help me stick around this league for a very long time?’ When I was thinking through that and going through all the variables, it’s a great roster, great coaches and phenomenal culture.”
What Were You Looking For in a New Team?
⇒ “I was hopefully looking for an opportunity to go compete somewhere and maybe get a starter spot somewhere, but coming here and backing up Josh (Allen) is going to be a new role, but I’m ready to embrace that and be a part of this great team and help any way I can. Help the other quarterbacks in the room, help the guys on offense and challenge the defense when we’re out there, whether it’s doing scout reps or just helping them before or after practice.”
⇒ “Coach Daboll definitely made it very attractive to come here in the conversations I was having with him, how he plays to his quarterback’s strengths, no matter if it’s Josh in there or somebody else. … From being able to observe from afar and see the kinds of things that they were doing in this offense and how they were putting up prolific numbers, they’ve got great playmakers across the board and have a great offensive line. It was just something that was attractive to me and something I wanted to be a part of.”
Help From the Outside…
⇒ “Talking to people around the league and then just people close to me who have been coaches in the NFL or are higher up, just the people that I talk to, they were like, ‘wow, that was a great decision.’ Just surrounding yourself with championship culture. … The more that people looked at it and the people that I really trust and confide in, they were like ‘I think this is going to be really great for your development, just to be around those types of people.'”
Trubisky makes clear two things with these quotes, as well as throughout the interview.
First, it’s that he still thinks he can start in the NFL. That’s good for him, and totally not inconsequential. Four years in Chicago could’ve broken Trubisky’s spirit. Playing quarterback in Chicago is like being put through the wringer. And I certainly don’t envy him having to deal with constant comparisons to Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. We shouldn’t overlook the mental toll the last four years took on Trubisky. He could’ve easily rode off into the sunset and no one would’ve thought twice about it. Instead, he fights on. Even I can appreciate that.
Secondly, I think it is evident Trubisky feels as if he wasn’t given every opportunity to be at his best. He mentions joining Buffalo’s QB room allowing him to “really develop and maybe work on the things that I wasn’t able to work on in Chicago, maybe learn something that will help me out the rest of my career.” Sick burn? Perhaps. Trubisky also mentions how Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll schemes to his quarterback’s strengths. Oh, hey, it’s almost as if that was the loudest criticism of Matt Nagy in 2019 and 2020. Fitting enough, that sounds a lot like what Trubisky reportedly wanted in the offseason.
I harbor no ill will toward Trubisky. He tried. And sometimes, trying isn’t enough. Not every try-hard story comes with a happy ending. In the end, I’ve been ready to close the book on Trubisky’s Bears career. But before I do that, I want to see/hear the reaction when he comes back for the Bears-Bills preseason bout. Can’t remember the last time (if ever) I was emotionally “in” for exhibition football. I suppose there’s a first time for everything.