Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) talks with coach Matt Nagy.

Mike DiNovo/USA Today Sports

Emma: We're Still Discovering What Trubisky Will Be

Amid referendums on his future, Mitchell Trubisky is displaying growth.

Chris Emma
November 13, 2018 - 2:15 pm
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(670 The Score) The early success of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, whom the Bears passed on in favor of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in the 2017 draft, has cast a shadow of uncertainty that extends from Kansas City to Chicago. 

With each touchdown Mahomes throws and victory he leads, there comes increased scrutiny on Trubisky -- drafted No. 2 overall and eight slots ahead of Mahomes in 2017 -- to do the same. Fair or not, Mahomes is the bar by which Trubisky will constantly be measured by many.

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Mahomes' play and the Chiefs' 9-1 record have only increased the rush to label the 24-year-old Trubisky, which ignores the necessary context. Bears coach Matt Nagy, who mentored Mahomes  as Chiefs' offensive coordinator last season, has said all along that Trubisky would evolve with experience. That looks to be the case.

With all due respect to Michael Lombardi and the discount rack at Filene's Basement, it's too soon to make grandiose conclusions on Trubisky's future based on the evidence we have. Of course, a former NFL executive should know that it takes more than 21 games to judge a developing player, especially one still learning a new system.

It's OK that we don't know what Trubisky is yet or what he will become. Each of his starts doesn't need to be a referendum for Trubisky supporters or critics. The key in the Bears' mind is that he shows steady growth and the team keeps winning. Through nine games of Trubisky's first season working with Nagy, his comfort is clearly growing, and he looks to be getting better.

His quarterback rating is 101.6, which ranks 10th in the league, sandwiched in between those of the Vikings' Kirk Cousins at ninth and the Panthers' Cam Newton at 11th. But what ultimately defines a quarterback beyond the statistics is being the primary reason why a team wins games, reaches the playoffs or wins a championship -- or being the reason a team doesn't accomplish those goals.

The arrow for Trubisky is trending upward after the went 23-of-30 for 355 yards and four touchdowns (three passing, one rushing) in the Bears' 34-22 win over the Lions. It was a key divisional game at Soldier Field -- the kind of game Chicago has lost so many times the last few seasons -- and Trubisky was excellent in leading his first-place team to 6-3.

Trubisky was excelling with the timing elements of the system and showcasing his chemistry with various targets -- which is what Nagy had said could be expected by this point. Days after the national narratives of Trubisky became a local story, he silenced skeptics for at least one Sunday.

Where the Bears go from here could provide better context for judging Trubisky, who in the final two months of the season will square off with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, Jared Goff and the Rams and twice against Cousins and the Vikings, including with first place on the line in Chicago this Sunday evening. Backed by a strong Bears defense, Trubisky will have the opportunity to lead his team to key victories and an NFC North title.

Maybe Chicago has its own great quarterback in the budding Trubisky. Maybe he will just be good enough, maybe his story plays out another way. What's more certain is that it's too soon to form conclusions one way or another.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.​