Bears fans, and even Mitch Trubisky, pining for more opportunities for the quarterback to throw while on the move is hardly new. Prior to Sunday's immediate aftermath of the playoff-eliminating loss to the rival Packers at Lambeau, though, the quarterback had never went as far as to question his play-caller's gameplan.
“I felt like we could’ve taken more pressure off [the O-line] moving the pocket a little more and I getting out, but the [Packers pass rush] has done a great job of that all year long and that’s what they hang their hat on and they did that today,” Trubisky said of Green Bay’s rush, which produced three sacks and 4 QB hits in the 21-13 defeat of the Bears. “We’ve just got to find ways to take pressure off our O-line with a good pass rush like that, continue to mix it up, whether it’s screens, running it, draws, all that kind of stuff helps. But credit to them, they’re a good defense.”
Mitch Trubisky’s second-longest — and quite possibly best — throw during Sunday’s playoff-eliminating loss at Lambeau was a 33-yard play-action bootleg to Anthony Miller.
In a rare under-center alignment, Trubisky took the snap and faked to David Montgomery before rolling to his right and climbing the pocket. He uncorked a ball with perfect touch and trajectory to Miller back over to the left sideline, with Miller displaying his toughness by taking a big shot and appearing to injure his shoulder but securing the ball. On the very next play, Trubisky kept it on an RPO for his longest run Sunday, a nine-yard scamper into the red zone, punctuated emphatically by lowering his shoulder into Packers rookie S Darnell Savage.
While he’d take a sack before missing either Jesper Horsted, or Tarik Cohen, who fell down on the play, over the middle on a dangerous throw on the subsequent third down, it was clear Trubisky’s confidence was at its highest at that point of the game.
The play was called by Matt Nagy with a little less than four and a half minutes remaining until halftime. From our vantage point in the press box, and from charting the game after re-watching late Sunday night, it was the only rollout Nagy called, and one of only two among at least 56 Trubisky dropbacks on which his play caller moved the pocket.
Nagy, who made it clear that he maintains an open in-game dialogue with his quarterback, was asked in his Monday postmortem whether he was aware of Trubisky's comments. The coach said he wasn't but stressed that his relationship with the quarterback remains strong.
"First of all, as you all know, you guys are always catching us right after the game. And so there's a lot of emotions that go through," he said. "Here we are losing a game like that and knowing we could've played better. So I don't know exactly what the question was that was asked, but I'm saying if you sensed a frustration, I think I know Mitch better than anybody in this building except maybe [QB coach] Dave Ragone. So I know the effect or what he means by any of that. I think probably, if I'm going back and watching that, it's probably very general and big picture, but it's also right after the game. So I take nothing by that and we have a great relationship."
Trubisky also mentioned the moving pockets after the Week 12 win vs. the New York Giants, when he attempted a season-high 24 percent of his passes from an altered launch point. That data comes courtesy of our QB expert Mark Schofield, but by Bears Insiders' count, it was only 4 percent Sunday, which would be the second-lowest total of the season.
The Bears ran it 27 times — 17 of those attempts coming with a one-score deficit — but we only counted one draw play. There were definitely a few screens sprinkled in, but not with great effect, which has rarely the case, with the exception of the Week 14 win vs. the Cowboys.
But interestingly, with most everyone hyper focused — even during Trubisky’s recent stretch of improved play — on how Nagy and GM Ryan Pace currently view their inconsistent lightning rod of a quarterback, and how that will affect offseason planning at the position, it’s now officially time to at least consider: How does Trubisky feel about his head coach and play caller.
After all, we don’t have to wonder, Trubisky made it quite clear Sunday that Nagy didn’t do the Bears offense as many favors as he could have. And as big of a riddle as the Bears already had on their hands this offseason at quarterback, it might be getting even trickier.