Minnesota's defense is one of the best in the NFL, but that doesn't change that the time is right for Mitchell Trubisky to start.
The Vikings’ defense sacked Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford five times on Sunday. Through four games, Mike Zimmer and George Edwards’ group has held running backs to 3.1 yards per carry, the fourth-lowest average in the NFL. This is a top-10 scoring defense, allowing an average of 19 points per game.
Trubisky’s debut will not come against an “ideal” opponent, i.e. one with an unorganized, leaky defense that could allow him to slowly wade into NFL waters. But does that really matter?
“I think you just kind of know when it’s time,” coach John Fox said on Sept. 18.
The Bears’ decision to start Trubisky next Monday against the Vikings has more to do with the No. 2 pick’s development — and, to an extent, Mike Glennon’s ineffectiveness — than it does with the opponent. If the Bears were looking for that ideal team, it would've required waiting until Oct. 29’s road game against the New Orleans Saints, who’ve allowed 6.2 yards per play this year (second-worst only to the New England Patriots).
But waiting that long could mean Trubisky takes over a 1-7 or 2-6 team. It’s a lot easier to salvage a season a quarter of the way through it than halfway through it.
The locker room, too, knows who should be starting. Sticking with Glennon, who committed eight turnovers and struggled to move in the pocket and throw the ball downfield, could’ve risked Fox losing the team and having a hard time getting it back even after Trubisky were to take over.
Trubisky’s been preparing for this behind the scenes while running the scout team in practice — where his teammates surely have seen him improve — and now gets a full week to prepare to make his NFL debut. That it’s against an organized, solid Vikings defense doesn’t matter when the time is right.
“I don’t know if I can describe it,” Trubisky said last month of the NFL learning curve. “It’s tough even for me to try and explain to people what I’m going through and what it is we do here. How difficult the NFL is and how competitive it is — that’s the beautiful thing about it.
“Hopefully just keep working every day and keep perfecting your craft and do your job to the best of your ability and help the guys around you so you go out there and win on Sunday. Yeah, there is a learning curve but the more reps you get the better you’ll get and the better off you’ll be. I’m still learning and waiting for the opportunity.”