It’s a real stretch to suggest that 2019 was a lost season for the Bears.
A number of players made clear strides forward, however, what was accomplished at quarterback — which is clearly the most important position on the field — or what wasn’t accomplished is a real problem.
After a promising sophomore season in which Mitch Trubisky showed real growth culminating in a trip to the Pro Bowl as an alternate, it wasn’t as if he just did a little moon walking.
At times it appeared Trubisky threw it in reverse and floored it.
But the trick to evaluating and fixing that problem is in first figuring out how much of it was on Trubisky, how much is on his coaches charged with developing him and how much the lack of front-line offensive talent around him at a number of spots held him back.
As Matt Nagy said earlier this week, “So you have to take everything into consideration. It does start with the quarterback. You could say, well, you've gotta get a run game to help the quarterback. Well, you've gotta have a quarterback to help the run game, etc.
“Everyone can go back and forth on that.
“And then what are the standards that we set at that position? I know Mitch is an extremely hard worker. He's going to do everything in his power to learn from this year mentally and physically. And then we need to help him out and set goals and figure out ways to do it as best as we can.”
From the team perspective, the answers are pretty obvious. Get better at tight end and on the offensive line, get deeper at running back and wide receiver and bring in better competition to push Mitch to produce.
None of that will matter, though, if Trubisky doesn’t work on Trubisky, and it’s hard not to wonder how much of that is about him getting better in his own head than on the field.
Sometimes, in addition to walking the walk you have to be able to talk the talk to lead, and to prove you get the problem and know how to fix it.
Right now that is not a Trubisky strength.
Asked Thursday what he’s feeling as this dream crusher of a season wraps up, he responded, “Um, I’m really not feeling much. “I really haven’t had time to think about the season.
“I really don’t like dwelling on the past too much either.
“It’s just life. You go through years, days, months where things aren’t going your way but being negative is not going to help that.”
Not feeling much? Trubisky is right about avoiding the waste of negativity, but I’m positive Bears Nation wants to hear he’s as disappointed as they are about 2019, not “I’m really not feeling much.”
Asked how he sees his potential, Trubisky says, “I think when I look at the really good games throughout this year, you see really good games and then you see some really bad games. The consistency just hasn’t been there.
“I think I could be a lot more of a consistent quarterback in the future.”
Mitch is also correct about the importance of being consistent, but taking him strictly at his own words, does he think there was some balance between the “really good games” and “some really bad games?”
Washington, the two Detroit games and Dallas were his good ones this year — with Dallas arguably the only “really good one.”
The rest were all bad, and the first Packer game, Denver, Philadelphia, the Rams and Chiefs were all really bad.
There is no doubt Trubisky cares and wants to be great, and his competitiveness and work ethic are off the charts.
But it is often unclear talking to him if he gets how tenuous his situation really is.
Unquestionably, Ryan Pace and Co. have to give Trubisky more to work, with and there should be no lingering doubts that he has the physical tools to be very good if not great.
But whether or not Trubisky has the head for success remains very much in doubt, and if he doesn't, 2020 will be his last chance to prove it in Chicago.