There’s been an assumption since the Bears traded for Nick Foles that both he and Mitch Trubisky will start games this season.
It makes sense. Foles has never started more than 11 games in a season and Trubisky’s job security is on life support. And even if he does play well, Trubisky has yet to play a full 16 game season, missing two games in 2018 and one in 2019 due to injury.
On top of all that, there happens to be a pandemic going on. Heck, even Tyler Bray might need to start a game this year.
But what if Trubisky stays healthy in 2020?
Let’s not forget that despite the struggles, he’s still 23-18 as the Bears starting quarterback and 21-10 the last two seasons. Yeah, yeah, the Bears went 12-4 in 2018 because of the defense.
That’s kind of the point. Was anyone calling for Trubisky to be benched in 2018?
So here’s my bold prediction for 2020: Mitch Trubisky will start all 16 regular season games this season.
Don’t confuse me with a Trubisky truther. I’m not predicting that he’s suddenly going to look like an All-Pro. But it is reasonable to suggest that with some offseason improvements and a repaired left shoulder, Trubisky can – and probably should – look more like the guy that won 11 football games with an outstanding defense in 2018.
Was that good enough to justify the Bears drafting him No. 2 overall? No. But that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about ways in which Trubisky could be benched in 2020.
Taking injury out of the equation, Trubisky would have to look awful enough that head coach Matt Nagy simply feels like he can’t win football games with him on the field. At times last year, that was the case. In 2018, that wasn’t the case. Even when Trubisky struggled mightily against the Los Angeles Rams on a cold night at Soldier Field, the defense found a way to beat a team that went to the Super Bowl.
I don’t think this year’s defense will be as dominant as 2018, but the unit should still be very good. Trubisky also has the best tight end group he’s worked with in Chicago and a wide receiver room that is plenty good enough. If the quarterback truly did improve enough to beat out Foles for the starting job, then it’s certainly within the realm of possibilities that he plays well enough not lose his job.
One of the reasons why I’m not buying the idea that Trubisky is “on a short leash” is because his backup isn’t the future of the franchise. Nick Foles is a 31-year-old journeyman quarterback who has enjoyed his greatest success as a reliever. Some have overrated the investment in Foles and failed to realize that he’s an expensive insurance policy, not a quarterback the Bears are dying to play.
If the Bears turn to him, it likely means they are done with Trubisky. That’s not a decision you make with a short leash. Now declared the team’s starting quarterback again, Trubisky would truly have to lose his job – not just his starting job, but likely his entire future with the Bears – before Nagy turns to Foles.
Many believe that will happen. Some seem to want it to happen. I believe the evidence points to Trubisky looking more like the guy we saw in 2018 than 2019.
Is that great? No. Is it enough for him to keep his starting job all season if he stays healthy? I think so.
Hey, it’s supposed to be a bold prediction.