How playing has accelerated Bears QB Trubisky's learning curve
Had the Chicago Bears adhered to their original plan for rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky, he probably wouldn't have taken a single meaningful snap at the halfway point of the season.
But, as Trubisky and his teammates scatter from Halas Hall with a few days off at the end of their bye week, the quarterback of the future has accumulated four full games' worth of experience.
He has had his struggles, as expected. But going live, even if he wasn't 100 percent prepared, has accelerated the learning curve for Trubisky.
He's closer now to being the best version of himself than if he would have sat on the bench watching Mike Glennon or Mark Sanchez run the offense.
"What you have to understand is, every one of those plays is an experience," Bears coach John Fox said. "And a guy like him or a guy in his position, they're going to learn from those experiences, and there's nothing like (that).
"You can practice all you want, you can (utilize) virtual reality (video), but there's nothing like real life. So those are real-life experiences for him, and I think he's handled it very well, and he'll continue to get better for it."
It has been a mixed bag so far for Trubisky. His 66.3 passer rating is more than 10 points lower than Glennon's 76.9, and he has been sacked an alarming 11 times while throwing just 80 passes. Glennon was sacked eight times while throwing 140 passes.
But Trubisky has added 110 rushing yards to the offense on 15 attempts (7.3-yard average). His 46-yard run at New Orleans demonstrated the kind of mobility that sets him apart from most other quarterbacks. Most important, the Bears are 2-2 with Trubisky under center; they were 1-3 with Glennon.
"I thought it was all right," Trubisky said of the first half of his first season. "A lot to learn from, and a lot to improve on. I need to be more efficient and continue to take care of the football, but be aggressive at the same time. Make more plays within the offense and be myself and continue to be a leader. We just need to score more points."
Before the Bears were given the rest of this week off, Trubisky and the offense watched every pass play from the first eight games to self-scout.
"Just to see where we need to get better and what we need to improve," he said. "And to see how we can get a higher completion percentage and how we can be more efficient all the way around."
Trubisky certainly can improve his 47.5 completion percentage, which easily would be the lowest in the NFL if he had enough attempts to qualify. But several of his incompletions were throwaways, which prevented a sack or the risk of an interception.
Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer has a 52.1 completion percentage, but a 3-11 TD-to-interception ratio. Trubisky has 2 TD passes and 2 interceptions.
The self-scouting has demonstrated to Trubisky and Bears coaches which plays work better for him and the offense, and which might be avoided.
"We had a higher (completion) percentage in play-action passes and (quarterback) keepers," Trubisky said. "A lot of the incompletions were throwaways, but we can (still) be higher percentage in those and continue to be better on third down. We need to keep getting better in the red area to finish with points."
Trubisky will spend his down time back home in Mentor, Ohio, chilling out with family. But the second half of the season won't be far from his thoughts.
"I think everyone needs a break every once in awhile," he said. "It's good to let your mind relax and just refocus and put your goals in place. I'm going to sit back, look in the mirror and be ready to come back to work next week."
That would be "Packers Week," a home game against a Green Bay team without quarterback Aaron Rodgers.