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SportsMonday: Not Even

No, Mitch, you're not close.

The quarterback tried to make the case late Sunday afternoon that he and his team were close to success this year - that if a few plays in a few close games had gone differently, the Bears could have won 10 games and perhaps qualified for the playoffs as a wild card.

But all you have to do is remember games that weren't close - especially the loss to the Saints quarterbacked by back-up Teddy Bridgewater in the first half of the season and, even more especially, the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last week. Someone should remind Mr. Trubisky that that game in particular was not close. And that it showed the Bears are not close to a championship.

The Bears were extremely close to one thing: They were close to losing to a team of back-ups on Sunday in Minnesota. The Vikings were on the verge of a knockout punch in the last few minutes, particularly when they forced the Bears into a fourth-and-nine situation in their last drive.

But then Trubisky completed one of the passes that makes a fan pause before completely hopping on board a plan to replace him next year. He was on the run to the right before firing a perfect pass to Riley Ridley to gain 30 critical yards. It was essentially the play that won the game.

Still, the Bears stunk in all phases on offense this year but the most damning stat of all - of the entire offense and of Trubisky in particular - was the team averaging 5.47 yards per pass attempt.

As Brad Biggs pointed out for Tribune in his final 10 Thoughts column of the season, that number meant the Bears ranked 32nd in the league. 32nd(!) in that critical measuring stick for a team's passing game.

So Trubisky is not the answer in terms of championship contention in the near term, to say the least. But fans are probably stuck with him for the next year, during which time there better be a solid veteran signed to compete with him. Or if the Bears wanted to draft this year's Gardner Minshew, that would be OK too. Minshew was the rookie out of Washington State taken in the sixth round last year who had some success with Jacksonville.

On second thought, Minshew didn't have that much success and on third thought, there probably isn't a Minshew in the 2020 draft anyway.

I don't mind if Trubisky starts the first game next season. What we can't have is Trubisky continuing to start if he posts a stinker like he did in this year's opener, a 10-3 loss to Green Bay, or in its penultimate game (the 26-3 loss to the Chiefs). The team wasn't willing to go to Chase Daniel this year in those sorts of situations. They better have someone at the ready the next time around.

Hopefully Ryan Pace isn't afraid of a little competition at quarterback. If there is one bit of NFL groupthink that really irritates me, it is the idea that a team must have a projected starter at QB at all times; that the worst thing that can happen is the dreaded quarterback controversy.

I have pointed out before and will now do so again that coach Pete Carroll, whose Seahawks missed grabbing the top seed in the NFC playoffs by inches last night, held a quarterback competition in training camp in 2012. It involved rookie Russell Wilson and veteran free agent signing Matt Flynn.

Everyone assumed Flynn would get the job, but Wilson was better and Carroll chose him. Come on, Ryan Pace! Have some guts and go get a decent veteran signal-caller.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

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