It happened in the first quarter, when the Chicago Bears had the ball on the New Orleans Saints’ 35-yard line. Bears head coach Matt Nagy put recently-benched quarterback Mitch Trubisky in for starter Nick Foles. With Foles on the bench, Trubisky lined up in shotgun and took the snap, running three yards on a designed Wildcat play. It was a small three-yard moment, but as it turns out, it could be the beginning of a bigger role for Trubisky in the offense moving forward.
One of Trubisky’s best traits is his athleticism, and his abilities as a runner have rarely been questioned. Considering how badly the Bears offense is struggling (they’re 28th in the NFL in scoring offense and 31st in rushing yards per game), it wouldn’t be a surprise or a stretch to see Nagy use Trubisky akin to the way Sean Payton uses quarterback Taysom Hill over in New Orleans.
After losing to Payton and the Saints Sunday afternoon, Nagy was asked about the Mitch-in-Wildcat play, specifically, and he had an interesting response.
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Matt Nagy Confirms We Could See More of Mitch in the Future…
Saints backup quarterback/gadget player Taysom Hill was quite effective against the Bears in limited action Sunday. He had five carries for 35 yards, along with two catches for 30 yards and a touchdown. Hill has been having a bit of a down year in 2020, but he broke out last season when he became a formidable weapon in the Saints offense, scoring seven touchdowns.
While Trubisky doesn’t have the exact same skill set Hill does (Mitch isn’t receiver material, whereas six of Hill’s seven scores were caught), he is one of the better running quarterbacks in the league, and when he was asked whether we could see Trubisky’s role expand as a wildcat quarterback, Nagy answered in the affirmative.
“Yeah, we could,” the Bears coach said. “Credit to Mitch. He’s done a really good job in his role that he’s in right now. It’s a weapon for us to be able to use his legs and then obviously be able to throw the ball as well. That’s something that we’re looking at and every game could be a little bit different but it’s something that teams have to prepare for.”
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Would More Mitch on Offense Be a Good Thing?
Let’s be real: Throwing the ball isn’t Trubisky’s strong suit. He has been wildly inconsistent as a passer since entering the league, and he has shown very little improvement. While the list of fans and analysts calling for his return is growing, the numbers show Foles is the better quarterback for the Bears, at least right now:
PPG under Trubisky- 21.3
2.8 sacks per game
Completions over 20 yds/g- 1.2
Avg DVOA ranking of opp- 21.3
PPG under Foles- 21.2
2.4 sacks per game
Completions over 20 yds/g- 2.5
Avg DVOA ranking of opp- 12.6
No, #Bears should not switch.
— Bill Zimmerman (@ZimmermanSXM) November 2, 2020
That said, Trubisky is a far better athlete than Foles, and the Bears would be wise to harness his rushing skills while they still can. Throwing him into the mix as a running quarterback, as Nagy noted, makes opposing defenses have to at least account for him, and it could add another dimension to an offense that has been sorely lacking.
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