The long-awaited debut of the No. 2 pick from the 2017 NFL Draft finally arrived Monday night. Mitchell Trubisky, who objectively outplayed Mike Glennon in the preseason, got the nod after a month of the Chicago Bears‘ offense stinking it up. Week 1 was promising for Glennon, and it appeared that he would at least make the Bears competitive. However, the league needed a weeks of tape on him to figure out his weaknesses — from there Glennon never had a chance. Turning the ball over as he did was the nail in the coffin for Glennon.
It didn’t take long for the rookie to make his presence felt. The Bears faced a 3rd and 6 on the opening drive. Trubisky delivered a strike 12 yards downfield on an out route, perfectly placed where the defender couldn’t get a hand on it. The ensuing pass was a play-action pass — he connected again with Kendall Wright on a slant. The recipe for Trubisky should be a lot like what it is for rookie phenom Deshaun Watson: play-action, moving the pocket, getting his legs involved. It was a promising first drive for Trubisky — he would have likely put points on the board if not for a drop by the tight end and a holding call that took the Bears out of field goal range.
Something I liked about the game plan is the Bears didn’t ask Trubisky to hold on to the ball. It was 1-2-3 throw. Early on, everything was in rhythm. When you ask a younger quarterback to hold the ball, you ask him to almost second-guess himself. Give him a read and a checkdown. Keep it simple. Slowly evolve. When you do ask him to hold the ball, that’s when you roll him out. That way if he doesn’t like what he sees, he can take off. Trubisky has plenty of athleticism for that. He made some good throws rolling right as well.
On the drive to open the second quarter, Trubisky looked like a rookie. He left the pocket when there wasn’t pressure on first down. He missed a corner route to the tight end on second down. Finally, he left the pocket a hair early and rolled to his right on third down. The real no-no was throwing back across his body over the middle of the field. Luckily, it was incomplete. The second quarter he was more cold than hot.
I try not to look at completion percentage, so it doesn’t skew my thoughts on how the quarterback played. There were a couple throws in the second quarter when Trubisky missed low to the outside. There were two throws in the two-minute drill when he put the ball where it needed to be and the receivers dropped it. Football tends to even out like that. He got away with one on a screen pass that he threw in Anthony Barr’s lap in the third quarter.
Early on it’s clear that play-action and bootlegs will be Trubisky’s best friends. They just make the game easier for him. I would like to see more quick throws to Tarik Cohen. Get him more involved. He’s too exciting to get fewer than 10 touches a game, especially in an offense that’s not exactly stacked with talent.
His touchdown pass in the fourth was another one where he threw back across the field. The safety tipped it. He has to learn to play within himself and not do too much… as well as trust his pass protection. He was a little skittish on some throws. That’ll happen. It’s tough when receivers aren’t getting open, which seemed to be the case for the majority of the night. But on his interception toward the end of the game, he just needs to throw it out of bounds instead of forcing it. Live for another down.
Trubisky’s first start was unspectacular, but observers saw plenty of positives to make the football community think he’ll be a capable starter in this league.