Chicago Bears might be best with Trubisky as game manager

December 27, 2018

It almost seems as if Bears QB Mitch Trubisky is becoming a game manager … not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Actually, for this team Bears team that is led by a smothering defense to maximize its playoff potential, game manager might be the best thing Trubisky could be.

The Bears’ quarterback has averaged 7.5 yards per pass, 17th in the NFL, and higher than only three other playoff or potential-playoff quarterbacks, the Vikings’ Kirk Cousins (7.3), the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott (7.2) and the Colts’ Andrew Luck (7.1). As a team the Bears are 20th in passing yards.

But Trubisky has won his last seven starts, and in only one of those games did he throw for 250 yards or more. He threw for more than 300 yards in each of his last two losses. It’s not so much about the big yardage totals as avoiding the big mistakes. In those seven straight wins, Trubisky has allowed six interceptions, and three came in one game, against the Rams. But it’s more than just interception avoidance. Trubisky has been sacked just 10 times in his last seven games.

The second-year quarterback has been seeing more zone defense in recent weeks, which is a test of his patience as a player, and of Nagy’s patience as a play-caller.

“It’s to all of us,” Nagy said. “It’s a testament to him. It helps him grow as a quarterback because you make more decisions. Not that you don’t do that vs. man, but there’s holes in the zone areas. Now, are the holes short, intermediate or long, with how they’re doing it with their scheme? He’s continuing to get a lot of looks. And I truly believe that in the long run, him getting these zone looks, he’s getting better and better at them.”

Last week was a perfect example. The 49ers were determined not to get beat deep, but Trubisky still threw for 246 yards because he completed a career-best 86.2 percent of his mostly short-to-intermediate passes (25-for-29) by taking what the defense gave him and resisting the urge to go for broke. But Nagy and Trubisky are both adamant that playing smart and safe should not come at the expense of missing out on opportunities for big plays.

“Just change your mindset (to) completion mentality, (but) always staying aggressive,” Trubisky said. “There might be one time throughout the game that you get that one shot that you want to take, so you don’t want to have that check-down mentality. You’re always looking for the deep throws, the aggressive mentality, whatever they’re giving you.

“That’s what it came down to in the game. I thought I did a good job adjusting and just moving forward with that. But the mindset is to continue to stay aggressive and just play in each play and take what the defense gives you.”

Because the Bears’ defense rarely gives up much, their conservative offensive philosophy should work in the postseason. While the 49ers are not a playoff team, the blueprint the Bears used last week makes sense.

“Any time you throw a lot of completions in this game, you give yourself a chance to win because you stay ahead of the sticks and you don’t get into third-and-long situations,” Nagy said. “(Trubisky) did that. It felt like he had a bunch of completions in a row (11 at one time). When you do that in this league, good things happen. He made some big-time throws there at the end of the game, third-and-five and third-and-four or five to (Allen Robinson). He’s now taking that next step, and I love to see it.”

Being a game manager doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

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