Bears

How bad was Mitch Trubisky on deep-ball throws in 2019?

How bad was Mitch Trubisky on deep-ball throws in 2019?

It's been a rough few months for Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky. First, Chicago traded for his potential replacement, Nick Foles. Then came general manager Ryan Pace's decision to decline his fifth-year option, a move that's generally considered a no-brainer if a first-round quarterback has shown promise through his first three seasons.

Trubisky's certainly had some quality moments behind center for the Bears, and his productive 2018 season raised expectations for a big second year under Matt Nagy's tutelage in 2019. Unfortunately, he regressed across the board. He was so bad -- and seemed so lost -- that his time in Chicago feels like it's running out.

Pace took his time making his decision on Trubisky's fifth-year option. He did his due diligence; he reviewed and analyzed and scrutinized every aspect of Trubisky's game. In the end, No. 10 just hasn't been good enough, and one thing that's plagued him is his inability to connect on the long ball. In fact, Trubisky was recently rated as the league's worst deep-ball thrower by USA Today's Doug Farrar. 

There are a number of reasons the Bears declined Trubisky’s fifth-year option and brought Nick Foles in to compete for Chicago’s starting job, but Trubisky’s performance on deep passes is stunningly bad. Last season, Trubisky had the worst EPA (Expected Points Added) on deep throws — his -14.6 far outpaced the field, as Daniel Jones of the Giants finished second-worst at -9.0. On such throws, Trubisky completed just 32 of 103 passes for 779 yards, four touchdowns, and seven interceptions. It’s one of many things Trubisky will have to improve if he’s ever to be thought of as anything but a draft bust.

Having a quality deep ball isn't a prerequisite to be a quality NFL starter, but it certainly helps. The ability to flip the field on one play that's the result of an on-the-money bucket-throw is extremely valuable, and it's a reasonable expectation for a player who was selected with the second overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

The Bears aren't good enough to overcome a quarterback who fails to take advantage of those rare opportunities to make impact downfield throws. That's why Foles is in Chicago. And it's why Trubisky probably won't be much longer.

Madden 21 rating leaks: Chicago Bears Top-10 overall rated players

Madden 21 rating leaks: Chicago Bears Top-10 overall rated players

As Madden 21 ratings continue to leak out, one site claims to have gotten a hold of the Top-10 players for each team. According to Madden School, a website that says they’ve served the Madden community for 13 years, the Bears only have one player rated over 90-- Khalil Mack at 97. That’s one point lower than where Mack finished the season on Madden 20.

Here’s the full list for the Bears:

Khalil Mack: 97 overall

Eddie Jackson: 89 overall

Allen Robinson: 89 overall

Akiem Hicks: 88 overall

Kyle Fuller: 85 overall

Eddie Goldman: 84 overall

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Roquan Smith: 83 overall

Robert Quinn: 82 overall

Charles Leno Jr.: 81 overall

Cody Whitehair: 81 overall

It’s important to note that none of these numbers came with picture or video evidence from early copies of the game.

Unsurprisingly, only one offensive skill player cracked the Top-10 for the Bears, Allen Robinson. Equally unsurprising is the fact that seven of the Top-10 are on defense.

EA Sports began releasing the official Madden 21 ratings on Monday, and will continue to do so through Friday.


RELATED: Madden 21 rating leaks: Another source says Khalil Mack may have lost elite 99-overall status

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Here's where Maurice Jones-Drew ranks David Montgomery among NFL running backs

Here's where Maurice Jones-Drew ranks David Montgomery among NFL running backs

Former NFL running back and current NFL Network personality, Maurice Jones-Drew, published his ranking of the top-32 running backs in the NFL on Monday and, of course, the Bears didn't get much love. To be more specific, David Montgomery was downright disrespected.

To be fair, MJD's assessment (or ranking) of Montgomery wasn't entirely based on No. 32's talent. Instead, it appears the Bears' offense -- and Matt Nagy -- is why Jones-Drew isn't high on the former Iowa State star.

Montgomery checked-in at No. 27 on MJD's list.

Montgomery's success depends on whether or not Matt Nagy wants to run the ball. They abandoned the run game week after week in 2019, and it showed in the team's 8-8 record. I'm expecting Montgomery to get the bulk of the carries and Tarik Cohen to continue to be frequently used in certain packages. The second-year back can do a little bit of everything, but needs Nagy to commit to running the rock.

It's hard to tell whether or not MJD believes Montgomery has the talent to be a top-10 running back in the NFL. He describes him as a player who can do 'a little bit of everything,' but doesn't necessarily suggest he can do any one thing really well. There are a lot of running backs in the NFL who fit that description, and they're normally playing backup to starter with a stronger skill set.

Running backs who were ranked in the same range as Montgomery included James Conner (Steelers, No. 25) and Sony Michel (Patriots, No. 26). Detroit's Kerryon Johnson was 28th.

Whether you take MJD's list seriously or put any weight into it at all is your call. But keep this in mind: he said he'd rank himself similarly to Adrian Peterson (23rd) if he decided to come out of retirement in 2020. 

As for Montgomery, it's fair to question his long-term outlook considering the narrative around the running back position. It isn't all that difficult to find a quality starter, and with next offseason presenting a potentially historic class of available running backs, Montgomery is certainly on the hot seat. He ran for just 889 yards as a rookie in 2019.

Preseason rankings are fun exercises to evaluate the landscape of the league, but they're also extremely volatile. Montgomery can quickly become one of the most respected running backs in the NFL if he gets off to a hot start early in the 2020 season.