Bears

As Mitch Trubisky goes, so do the Bears. Right now, that looks like a good thing.

As Mitch Trubisky goes, so do the Bears. Right now, that looks like a good thing.

The only person who wasn’t happy for Mitch Trubisky was Mitch Trubisky. 

If you watched the suited, showered, and subdued Trubisky stand at the podium under Soldier Field on Thursday night, you would have never guessed he just kept the Bears’ playoff hopes alive by throwing for 241 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-24 win. Instead, the much-maligned quarterback navigated through the 12-minute press conference with the enthusiasm of someone reporting for jury duty.

“Nah, I don’t care about that,” Trubisky said, when asked if he’ll take a moment over the next 11 days to enjoy the win. “I’m just trying to get better every week. Continue to stay hungry and progress each week. We’ve gotten better over the last couple weeks – I’m talking as a team – and that’s what’s most important to me. That’s what allows you to play better as an individual - if you focus on the team first.” 

Aside from the hip debacle in Los Angeles, the quarterback’s infamously-unflappable demeanor hasn’t changed much throughout the few ups and many, many more downs of his third NFL season. What has changed, noticeably, has been his play on the field. Trubisky has ended the last two games with quarterback ratings over 100 and finished both with completion percentages over 70% – the first time he’s gotten over that benchmark since Week 3 against Washington, and only the third time all year. He’s now thrown six touchdowns in two games; Trubisky didn’t even have his sixth touchdown pass of the season until Week 10. 

He was not without flaws on Thursday night, as another ill-advised red zone interception shot the Bears' first drive in the foot. But once again, it was his response – a six-play, 46 yard drive that resulted in the tying score – that had the Bears talking after Club Dub allowed the media in. 

"He's the same guy whether he throws a pick or he doesnt," Charles Leno said. "He's the same guy from the beginning of the game to the end. That's what I love about him."

And while he wasn’t interested in spending time talking about his mini-renaissance, his teammates were more than happy to set the record straight. 

“He’s been a leader,” said Anthony Miller, who continued his strong second-half play with another touchdown catch of his own. “A lot of people have been doubting him, calling him this, that and the third. But we’ve been rocking with him in this locker room. We’ve always had confidence in him, coach has had confidence in him, and he’s just showing y’all we he can do. It’s no surprise to us.”

“We followed our leader Mitch…” added David Montgomery. “ … For me, it’s like a ‘ah-ha!’ moment. Because you see somebody work so hard day-in and day-out. But you’re finally able to see it. A lot of people kind of jumped ship on 10, but Coach Nagy always preaches about staying together as one, and Mitch steps up. I’m just happy for him and happy he’s our quarterback.” 

A packed Soldier Field was even treated to some vintage (if you consider 2018 to be a long time ago, which the Bears players DEFINITELY do) Trubisky on Thursday night. At the start of the 4th quarter, in a two-score game, the Bears dialed up on option play on 1st and 10. Trubisky made the right read, tucked the ball and – after some fine blocking up front – shook Cowboys’ safety Xavier Woods out of his shoes on the way to a 23-yard score. 

“The best part of that, for me, was how excited my teammates got afterwards.” Trubisky said. “Really cool moment. It was good.” 

The Bears have fully adopted the no-one-believes-in-us mantra, but in the quarterback’s case, it’s true. Everyone on the Bears have stood behind him – perhaps at times to a fault – and now, or at least the next 11 days, that decision is starting to feel justifiable. 

“I think one thing is for sure, everybody is seeing what type of people we have on this football team,” Nagy said. “No one has flinched. We've pulled together, become even tighter. We're winning football games now. We're playing as a team.”

Matt Nagy listed among coaches on the hot seat in 2020

Matt Nagy listed among coaches on the hot seat in 2020

It's been quite a first two years in Chicago for Bears coach Matt Nagy.

After winning an NFC North title in a 12-win, first season on the job in 2018, Nagy's Bears regressed to a .500 club last season that couldn't get out of its own way on offense, his supposed specialty. With 32 games on his resume and a 20-12 overall record as head coach, the Bears could do a lot worse.

Remember John Fox? Remember Marc Trestman? Never forget.

RELATED: Chicago Bears 7-round Mock Draft

But the NFL is a win-now, win-always, just-win league. Nagy didn't do that in 2019, and when combined with the Super Bowl expectations the Bears began the year with, his shortcomings were magnified.

Quarterback Mitch Trubisky got worse, the offensive line was a turnstile and the running game didn't exist for most of the year.

All this from Nagy's offense that was hyped as Level 202 during training camp.

The hype is over, and the pressure is on. With pressure comes the proverbial hot seat, and Nagy was recently pegged as one of five coaches who will begin next season with a warm buttock by Bleacher Report. 

Nagy's offense and the play of a costly investment by the name of Mitchell Trubisky dramatically regressed in 2019. The Bears managed just 17.5 points per game while Trubisky produced a mere 17 touchdowns against 10 picks. Little in the way of offensive identity existed while the running game averaged 3.7 yards per carry and one ball-carrier (David Montgomery) surpassed the 300-yard mark.

It doesn't help that the defense went from allowing a league-best 17.7 points per game with 50 sacks in 2018 to 18.6 and 32, respectively, fueling the idea of a regression without defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and putting a further damper on things. 

The Bears, given the investment in Trubisky and pieces like All-Pro linebacker Khalil Mack, have higher expectations than most teams. Going into 2020, another 8-8 season probably isn't going to cut it. 

Nagy's job security will come down to his handling of Trubisky. If the former No. 2 overall pick delivers more of the same in 2020, Nagy has to prove he has the courage to make the change under center. Otherwise, he'll come across as nothing more than GM Ryan Pace's pawn in the quarterback game.

It's true the fates of Pace and Nagy fate are likely tied together. As the 2020 season goes, so goes their future with the team. They have to be in lockstep about Trubisky, and self-preservation is a very powerful thing. Don't expect Trubisky's leash to be all that long.   

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Bears meet with FIU quarterback at East-West Shrine Bowl

Bears meet with FIU quarterback at East-West Shrine Bowl

The Bears' quest to flip their quarterback room from a group of underwhelming veterans with little upside behind Mitch Trubisky is already off and running.

According to the Houston Chronicle's Aaron Wilson, the Bears met with FIU quarterback James Morgan at the 2020 East-West Shrine Bowl, the second-largest All-Star game of the NFL draft circuit.

Morgan (6-foot-4, 223) completed 58 percent of his passes last season for 2,560 yards, 14 touchdowns and five interceptions. He isn't considered a draftable player at this point in the process, but a strong showing in front of scouts at the Shrine Bowl could change that. 

Morgan had a more productive 2018 campaign when he threw 26 touchdowns to just seven interceptions while completing more than 65 percent of his passes. 

RELATED: Chicago Bears 7-round Mock Draft

Bears fans are expecting a bigger move at quarterback than Morgan, but if Chicago adds a veteran in free agency, they're more likely to wait until Day 3 to draft a developmental prospect, if any at all. It's possible Trubisky will be backed up (at least initially) by a player like Andy Dalton to begin the year, while a youngster like Morgan sharpens his skill set on the practice squad.

Next week's Senior Bowl will help put some of the pieces of this puzzle together. Quarterbacks Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma) and Jordan Love (Utah State) are both considered late first-round prospects who could easily slide into Round 2. If the Bears spend time with them in Mobile, it could be a strong clue about their second-round plans.

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