Random musings at the end of a dismal season… .
Second-guessing is absolutely the easiest of efforts, hindsight being blessed with its inherent clarity. And NFL years with double-digit losses are by definition replete with “what-if’s,” particularly this one for the Bears, dating back to before it had even started:
“What if…the Bears hadn’t given up picks to trade up a spot to draft Mitch Trubisky?”
“What if…Cam Meredith and Kevin White hadn’t been lost for the year before the season was even a week old?”
or the big one…
“What if the Bears had started Trubisky from Day 1, as some in the decision room were advocating?”
How much better would he be going into Week 17 than he is even now, which is pretty good, for a rookie?
Would even a slightly better Trubisky have gotten the Bears past Green Bay, San Francisco, maybe even Detroit, New Orleans or Minnesota, all games decided by a touchdown or less?
The debate not all that long ago (even though it seems like a long time ago, given the slog through the schedule that has played out) was whether or not Trubisky should be allowed to marinate for a season or so, learning as a student rather than being flung into live action from the get-go.
The organization invested $18.5 million in Tampa Bay backup Mike Glennon to give itself two shots at hitting on a quarterback and aside from the money, there were decent reasons for going to Glennon first. Trubisky was not a case of the coaching staff not knowing what it had in the rookie; they knew.
The variable was Trubisky, specifically, whether the moment would prove too big for a quarterback coming off a resume of just 13 college starts. It turned out that the moment was in fact palpably too big for Glennon, while Trubisky proved more than comfortable with pressure in every form.
And Trubisky did want to start, felt he was up to it, way back on opening day, but doesn’t in the least fault the decision and program laid out for him from GM Ryan Pace on down.
“I think every situation’s different,” Trubisky said this week. “For me personally, I wanted to be thrown in as quickly as possible, but I respected and appreciated the plan they had for me and I think it worked out. You can’t go back and change things, but knowing what I know now, it worked for what we were trying to do here, but every situation’s different.
“For me the best experience is to actually go through it. But you can also gain a lot of experience from sitting and watching. It all depends on the person and how much you can benefit from each situation.”
Suppose those situations had started sooner. Organizationally, a question might be how the Trubisky Experience might influence handling of future young players, but as Trubisky says, it’s different for different individuals. Peyton Manning went 3-13 his rookie season with zero hold-the-clipboard time. Trubisky already has topped that win total, and he didn’t have Marshall Faulk, Marvin Harrison and Ken Dilger the way Manning did (if you’re looking for meaningless comparisons).
Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains says that adversity builds character; I think it more accurately reveals character, but either way, adversity did not set Trubisky back in the slightest.
“Going through these tough games, battling through a tough season, it’s going to help [Trubisky] long-term,” Loggains said. “It’s like when you go back and study Manning, some of these guys when they first got in the league, you got to grind through these things and battle. How many sacks did Aaron Rodgers and Alex Smith take early in their career?
“[Trubisky] has a unique ability not to turn the football over. I say that with one game left. He took too many sacks early on. Now you start to see him extend plays with his legs and throwing balls away. Just the growth that keeps happening.”
One is left to wonder what that growth would look like going into this weekend if it’d been started four games earlier… .