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Someone needs to put on a real good mask, grab Mitch Trubisky by the shoulders and give him a good, extended shake/pep talk while deploying extended eye contact. The message? "Dude! You're 26 years old and you're not just being paid to play football, you're being paid to be the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears! And you're 2-0!
"We know you're feeling the pressure this year and that your performance has been uneven at best, but you need to find a way to enjoy these games man, especially the wins! You never know how many you're going to get. And, most importantly, you need to make sure your teammates enjoy them as well. You can't do that if you are moping around."
Trubisky relishing these games, and most importantly not allowing himself to get down after things go poorly, is critical in numerous ways. Perhaps no other position in sports is as important to a team's collective mental state as the signal-caller. And while we're here Coach Nagy, a reminder to you as well: The Bears may have played "Just OK" yesterday but they played better than they did the week before. In a topsy-turvy season with no fans in the stands and a pandemic lurking around every corner, every early win is huge. In other words coach, you're not allowed to be a mopey little bastard either. Ever.
Trubisky has now led his team to a victory on the road and one at home to start the season. You wouldn't think that was such a big deal, especially given the strength of the competition, but the simple fact is, NFL teams that start 2-0 have a much, much better chance of making the playoffs than ones that go 0-2. And if the Bears make the playoffs in any way, shape or form, that will be a huge win.
Of course you don't want to be the team that squeaks in or just misses the playoffs every year. But that almost never happens in the NFL. Teams fluctuate all over the place whether they make a calculated decision to tank or not. Just look at the Jaguars this season. It sure seemed like they were tanking when they traded away Leonard Fournette, but they were a late field goal away from going 2-0 on Sunday. And who knows whether Trevor Lawrence will be better than Gardner Minshew in the NFL anyway. Have you looked at MInshew's numbers from the first two games? Good luck matching that performance in your first two games as an absolute NFL starter Trevor.
Not coincidentally, the weak-assed Bears haven't started a season 2-0 since 2013.
But every time the cameras have found Trubisky during these first two games, he has looked shellshocked, like he is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. That was especially the case after his first interception yesterday - the one that was almost entirely his fault (Allen Robinson could have done a better job coming back for the ball but the throw was late and therefore ill-advised). It is now time for us to wrap up our little chat with the quarterback:
"Mitch, bubbie, hopefully this is the start of the time of your life. Hopefully this is the beginning of a season in which you get your quarterbacking career back on track. Enjoy every last bit of it(!), especially as long as your team has more wins than losses. Because we all know it is fleeting, right? You are still a long way away from quieting the doubters and you of course will never be nearly as good as Pat Mahomes.
"But there is joy to be had if you can snap out of the funk you've been in. We all know it is tough to dance a jig when you've been a crushing disappointment for the last year-plus. But this is a new season and you and your team are catching the breaks so far. Ride that wave, big guy!"
Another thing that should put a smile on Mitch's face is that it is now crystal clear that general manager Ryan Pace completely blew another critical quarterback evaluation last offseason.
The man who refused to take Dak Prescott with pick after pick after pick in the fourth round in 2016, who gave Mike Glennon $18 million, who picked Trubisky ahead of . . . you know the story . . . that man chose to give up a fourth-round pick and three years' worth of guaranteed salary totaling $21 million for Nick Foles.
If Pace had been just a tiny bit more patient (and he is the most impatient GM in the league - something that will be a huge part of his eventual downfall), he could have had former Super Bowl quarterback Cam Newton - who became a free agent after the Panthers were forced to release him - for no draft pick and a tiny fraction of that guaranteed money.
I mean, how bad do you have to be at evaluating the most important position in the game before you slink away, too embarrassed to continue to call yourself the general manager of this storied fran . . . we should stop saying that. This franchise has sucked too often for too many decades. If it is a story, it is one that is so tragic in a sporting context that it is comic.
Did anyone see the Sunday night game? That was when Newton put together a heroic performance as he came within one yard of leading the Patriots to a remarkable upset victory at Seattle. He is so much better than Foles (and Trubisky) it makes me nauseous just to write about him. The Bears could have had him at the ultimate bargain rate (OK, OK, they probably would have had to pay him slightly more than the Patriots did. But they wouldn't have had to pay him a guaranteed $21 mill, that's for damn sure).
But one guy benefits from the Bears bringing in Foles instead of Newton - Pace's beloved Trubisky. And the quarterback took advantage of the opportunity with decent play for long stretches Sunday as the Bears took a substantial first-half lead and then held on for dear life at the end against the desperate Giants. Trubisky still has so much more to prove, but the first thing he needs to do is to stop looking like he has no clue on the sideline. And oh by the way the second interception was almost completely Robinson's fault.
"Hey Allen," we might say. "Twenty-five-million-a-year wide receivers (or however much Robinson's agents are insisting on in contract negotiations) make that catch or at least they don't let the ball get into their body (as opposed to being caught by their hands), which made what 'never in a million years should have been an interception' an interception."
In conclusion, I'm starting to think that 6-10 (my preseason prediction) is probably not going to happen. My guess is now 7-9. And yes, I know I've allowed the euphoria of this start to the season to go straight to my head. I'll try not to let that get completely out of control.
Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.
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Posted on Oct 11, 2021