The word that best describes the Bears' 2019 season is disappointment, and no player was more disappointing than quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
The former second overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft began the year as a darkhorse MVP candidate. Matt Nagy said the third-year passer was ready for Level 202 of his offense, and after a promising 2018 campaign that saw Trubisky emerge as one of the NFL's ascending dual-threat quarterbacks, '202' was supposed to be a special kind of breakout.
Instead, Trubisky regressed in virtually every way possible. His poor accuracy was a result of even worse mechanics, his pocket presence was a showcase of inexperience and happy feet, and his best asset — his legs — was hardly ever used.
By year's end, Trubisky completed 63.2% of his passes for 3,138 yards, 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He ran for just 193 yards and two scores, numbers that fell way short of his 421 rushing yards in 2018.
There were some good moments from Trubisky in 2019, but they were few and far between. Aside from a two-game stretch against the Lions and Cowboys in Weeks 13 and 14, he failed to stack two or more positive games together and was oftentimes the main reason the Bears couldn't build momentum throughout the regular season.
To be fair, Trubisky didn't have much help from his offensive line. The Bears gave up 45 sacks this season, the 12th-most in the NFL. Tackles Charles Leno, Jr. and Bobby Massie both had sub-par seasons, and the injuries and position changes along the interior made things even worse.
But if Trubisky is ever going to be considered a legitimate franchise quarterback, he has to rise above the chaos and be the reason for success. Through three seasons in Chicago, the Bears have won games in spite of Trubisky rather than because of him.
Trubisky ranked 38th among quarterbacks graded by Pro Football Focus in 2019. His 64.0 grade was a smidge higher than Jets starter Sam Darnold (63.4) and a tick lower than Titans backup (and potential Bears offseason target) Marcus Mariota (64.1). His adjusted completion percentage (71.1) ranked 45th, while his passer rating under pressure (55.2) ranked 50th.
Sounds about right, doesn't it? Trubisky played like a backup quarterback in 2019, and the analytics support that conclusion.
Maybe it's what his career is destined to become: an NFL backup.
Trubisky enters the offseason with support from Ryan Pace and Nagy as the starter in 2020, but that may be nothing more than end-of-year lipservice. The Bears will add a quarterback this offseason, via either free agency or the NFL Draft, and that quarterback will challenge Trubisky sooner than later for the starting job.
The Bears were 8-8 in 2019 for a long list of reasons, but none are bigger than Trubisky's regression and overall failure in Year 3.