Chicago Bears

Hub Arkush: Ranking Bears' Mitch Trubisky No. 29 quarterback simply absurd

Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky prepares to take a hit from Jets linebacker Avery Williamson on Oct. 28 at Soldier Field.
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky prepares to take a hit from Jets linebacker Avery Williamson on Oct. 28 at Soldier Field.

I had no idea there was a significant amount of criticism and negative media out there about Mitch Trubisky until a lot of folks started asking me about it this week.

It’s not that I don’t follow other NFL media – I actually look at a ton of it.

There is little doubt in my mind Trubisky has earned positive marks for his 2018 first-half performance, but as I’ve tried to mull this over, I just can’t ignore what landed in my inbox last night.

Pro Football Focus’ ranking of the 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL after nine weeks has to be the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen.

I am not anti-Pro Football Focus, and I think some of what it does and some of the information it provides has real value. I recommend it to serious football fans.

But when it comes up with something as completely asinine as Trubisky is the 29th-ranked QB this year among the 32 starters, it’s pretty much impossible to guess where the heck it is getting this stuff from.

I understand that statistics can be manipulated to tell a story, but they do allow us to measure players at the same position, so let’s start with a few objective facts.

Trubisky ranks 16th in passer rating at 96.1, 19th in yards at 1,949, 14th in average per attempt at 7.5 yards, 19th in completion percentage at 64.2, tied for 13th in touchdowns with 16, tied for 22nd in interception percentage at 7 and second in rushing, with his 302 yards trailing only Cam Newton (342 entering Thursday) among quarterbacks.

Where in those numbers can you possibly find the game’s 29th-ranked QB?

His record is 5-3. It’s not all because of him, but it’s certainly not in spite of him, and only Jared Goff, Drew Brees, Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers and Newton have better records this season.

Perhaps you’re not a fan of the passer rating stat. Again, however, its intention is to create a level playing field on which to compare passers, so consider this:

Although many have had better seasons, the only players in NFL history with better career ratings, who’ve been better over the course of their careers statistically than Trubisky is this season, are Aaron Rodgers (103.5), Russell Wilson (99.5), Tom Brady (97.6), Drew Brees (97.4), Tony Romo (97.1), Steve Young (96.8) and Peyton Manning (96.5).

Now let’s get to what really should matter when evaluating Trubisky.

In the history of the NFL, no quarterback that I can uncover has ever been drafted in the first round – or any high round – with as little experience as Truibisky's 13 starts at North Carolina.

The closest you can come is Newton, who played six games at Florida, 12 games at Blinn junior college and 14 games at Auburn.

Jameis Winston had 27 games at Florida State, Marcus Mariota 41 at Oregon, Carson Wentz 23 starts and 42 games at North Dakota State, Jared Goff 37 at California, Patrick Mahomes 32 at Texas Tech, Deshaun Watson 38 at Clemson, Baker Mayfield 40 at Oklahoma after eight at Texas Tech, Sam Darnold 27 at USC, Josh Allen 27 at Wyoming, Josh Rosen 30 at UCLA and I suspect you get the point.

Add to that Trubisky is playing in his second system and for his second coaching staff in two seasons, and that system is reputed to be among the most multifaceted with one of the biggest playbooks in the league, and to expect more of him eight games in is quite frankly absurd.

I have absolutely no idea how good Trubisky is going to be or if he eventually will be the answer to the Bears' seven-decade search for a franchise QB, dating to the days of Sid Luckman.

He very well could be another in the Bears' long line of flops at the position.

But he clearly has a first-round arm, athleticism, competitiveness, work ethic and leadership skills, and to doubt him at this point, much less treat him unfairly, really doesn’t seem very bright, either.

Hub Arkush is executive editor of Pro Football Weekly. Write to him at harkush@profootballweekly.com, and follow him on Twitter @Hub_Arkush.

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