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Mitch Trubisky’s first start: what we learned

Mitch Trubisky made his much-anticipated regular season debut against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Nigh. We break down his performance and what it means for the Bears.

Every time a rookie has his first start in a situation like this, there are a lot of mixed emotions.

There’s the hype and the expectation. The exciting new player who fans hope will change the face of the team. The new kid who makes a painful season suddenly interesting.

But there’s also the nerves. How will he perform? Will he be a disappointment or will he live up to your hopes?

The rookie showed a lot of positive things last night, but there were also some things that weren’t so good. Let’s break it down

The good

Mitch Trubisky is fast, and he showed a lot of life behind center. We saw multiple plays where he was rolling out of the pocket; we saw him extending plays by escaping hits behind the line of scrimmage; we saw pass accuracy while he is on the run; and we saw his ability to get yardage with his feet.

Besides all of that, let’s not forget that he was playing against a defense that features players like Xavier Rhodes and Everson Griffen. There is a lot of pressure on a rookie playing on Monday Night Football, in front of the whole country, against a solid defense in a divisional game. All things considered, Trubisky was impressive and will only get better as time progresses. He will be a game-changer for the Bears and presents good things for the future of the team.

The bad

One interception, a fumble and a passer rating of 60.1: not exactly what Bears fans were hoping for from Trubisky. The interception was also a costly one that killed the Bears’ chances of winning that game.

But let’s not kid ourselves and act like Trubisky is entirely to blame here. There were costly penalties throughout the game, including Leonard Floyd’s defensive holding call on what should have been the Vikings’ last real offensive drive of the game.

Trubisky made rookie mistakes. He has to learn things like the fact that a two-minute drive does not have to be won on the first play, and that it’s ok to throw the ball away if you have no options in that situation. There have been plenty of quarterbacks who had early struggles, only to go on to have very fine NFL careers. On balance, there was still far more for Bears fans to be excited about than to be worried about.

The ugly

A quarterback cannot be a one-man show. The Bears receiving corps is just no good, the offensive line has some questions marks, and the defense is decimated after five weeks. Mitch can be as good as he can be, but the fact remains that his team lacks the weapons he really needs to succeed.

The Bears wide receivers are almost entirely of no-names who have had serious issues this season. A fair amount of Trubisky’s incompletions were catchable passes. Until the Bears can find better WRs, Trubisky will have a fairly low ceiling. (Side note: I think there is an argument for Markus Wheaton and Zach Miller being viable, though there are issues there as well, but the Bears still lack a single big-play WR).

The offensive line has been back and forth this year with injuries, which has made things difficult. Cody Whitehair is not a good center; he was a good left tackle for Kansas State, but he hasn’t adjusted well to being transitioned to center in Chicago. We’ve seen bad snaps that have been costly to the Bears all season. A perfect example is a bad snap last night that cost Trubisky a precious second and allowed the CB to get in position and block the pass, robbing them of a first down:


Source: ImgFlip via the NFL

And finally, the Bears linebackers…. there’s not a lot you can say at this point. With Danny Trevathan out for two games with a suspension and the injuries piling up, Christian Jones was forced to take charge against the Vikings high-tempo offense. While Jones deserves credit for doing an applaudable job given the circumstances, the Bears are left with a lot of question marks on defense going forward.


No one expected the Bears to do much of anything this season, but the issues are adding up and many are looking for a change in leadership. Whatever your opinion, it does appear that John Fox will be on his way out unless something drastically changes.

Mitch Trubisky shows a lot of promise and will be something for Bears fans to hold onto and be entertained by as the Bears try to rebuild. It will be exciting to see how things develop over the course of the next several years.

What are your thoughts on Trubisky’s debut performance? Let us know in the comments!

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Jon Denner

Been a Cubs fan since I visited Wrigley Field at age 5 and saw them get demolished by the Mets.

Been a Pats fan since 2004, Bears are my home team.

Mitch Trubisky’s first start: what we learned

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