Mitchell Trubisky put together his worst stat line as a pro Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles: 17/33, 147 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs and a 38.3 rating. Some of those rough numbers weren’t all his fault, according to his coaches: There were some issues with receivers not running routes well, and Dontrelle Inman was guilty of a couple of dropped passes.
And the Bears only managed six rushing yards, the second-lowest single-game total in franchise history. That certainly didn’t help Trubisky, ether.
But there were some things Trubisky needed to do better, specifically involving his footwork. That’s been a coaching point for him this week as the development of 2017’s No. 2 overall pick takes center stage over these final five weeks of the season.
“He got caught bouncing a little bit,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “It was a tendency he had in college and we talked to him a lot about keeping his shoulders and head still, and he did get hoppy a little bit and there were some throws that were errant because of that. (It’s) something we’re going to keep working and grinding on that way.”
That Trubisky footwork, and by extension, his accuracy were a problem on Sunday is at least somewhat concerning. Accuracy was regarded as one of Trubisky’s best attributes coming out of North Carolina, and as recently as two weeks ago, one of his teammates (right tackle Bobby Massie) described him as being “accurate as s**t.”
Trubisky wasn’t able to totally explain why his throwing mechanics faltered in Philadelphia, saying he was “just not doing what I was coached to do.
“Overthinking or not being as focused, just not doing the right footwork. There might not be any particular reasons. Sometimes I did the perfect footwork, other times I was off by a step, other times a bucket-step where I’m not in line. Other times I’m fading in the pocket, moving when I don’t need to move because of the rush. Sometimes you feel those things as a quarterback and you’ve just got to fix them, and I will.”
What’s interesting is Loggains mentioned Trubisky’s “hoppy” issues were something they noticed on his college tape. Perhaps that’s something that happens to a rookie quarterback who knows the opposing defense — in this case, one of the best in the NFL — is going to be coming after him given the necessity to throw with a significant deficit on the scoreboard.
“I don’t really feel like we need to give him an excuse on that,” Loggains said. “He needs to, you know, it’s just the grind of doing it every day and keep working at it. The good thing is it gives him something to work really hard at this week and he knows it’s a problem and he knows when he comes to the sideline if he ever misses a throw because he’s an accurate guy why it happened. So in just, so, making we continue to work through that process.”
Trubisky’s footwork/accuracy will be a storyline to follow through the final five games of the season. If he’s able to clean it up, then perhaps the Philadelphia game can be viewed as a blip — and a good lesson for what not to do the next time Trubisky encounters a situation that bad. If this problem persists, though, it could become more of a long-term concern, or at least something that’ll be a focus in the spring and summer.
“It's an ongoing process,” Loggains said. “Obviously him acknowledging that he's doing it is a big step to fixing it. But when you get in the heat of the game, it's all the time and all the work you've done in the offseason, at practice, it becomes muscle memory instead of thinking about those things.
“Sometimes in a game when it's going like that, you have to go back to the fundamentals. Hey, go get a completion right here. Think about your footwork. Make sure your'e going through the right progression. Make sure your eye is on the right spot. Those things we can help him in-game and it's going to be a process, just continue to work through it.”