Mitch Trubisky deserves credit. He easily could’ve been bitter about his exit from the Chicago Bears last year. Here is a guy who endured a lot of abuse for his struggles in 2019 and 2020. Most of the blame for the failures on offense were hefted on his shoulders. An unfortunate price to pay for being the quarterback. To his credit though, he never aired his grievances in public even though time has proven he had some worth sharing.
Almost all of them centered on former head coach Matt Nagy. Even before he left last offseason, there were signs that Trubisky had misgivings about Nagy’s system. The two were seen having disagreements on the sidelines. Trubisky said he wished he’d be allowed to use his athleticism more often outside the pocket. Nagy never seemed to lean into that possibility until the end of the 2020 season. By then, it was too late. Their relationship had soured, and the coach was ready to move on.
Trubisky hit free agency that offseason and signed with the Buffalo Bills.
The past several months have been eye-opening for the quarterback. It marked the first time he’d played in a different offense in four years. He encountered under Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll in stark contrast to Nagy. Something that helped him understand just how inflexible and unimaginative the former Bears head coach was. He explained to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.
“Going to Buffalo really opened my eyes,” said Trubisky, who completed 20 of 28 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown against the Bears in the preseason before playing sparingly in the regular season. “After being in Chicago for four years, there was only one way I knew how to do things. [Being] in Buffalo and [having] a different way of doing things, you learn what’s possible. It helped me get back to instinctual football and using my talents rather than overthinking.”
This is the common criticism that seems to have followed Nagy out the door since his departure. Fowler spoke to an NFL executive who said much the same thing. He called the Bears offense under him “pretty rigid and on-script.” There was never much room for improvisation. Trubisky wasn’t equipped to play that way. It is why Nagy seemed to favor veteran quarterbacks like Nick Foles and Andy Dalton.
“You can’t be afraid to make mistakes,” Trubisky said. “When guys are playing free, you can be at your best. I wanted to learn how [the Bills] helped Josh, and I saw that firsthand.”
Mitch Trubisky no doubt felt Justin Fields’ pain
The Bears’ 11th overall pick had no idea what he was stepping into when he arrived last April. Nagy made it seem like he had an excellent plan for the rookie. In reality, his goal was basically to sit Fields the entire year until he understood how to run the offense properly. There would be no molding the system to fit the player’s strengths. This is why it always looked like Fields was playing an offense meant for Dalton during his run as the starter.
Nobody can sympathize more than Mitch Trubisky. It was much the same with him. He was trying to do as his head coach asked, but knowing deep down he couldn’t run the system as it was designed. Wanting to make changes had nothing to do with being rebellious. It was more an admission that what they were trying to do wasn’t working.
In such situations, the logical course of action is to make adjustments.
Nagy resisted. He resisted for literal months. It was not until it became clear that his job was on the line after six-straight losses. At last, he turned the offense over to Bill Lazor and restored Trubisky as the starter. The Bears’ offense revived just in time to win three straight and got the team to the playoffs. That bought Nagy another year he probably didn’t deserve. For his efforts, Trubisky was sent on his way.
Honestly, it is surprising his quotes are as tame as they are.