Mitch Trubisky is set to embark on his second year as a pro and his first full season as the Chicago Bears starting quarterback. He will lean on the experience he gained in 12 starts in 2017, but a massive learning curve remains for the former second overall pick.
"I expect it to be positive," former Indianapolis Colts receiver and current NFL Network analyst Reggie Wayne recently said of Trubisky's upcoming season. "But one thing we gotta realize is Mitchell is about to be a rookie again. They [Bears] have a first-year head coach, that head coach is also your offensive coordinator, so that means a new playbook.
"You have new parts on offense that you have to get communication with. I'm now sure what the situation with Allen Robinson is right now, you still have to get the timing down with him, so it's going to be a learning process."
Robinson is just one of several new targets Trubisky must develop a rapport with. Taylor Gabriel, Trey Burton, Anthony Miller and Kevin White are pass-catchers Trubisky has yet to throw a regular-season pass attempt to.
"By Mitch being in his second year, I still expect him to make better decisions and not take a step back," Wayne said.
Trubisky's first season was a positive one. He threw for 2,193 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions in an offense that lacked creativity and playmakers. He flashed his athletic upside with 248 rushing yards and two scores on the ground.
"He's going to need to take the bull by the horns and lead this group," Wayne said. "They're expecting him to go out there and make a lot of things happen."
The fate of the Bears' short and long-term future rests on Trubisky's right arm. General manager Ryan Pace mortgaged his career on his most important draft pick this offseason with the investments he made on offense. Every move was with the intent of giving Trubisky everything needed to excel.
Early-season highs and lows are expected, but Trubisky and the Bears offense has to produce this season in order for Pace's plan to maintain full faith and confidence from the fan base and, potentially, ownership.