Sunday’s narrow victory over the Broncos raises, rather than solves, many questions the Chicago Bears have about their offence going forward.
In contrast to the season opener where head coach Matt Nagy had quarterback Mitch Trubisky attempt 45 passes against the Packers, the week 2 matchup in Denver saw the Bears passing game dramatically scaled back. Nagy called 29 run plays and 27 pass plays, most of which were short, risk free attempts, resulted in just 120 pass yards with an average of 4.4 yards.
Does this represent the first notable recognition by the Bears of Trubisky’s limitations as a passer? Or is it Nagy recognising his tendency to focus too heavily on the pass game?
It could be a combination of both points. As well as the fact that Vic Fangio, the Broncos new head coach, is the only defensive coordinator Trubisky has gone up against every day in practice since he came into the league. As the Bears’ former defensive playcaller, Fangio would have known the weaknesses of the ex-North Carolina Tarheel better than anyone other than the current Bears’ staff. Perhaps Nagy drastically scaled back his innovative passing offence in an attempt to avoid giving the Broncos the upper hand?
Whatever the answer is, it’s difficult for Bears fans to feel good about the direction the team is heading in at the game’s most important position. Trubisky, if anything, appears to have regressed from last season. He still displays the same weaknesses we saw in his first year under Nagy: questionable accuracy, especially on deep balls; happy feet in the pocket; and a tendency to check out and run when his first read is taken away.
However, this year his decision making seems especially ponderous. Despite the weapons at his disposal, Trubisky seems to take an age before deciding on where to deliver the ball. Does that indicate a loss of confidence in his own abilities and what he is seeing on the other side of the line of scrimmage?
The Bears have undoubtedly come up against two high quality opponents the past two weeks, and it may be too early in the season to overreact. However, general manager Ryan Pace may be developing a concern that a Super Bowl calibre roster may see that championship window slam shut before Trubisky becomes the quarterback Pace thought he would be when he drafted him with the second overall pick in the 2017 draft.