No one knows what the Mitch Trubisky era in Pittsburgh will bring. But one thing is certain: Trubisky’s time in Chicago was an utter disaster for both parties.
Not so much for the record Trubisky helped the Chicago Bears to but for the fact that he failed to meet the intense expectations of a player selected second overall. In Trubisky’s 50 starts between 2017 and 2020, the Bears were 29-21 and made the playoffs twice. The team was one-and-done in both appearances but considering they hadn’t made it to the postseason since 2010; it was a vast improvement.
Had Trubisky not entered the NFL in such a dramatic fashion, the story might have ended differently. Trading up a spot with a team that didn’t want a quarterback, let alone Trubisky, will forever go down in the Bears’ history books as one of the worst decisions ever. Chicago traded the Nos. 3, 67 and 111 picks and a 2018 third-round pick to the San Francisco 49ers for the second overall pick. All while Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson remained on the board.
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While it’s still too early to determine whether Pittsburgh made the right move with Trubisky, there’s no question it’s low-risk/high-reward. The Steelers got a steal for one of the best free-agent quarterbacks on the market when they signed Trubisky to a team-friendly $14.28 million deal on March 17.
Never Make the Same Mistake Twice
Quarterback run plays were a big reason for the successful 11-3 record. According to Pro Football Reference, Trubisky had 68 rush attempts (29 for first downs) for 421 yards and three scores. The following season, in 2019, the offensive scheme called for Trubisky to throw more from inside the pocket, and the team suffered for it.
The quarterback — lauded for his ability to make plays with his legs — was limited to 193 rushing yards on 48 attempts.
“[Trubisky] could’ve utilized (his athleticism) even more,” ex-Steelers, Bears quarterback and sports broadcaster Jim Miller told Randy Baumann and the WDVE Morning Show. “The Bears were trying to make him a pocket passer. At times, he needs to be who he is. Just adapt and adjust and be that backyard playground (player) when you need to pull those plays out. Sometimes he was trying to play too much from within the pocket.”
“He’s got some jets,” Miller added. “He can scoot. He’s a good athlete. He’s tough. At times, his toughness gets the best of him. He’s got to know when to get down, slide, get out of bounds.”
If Trubisky can settle into Matt Canada’s movement-based offense and determine when best to utilize his dual-threat talent, he has the potential to really shine.
The Bears made the fatal mistake of trying to stunt one of Trubisky’s greatest strengths. Based on what Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has said this offseason, they intend to highlight mobility.
“Quarterback mobility is a more significant part of the game than it’s ever been in today’s game,” Tomlin said in a March 28 press conference. “Matter of fact, in 2021, I think the yards per rush in the NFL was the largest it had ever been. It wasn’t because teams are running the ball more effectively; it’s because they are utilizing the quarterback as a runner.”
“So now you’re playing 11-on-11 football, so do the math. Guys have to be defeat blocks to make tackles in today’s game to be effective at stopping the run.”
Many quarterbacks who flounder don’t often get a chance to revive their careers. It appears that the Pittsburgh Steelers will give Mitch Trubisky that chance. What he does with it is up to him.