Few players in the storied history of the Chicago Bears have spent as much time under the magnifying glass as quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
Fewer still have had to bare the weight of more outsized expectations, and it’s hard to think of many that have been judged more unfairly.
This is not a Trubisky pity party.
He’s received 10s of millions of dollars to handle the expectations of Bears fans, and knew, or certainly should have known, exactly what he was getting into when he signed on for the ride.
What this is, is as objective an analysis as I could imagine of what Trubisky has done to date in relation to many of the best quarterbacks of this era. What it shows is that he is really pretty much exactly where we should expect him to be at this stage of his career.
Of course, all that really matters is where he goes from here, and for that I have no more extra sensory perception than anyone else. What is clear from this exercise, however, is the idea that he’s already a bust and the Bears need to move on is based on nothing more than uneducated opinions and bias.
The chart below shows the actual results of Trubisky and eight other quarterbacks I’m sure the Bears and almost any fan would be happy to have over their first three years as starters.
What you see is the statistical differences between Trubisky, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are tiny and Trubisky is actually superior to Drew Brees.
I know, I know, statistics lie and are easily manipulated. I’m not suggesting this is the end all, be all, but does anyone have a better way to judge objectively?
Here are some of the mitigating factors we might argue, and you’ll find they actually all argue for Trubisky rather than against.
Rivers had 48 starts in college, Peyton 44, Brees and Eli Manning 37, Matt Stafford 32, Matt Ryan 29, Brady 25 and Rodgers 11 junior college starts and 19 at Cal, while Trubisky started just 13 games in college.
Still only Trubisky, the Mannings and Ryan started most of their rookie seasons, and Rodgers and Rivers had multiple seasons to practice, watch and learn.
Trubisky was always going to take longer than anyone else, and yet the stats argue he’s actually very much on pace (absolutely no pun intended).
Trubisky isn’t constantly dogged for poor play, even though that’s the terms it’s usually couched in. He is regularly roasted for not being Patrick Mahomes or DeShaun Watson, who were drafted eight and 10 spots after him.
The reality is it’s not that Trubisky has been that bad, it’s that Mahomes (who also had a full season to practice and learn before being thrown into the fire) and Watson have had remarkable, rare starts to their careers.
There are real and justifiable concerns as to whether Trubisky sees the field, reads defenses and feels the game the way the great ones do, just as there were with Brees, Stafford, Eli and Ryan at the same stages of their careers.
And he has given plenty of cause for concern as to whether he has the maturity and temperament for greatness.
But anyone who claims to have the answers to those concerns is really just guessing.
All we actually know right now is Trubisky has done more than enough to prove he has the tools to be the guy Ryan Pace hoped he would be and Matt Nagy now hopes for as well.
What I can’t understand is why it feels so often there is almost no one left in town still pulling for the kid?