LAKE FOREST – It was no surprise that the final news conference of the 2019 season would start with a question on his quarterback.
Like he’s done since the day he drafted him, Ryan Pace is sticking behind Mitchell Trubisky as he approaches his fourth season in the NFL.
On Tuesday, the general manager confirmed that the team’s plan to have the 2017 second-overall pick as their starting quarterback heading into the 2020 season. He answered with a simple “yes” when asked directly if Trubisky would be under center in September.
It might not be the answer fans were looking for, since Pace didn’t seem to hint as possible competition being brought in this offseason. Trubisky’s up-and-down play was one of the more glaring issues with the team that fell to 8-8 this past season, as his passing yardage, completion percentage, touchdowns, and quarterback rating all dropped from his second year.
So what does Pace see as the issue?
“The first thing that comes to mind for me is just consistency. You see moments, you see games, but for him stringing together better consistency,” said Pace about Trubisky. “You have the peaks and the valleys, we just need to flatten that out.”
As for Matt Nagy, his goal for his quarterback entering his third season in the Bears’ offense he installed is to become a “master of coverages,” with the hope of improving his reading of the defense to try to solve his woes.
“Let’s now put all that together and understand now how defenses are going to try to trick you, and let’s not get tricked,” said Nagy of Trubisky mastering coverages. “If we do that, you slow the game down and we collectively get other parts of this offense fixed, which I know we can and that’s our job.
“That’s the exciting part is looking for solutions, staying positive, believing in people and getting this thing done.”
What’s made things worse for Trubisky has been the fact that the two quarterbacks drafted after him – Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs and Deshaun Watson of the Texans – have enjoyed quick success with their teams. Yet Pace isn’t letting that get in the way of his evaluation of Trubisky before his fourth season.
“I think it’s just understanding that they’re all different,” said Pace when asked how he stays patient with his quarterback as others around his age excel quickly. “It’s all case-by-case, there’s all different backgrounds and scenarios and situations they’re in, and you just have to recognize that.”
It appears that Pace is not only with Trubisky but also Nagy, who also got a vote of confidence from the general manager on Tuesday. Yet he nor the Bears are in any way happy following a season in which they had four less wins and dampened the outside confidence in what looked like a promising era just 12 months ago.
“This season was about regression and inconsistencies in way too many areas,” said Pace. “We have to learn from our failures and see it as an opportunity to improve. We believe we have the right foundation, the right pieces in place, but we have to make the right decisions going forward.
“I have extreme confidence in our head coach, the leader of our team in Matt Nagy, and together we’ll work hard on solutions for the Chicago Bears.”
Once again, it will start with No. 10 leading the offense.