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Chicago Bears

Hub Arkush: Who's next Bears QB? No, what's next for Trubisky?

Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky scrambles for good yardage on their final drive against the Chargers on Sunday at Soldier Field.
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky scrambles for good yardage on their final drive against the Chargers on Sunday at Soldier Field.

The ultimate irony of the constant gloom and doom about Mitch Trubisky’s future is that he is not even a full half-season removed from his first Pro Bowl – albeit as an alternate – and setting a single-season Bears record for passer rating at 95.4 (Josh McCown had a 109 but started only five games in 2013).

Trubisky accomplished all that in his first season in a new offense that is alleged to be one of the most complicated in the NFL.

Only six games later, the majority of Bears Nation wants to write him off.

Obviously, it makes little sense – if any at all – and I’m more than a bit stunned by all the suddenly revelatory prophecies we’re hearing these days from people surprised to learn the Bears are committed to Mitch for the remainder of the season.

Of course they are; it shouldn’t even be a question.

The question that matters: How much further is he likely to come over the next nine games?

I asked coach Matt Nagy on Friday if he feels his quarterback has taken a step back, or if he’s just hit a bit of a slump.

“Me, personally, I feel like it’s a slump,” Nagy said. “You know, I just think that it’s not just him, though. It’s all of us. We’re all collectively in a slump.

“He’s the one that gets it because of playing the quarterback position, and we can all play better. He can play better, he knows that.

“There are some quarterbacks now in the history of this game that have had [slumps]. They have. It’s a matter of patience; it’s a matter of where you’re at as a team.”

The only guys who know more about playing quarterback in Nagy’s offense are Chiefs coach Andy Reid and Nagy’s best friend, Doug Pederson, who won a Super Bowl with his backup quarterback in the same scheme.

Here’s what Pederson thinks about Trubisky: “I’ve always liked Mitchell. I love his ‘compete,’ I love his athleticism. Obviously, he’s a tough kid, smart kid.

“And you look at last year and what he was able to do and lead that football team and literally brought them back against us with a chance to win. It was a great two-minute drive at the end of the game, standing in there tall, delivering the throws that he’s capable of doing.

“That’s who he is.”

Both Nagy and Pederson have pointed to how effective Trubisky has been when it matters most, with four game-winning, come-from-behind drives to his credit already and the two more he’d have with decent placekicking. 

“I think guys thrive in those moments,” Pederson said. “That’s when they’re the best, when their backs are against the wall and they need to put a drive together.

“That’s what I’ve seen. That’s what you saw last week. That’s what we saw in the playoff game last year with him.

“He puts that team in a position to win, and that’s all you can ask from your quarterback. “But I do think that’s something that, guys have that or they don’t.

“He’s one of the guys that has it.”

Trubisky claims to be comfortable with where he’s at right now, and he was really grateful for the help he got on the ground last week against the Chargers.

“I feel good, always progressing, always learning from mistakes, just always trying to get better,” he said.

“I think [the running game] just helped keep the defense honest a little bit, and I think more than anything it gave a lot of confidence to our O-line. I think it makes the pass game a lot easier when you have those defensive linemen, they can’t key on pass all the time, and it definitely, I think, opened up a lot on offense.”

Clearly, you can’t have Trubisky’s two turnovers early in the fourth quarter last week and expect to win, but other than those two plays, he arguably looked the best he has since last year.

Is he about to turn the corner and be who general manager Ryan Pace thought he would be? Honestly, I have no idea.

But I do know that for today that should be the question, not who’s most likely to be his successor.

• Hub Arkush is executive editor of Pro Football Weekly. Write to him at harkush@profootballweekly.com, and follow him on Twitter @Hub_Arkush.

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