As a rookie quarterback in the NFL, there are a great many things that are out of your control. You don’t get to choose the team that drafts you. You don’t get to choose the offensive system you have to learn. And you can only sit and watch as your entire coaching staff is relieved of their duties.
That was Mitch Trubisky’s experience in his first year as a Chicago Bear. After the quarterback desperate franchise moved up one spot to snag the former North Carolina signal caller with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft, Trubisky spent much of the season handing the ball off in John Fox’s run-first, conservative offense. Starting 12 games after replacing the ineffective Mike Glennon, Trubisky threw just 330 passes as a rookie, tallying a touch over 2,000 yards passing while completing less than 60 percent of his passes. The Bears sleepwalked through a 5-11 season, Fox was fired, and everything changed.
The Bears tapped Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy as their next head coach, and Trubisky became the main benefactor. Now getting to play in one of the most innovative offenses in the league, Trubisky’s numbers exploded. He threw for 3,223 yards, tossing 24 touchdowns to just 12 interceptions. His yards per attempt jumped from 6.6 to 7.4. The Bears won the NFC North and hosted a playoff game, and Trubisky made the Pro Bowl.
And yet, questions about Trubisky and the heights he can reach, remain. The advanced statistics aren’t as kind to him as the raw numbers are. Trubisky ranked 18th in Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted yards above replacement statistic, a number that compares quarterbacks to a replacement level player, sandwiched between Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton. Trubisky also ranked 19th in adjusted yards per attempt.
As Trubisky faces a pivotal year three, one that comes with increased expectations, the quarterback spoke with UPROXX courtesy of Gone Rogue Snacks about the journey he’s been on, if he’s feeling the pressure of expectations in Chicago, and the otherworldliness of Khalil Mack.
Coming off such a successful season, what have you been focusing on this offseason?
Coming out of the season, it was taking care of my body, taking some time off and then resting. Then it was watching cutups, learning what we need to work on and my weaknesses heading into the offseason. A lot of that’s been getting my arm back and getting it stronger, the footwork. A lot of it has been, now that we’re in year two of this offense and this scheme, knowing all the timing and the concepts, where everybody needs to get lined up. Just what we’re trying to accomplish offensively. Knowing the timing, knowing what I have to do with my feet, knowing where to put my eyes. Just mastering all the details of this offense.
You went from learning one offense to a rookie to having to learn a completely different one in year two. How long did it take you to get comfortable with Matt Nagy’s playbook?