Mitch Trubisky did not have the season anybody hoped for in 2019. He’s thrown for just 17 touchdowns to 10 interceptions and will barely top 3,000 yards, continuing the epic streak of Chicago Bears quarterbacks who have never thrown for 30 TDs or 4,000 yards. Many believe this is due in large part to Trubisky just not being good enough. While it is true that the 25-year old has his flaws, not all of this is his fault.
One of the things that head coach Matt Nagy has harped on since he took over in 2018 was a need for a productive tight end. The system he’s learned under Andy Reid dating back to their days in Philadelphia together put great emphasis on it. This is why the Bears spent such a considerable amount of money on Trey Burton in free agency last year. They needed somebody who could threaten the middle of the field in the passing game.
Looking back in hindsight, Nagy wasn’t overselling all this. People have no grasp of just how integral the tight ends have been to Trubisky’s success. In the past three years, the Bears have gotten at least 40 yards in a game out of a tight end eight times. In those eight games, Trubisky has completed 66.4% of his passes for 2,069 yards, 17 touchdowns, and just four interceptions. That isn’t just good production. Many would call it “elite” production.
2019 underscores Bears failure to help Mitch Trubisky
For those who care to have an idea of just how monumental a failure the tight end position has been for the Bears this season? In 14 games, a tight end has gone over 40 yards just once. This was when J.P. Holtz made three catches for 56 against the Dallas Cowboys. Is it any coincidence that Trubisky had his best game of the year, throwing for three touchdowns and posting a passer rating of 115.5? His other two great games against Detroit also featured TD passes to Ben Braunecker and Jesper Horsted.
All of this falls at the feet of GM Ryan Pace. His most notable investments at tight end the past three years have all failed to deliver. Adam Shaheen, their 2nd round pick in 2017, is a bust. Dion Sims didn’t amount to much when he signed a nice contract with the team that same year. Trey Burton was decent for a considerable portion of 2018 but injuries began to plague him before the start of the playoffs. Something that has carried over into this year.
Meanwhile the guys Trubisky is often compared to have gotten plenty of help. Patrick Mahomes has Travis Kelce, one of the best in football. Deshaun Watson has an underrated pairing of Darren Fells and Jordan Akins who have combined for over 670 yards and nine touchdowns. The Bears had five guys on the roster who couldn’t even reach 300 yards and have two touchdowns. Yes, Trubisky has to be better, but that demand would be so much easier if he weren’t throwing to backups at that position.