By Chris Emma—
(670 The Score) During the dozen games of Mitchell Trubisky’s rookie season, the young Bears quarterback encountered an array of experiences.
Trubisky threw an interception on the final drive of his NFL debut that led directly to the Vikings’ game-winning field goal. the next week, he returned to lead the Bears to a road victory against the Ravens in overtime. He had great throws and bad, hit many progressions and missed his share, threw the ball away when needed and took some costly sacks.
Overall, it was a mixed-bag rookie season for Trubisky, but one this much was clear: He has the tools.
“What I’m excited about is the physical traits we identified, and I wouldn’t say any of the physical traits surprised me,” general manager Ryan Pace said, citing Trubisky’s accuracy and mobility, among other traits.
When Pace sits down with prospective head coaches for his Bears after firing John Fox on Monday, they will review the gamut of the 23-year-old Trubisky’s rookie season. The positives will offer promise for what he can be, while the mistakes should resonate just as much to an offensive-minded coach looking at the cornerstone of his opportunity.
Whether it’s Josh McDaniels, Pat Shurmur, Matt Nagy, John DeFilippo or any other name that may emerge, the opportunity to mold Trubisky makes the Bears’ position an enticing opportunity.
There are six head coaching vacancies, a number that’s lower than expected. Soon, the Raiders are expected to hire Jon Gruden to fill their vacancy. Of that group, one could argue only the Lions have the best quarterback situation thanks to Matthew Stafford, but they may move for a defensive-oriented coach.
The Colts have one of the league’s best quarterbacks in Andrew Luck and are looking at similar candidates as the Bears, though the health of Luck isn’t quite clear after missing the season with a mysterious shoulder injury.
The Giants have the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft in April, but the quarterback picture in this class isn’t quite clear. The Cardinals face a major rebuild, seemingly making them the worst of the openings.
In Chicago, the opportunity is more clear. The man doing the coaching hiring, Pace is locked up through 2021. The Bears have two talented young running backs and some quality pieces on the offensive line. There’s a budding defense that has been molded into a top-10 unit and which boasts greater potential with a few more additions.
Most importantly, there’s the promise of Trubisky, whose name will be mentioned soon after the handshakes in these interviews.
Last January, soon-to-be Coach of the Year Sean McVay sat down with the Rams’ brass and outlined an extensive plan for developing quarterback Jared Goff. He showcased how the raw talents of the 2016 top pick could be maximized within his schemes – and how they weren’t utilized properly with the previous regime.
For every young quarterback struggling for consistency, there are countless coaches who believe they have the answers. Quarterbacks who exude some form of potential stick around for a long time in this league because there are always bold-thinking coaches who feel they can cure it all.
The case of Trubisky is similar to that of Goff’s rookie season, with a quarterback prodigy not nearing his potential. Goff didn’t have the right structure in his offensive coaching staff and lacked the playmakers to be successful. The Bears let Trubisky down his rookie season with the same symptoms, though one could argue he grew from the ordeals faced in those 12 starts.
Countless factors go into an organization and candidate becoming a match – salary structure, job security, ownership, the opportunity to contend and more. There are many questions to ask of Pace, whose plan has been trusted by management.
If the Bears indeed do desire a bright offensive mind, the opportunity to coach Trubisky makes them one of the best vacancies out there.