Mitch Trubisky praised by Bears teammates for bounce back in 2020 season

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Alex Shapiro
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Mooney on Trubisky: 'He truly showed that he’s a man' originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Bears’ 2020 season was a roller coaster ride in many respects. The 5-1 start, followed by a six-game losing streak, followed by another surge to make the playoffs. The emergence of rookie Darnell Mooney, coinciding with Anthony Miller’s fading relevance in the offense. The constant changes to the offensive line, until finally finding a starting unit that worked late in the season. But the wildest ride was reserved for Mitchell Trubisky.

After an underwhelming start to the season, Matt Nagy benched Trubisky midway through Week 3, only to be reinserted as the team’s starter in Week 12. When he returned, Trubisky looked like an entirely different QB, too. Whether it was the time spent on the bench, or the opposition he faced towards the end of the season, the results were undeniable. Over the first two and a half games Trubisky put up a 6:3 TD:INT ratio and a 59.3% completion rate. But over the final six games, he had 10:5 TD:INT ratio and improved greatly with a 70.1% completion rate.

While that’s impressive to read on paper, Trubisky’s teammates reiterated that it’s harder to pull off than fans watching at home might imagine.

“Man that kid’s got heart,” Jimmy Graham said on NBC Sports Chicago’s “Countdown to Kickoff” show earlier this month. “I don’t think a lot of people realize how difficult that is to go through. Fans, they expect so much and they want so much, because they want to win, and that’s a lot of pressure. A lot of guys, they have difficulty with that pressure. So to go through all he went through— to get benched and then come back and do what he did— I think really shows his character. It shows how tough he is. It shows how mentally strong he is, because that’s not easy. It really isn’t, and my hat goes off to him.

“It was incredible to see, and to be on the field watching him make these crazy throws, and these off-balance side arm kind of deals. You could just tell he was leaving it all on the field and he was playing with extreme confidence. So it shows how strong he is, and the kind of man he is.”

Mooney agreed that Trubisky showed off intangibles that are hard to teach at any level of football.

“He truly showed that he’s a man,” Mooney said on “Countdown to Kickoff.” “He’s not just going to mope around about what happens through life. He showed good character of just being able to stand up and take different roles throughout problems— that he can say are problems— throughout the year. He showed good energy. Of course you knew when it happened, he was pretty upset when he did get benched. But he came back strong and he kept that up throughout his whole demeanor, just being a good guy.”

Despite all of that it seems highly unlikely that the Bears and Trubisky come to terms to bring the embattled QB back to Halas Hall. Our own David Kaplan reported earlier this month that neither side is interested in making that happen. If Trubisky leaves Chicago, he’ll leave behind a legacy with the highest career completion percentage in franchise history (64%), but also the perception as a bust. When you’re drafted at No. 2 overall, you’re drafted to win Super Bowls. Anything less is a failure, and Trubisky’s performance throughout his short career contributed to that failure. But without Trubisky’s moxie, the Bears might have completely imploded in 2020. In that case we could be discussing a full rebuild of the organization, and looking at another three to five-year stretch before the team even sniffs the playoffs again. Instead, his professionalism might have saved Nagy and Ryan Pace’s jobs, so that they could talk about retooling and reloading instead.

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