Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky has been everything Chicago has longed for from a quarterback over the last two weeks. His stretch of solid games extends beyond Weeks 13 and 14, but his performance against the Lions on Thanksgiving Day and last Thursday's dual-threat demolition of the Cowboys were franchise-quarterback quality.
Trubisky is hot right now. And there's no better time for the Bears to have their quarterback dishing dimes than entering 'Packers week'.
"I just think he’s playing at a really high level right now," Packers coach Matt LaFleur said Wednesday. "They rolled up a pretty good number on a pretty solid Dallas defense. He just looks decisive, if it’s not there he’s using his legs a little bit more, so we’re gonna have to be extremely disciplined in our rush lanes and make sure we keep eyes on him at all times because he’s a talented guy and if it’s not there on schedule, he can really hurt you with his legs."
That part about Trubisky using his legs? It's an aspect of his game (a big one) that's been missing almost all year until he uncorked 63 rushing yards against Dallas. To put his season in perspective, Trubisky didn't total 63 rushing yards between Weeks 8 and 13 combined!
So, yeah, getting his legs going is a huge reason he had so much success against a solid Cowboys defense.
Despite a 7-6 record and a level of play that's fallen short of expectations this season for Trubisky and the entire Bears organization, LaFleur still has obvious respect for what Chicago is capable of. They've proven over the last three games that they're still an extremely talented roster that's more than worthy of being one of the six NFC playoff teams.
And while the Packers are the squad with 10 wins and eyes set on an NFC North title, LaFleur knows how challenging Week 15 will be.
"I think we all know what’s kinda on the line here, in terms of you got a team that’s really hungry right now, and they’re talented and they’re on a roll. They’re going to be coming in here with a lot of confidence, they took it to us a little bit last game, so I think our guys, their minds are in the right place and they’ll be ready to play.
"We know it’s going to be a tough-ass game, and we better get our minds right, our bodies right, ready to go."
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.
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.
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.
At East-West Shrine, FIU QB James Morgan also met with Dolphins, Vikings, Patriots, Saints, Giants, Jets, Raiders, Eagles, 49ers, Seahawks, Titans, Washington, Ravens, Bills, Bears, Buccaneers, among others— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) January 15, 2020
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.
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.