There are no two ways about it: Nut-cutting time is here for Mitchell Trubisky.Watch the Packers game with a critical and objective eye and you’ll see Aaron Rodgers wasn’t very good Thursday night either.
One game should never make or break a football player.
On the other hand, NFL really does share the same lexicon with not for long, and the expiration date on our patience with the Bears’ quarterback is coming soon.
Trubisky was always going to take longer than the two players he will forever be measured against, Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes, as well as most young quarterbacks.
As I’ve written before, Mahomes came to the NFL with 32 games of major college football starting experience, Watson with 38 — including two national championship games — and Trubisky with just 13.
But Trubisky’s Bears team is built to win now with one of the best defenses in the NFL. Unless you’re the New England Patriots, that window generally stays open for two, maybe three years, and Trubisky was supposed to be ready now with 27 NFL starts behind him entering Year 3.
Because of that defense, the Bears will win more than they lose, but if Trubisky can’t become the reason they win some as well by midseason, playoff expectations will be dashed.
He has shown he has more than enough physical gifts to become a very good quarterback.
As is the case with most highly drafted players at that position that don’t pan out, what’s hurting him is his head, not his arm.
Immediately following the loss to the Packers, his boss, Matt Nagy, acknowledged and confirmed the pressure his young student is facing.
“Yeah, well, it comes with the territory at that position,” he said. “The head coach and the quarterback, it’s our job to understand that when you win, you usually get all the credit. When you lose you get that, too.
“Like I said, to our fans, they have every right to boo, every right to boo. We get it.”
Following the game, Trubisky agreed with his coach.
“I definitely feel like I let a lot of my teammates down and the fans down with the way I played, and I definitely felt like I could have done better.”
A little later he added, “I just need to do my job and come back, look at this film, be critical of myself, which I will, and just make sure we’re better.”
If only it were that simple, and if only it was just the passing game.
In his Friday postmortem, Nagy pointed out for the first time that one of the reasons the running game is so out of whack with the passing game is the number of runs he calls that are actually RPOs and end up passes.
Trubisky described one from Thursday night on a critical third-and-1, where he ended up getting sacked.
“I thought one of them was on me specifically, just trying to do too much with the pull,” he said. “It should have just been an easy hand and ride the wave and convert on the one I pulled. It kind of looked like I was going to have a throw with the RPO, so I know that one was on me.”
There is also the question of whether Trubisky has learned enough yet about reading coverages and when to put the ball.
Nagy said Friday, “There was a couple conviction throws, but there was a couple that he could have been a little bit better.
“He’ll be the first to tell you that.”
I know he will. He’s a really good young man who wants more than anything to be good and he never shirks responsibility.
But how many more game reps does he need to know what he’s seeing and then execute plays at game speed, because that is what separates the quarterbacks who can from those who never do.
The Bears will see some equally challenged offenses the next few weeks with Denver, Washington, Minnesota and the Raiders before their bye.
But after that it’s the Saints, Chargers and Eagles, and if Mitch isn’t ready for his next showdown with a future Hall of Fame quarterback, it will be time to start planning for his going-away party and replacement.