A huge shock wave was sent up and down Lake Shore Drive when the Chicago Bears traded up from their number three pick to number two in order to draft former UNC quarterback Mitch Trubisky. As a Tar Heels fan, it is fantastic to see an organization so determined to draft a Tar Heel. For fans of the Chicago Bears, there are many more questions and second-guessing than celebrating. So how exactly can Mitch Trubisky win over the fans in Chicago?
Before diving into too much detail, it is important to process the history of Chicago Bears quarterbacks. The list of starting quarterbacks since their 1986 Super Bowl Championship is as follows: Jim McMahon, Mike Tomczak, Jim Harbaugh, Steve Walsh, Erik Kramer, Dave Krieg, Shane Matthews, Cade McNown, Jim Miller, Kordell Stewart, Craig Krenzel, Kyle Orton, Rex Grossman, and Jay Cutler. That is 14 different quarterbacks since the 1986-87 season. To put that in perspective, the New England Patriots have had seven QBs in that time frame.
The quarterback that got the most starts since that time has been new Fox Sports personality Jay Cutler. Cutler managed to have a mediocre (at best) career in Chicago, only making the postseason one time in 2010. The Bears pulled off a win against Seattle during that run before losing to the Green Bay Packers 14-21 in the conference championship.
Since then, Jay Cutler left much to be desired, having mostly mediocre performances filled with lots of interceptions, lots of sacks, lots of fits, lots of quitting on the field, and those are just the things that were within Cutler’s control.
The Bears went through a surprising change at head coach, letting Lovey Smith go in exchange for Marc Trestman, whose tenure was short-lived. After that failed experiment, the team moved onto former Panthers and Broncos head coach John Fox.
With that said, the first step to winning over the Chicago Bears and their fan base would be to start as a backup to Mike Glennon. This sounds unusual, but the one thing that needs to be understood about the 2017-18 Chicago Bears is that they will be a shell of themselves.
During the offseason, the Bears lost arguably their best receiver Alshon Jeffery to the Philadelphia Eagles, leaving a huge hole in the receiving core. The most notable wide receivers left are Eddie Royal, a 30-year-old veteran, and Kevin White, who was drafted in 2015 but has yet to really see the football field due to injuries. This combined with an unestablished run game and an iffy-at-times offensive line spells danger for whatever quarterback starts this year. Trust me when I say: let Mike Glennon take the heat for the 2017-18 season.
Following this coming season, one would imagine Chicago would at least add some form of receiver depth, or maybe even have a receiver start to make a name for himself that’s already on the roster. If the Bears take the time to help their quarterbacks out, this is where Mitch Trubisky can step in and shine.
The one thing that can be said about Trubisky that not many Chicago Bears quarterbacks can say is he is accurate. He’s very accurate. Trubisky operated UNC’s offense with a form of precision that was something to behold. He knew how to make accurate throws into cover defenses, he has a very quick release, and he just flat out makes good decisions. This is an automatic improvement for the Bears and their fans.
The other positive to Mitch Trubisky is that he is a competitor. Too many times while Jay Cutler was under the helm would you see the Bears get behind by 2+ touchdowns, and you could see his eyes glaze over in disinterest as he stands on the sideline watching their defense attempt to stop the other team. Whenever he got hurt, even if it was something he should be able to play through, Cutler was very quick to sit on the bench.
With Trubisky, the likelihood of any of this happening is next to none. There was not one snap that he took, even in games like the Virginia Tech hurricane game, where Trubisky just flat out gave up on his teammates. The Bears are going to get a leader in Trubisky, and undoubtedly a good one.
The final—and biggest—thing that will be important for Mitch Trubisky’s relationship in Chicago is trust. As I mentioned before, Trubisky just makes good decisions with the ball. Very rarely at UNC did he try to force passes into windows that he shouldn’t have thrown the ball into, nor did he get careless with handling the ball in the pocket. One can argue that this, along with his strong leadership, created a lot of trust with Trubisky’s teammates and fans alike. The Bears will get a breath of fresh air, as this is something that just wasn’t there before.
The reality of Mitch Trubisky’s situation is that the Chicago Bears have to help Trubisky help them. As the roster stands, this is a bad situation to walk into. One can only hope that if they can find some way to develop and/or obtain offensive weapons, Trubisky will one day find himself in a position where he can turn a mediocre offensive team into a very good one. Hopefully, in time, the Chicago Bears will learn to love Mitch as much as we’ve loved him in Chapel Hill.