Chicago Bears: The Mitch Trubisky Effect

Now that the Great White Giraffe experiment is over in Chicago, it’s time to usher in a new beginning.

Again.

The news couldn’t come soon enough. The collective sigh of relief let out by Chicago natives seems fitting in a place dubbed “The Windy City”. Glennon is out, Mitch is in. With as abysmal as the Chicago Bears offense has been to start the season, it feels like any change is a welcome change at this point. After doing his best to show out in the preseason, rookie Mitch Trubisky is getting his chance to shine after just four games. While he may seem like a hot waiver wire target, it would be a wise decision to give him a chance to shake the rookie jitters before letting him occupy a spot on your roster. Even at his best this season, Trubisky will only be worthy of a roster spot in 12+ team leagues or leagues of the dynasty or keeper variety.

I’m not here to advise you on whether or not to add Trubisky, though. What I’m really interested in discussing is his impact on the Bears limited amount of skill position players. Trubisky is a much more mobile quarterback than Glennon and will be presumably running a much quicker paced offense. That combined with Trubisky’s great arm strength means the future looks bright for the rest of the Bears offense.

Jordan Howard

How He’s Looked So Far: Through the first four weeks of the season, Howard has proven to be the workhorse back every team dreams about when they go to bed at night. His 63 carries and 4 TD show that even despite the poor quarterback play, Howard has still been able to be affective. After an impressive 1300 yards and 6 touchdowns last season, he’s a bit off of the yardage pace this season (87.5 YPG in 2016, 63 YPG in 2017). Much of that can be traced back to Glennon, though, as teams have just been able to stack the box to try and stop the run. Howard’s longest run on the year is only 19 yards, meaning the defenses have certainly done well holding him in check, but there aren’t many backs in the NFL as powerful as he is. Powerful runners tend to do a good job breaking down the opposing defenses over time.

What To Expect Going Forward: Of the four names I have here, Howard is the one I don’t see being affected as much by the quarterback switch. One thing that may help Howard is defenses now having to respect Trubisky’s mobility and passing ability at least a little bit. A few less plays with eight men in the box should mean Howard sees an increase in YPC. With his lack of top end speed, don’t expect to see a big increase in long runs, but consistent chunks of 8-12 yards are something he is more than capable of. The call up of Trubisky should also see the Bears spending more time in the red zone, meaning more short yardage TD opportunities for Howard. He’s an easy RB1 going forward.

Tarik Cohen

How he’s looked so far: Despite playing second fiddle to starter Jordan Howard, Cohen has proven to be a borderline elite pass catcher out of the backfield.  Through four games, Cohen has caught 24 passes for 150 yards while also averaging 6 YPC. Although he has only scored one touchdown, Cohen has proven to be a solid option in PPR leagues where he currently ranks #13, two spots behind Howard. After an impressive college career where he accumulated 6500 total yards and 59 TD, Cohen’s early season success should come as no surprise.

What To Expect Going Forward: At 5’6″ and 179 lbs, Cohen isn’t built to be an every down back. What he is built to be, is the perfect safety valve for Trubisky. Though Glennon wasn’t shy when it came to targeting Cohen (7 targets per game), he also had experience reading NFL defenses and going through his progressions. Trubisky’s 13 total starts in college (on an offense where he wasn’t asked to read defenses) means he will have to rely more heavily on Cohen and the short passes. Especially while he gets used to the speed of NFL defenses. Don’t be surprised if Cohen ends the year with similar numbers to Danny Woodhead’s 2015 season when he rushed for 336 yards, caught 88 passes (106 targets) for 755 yards, scored 9 TD and ended the year as the #12 running back in fantasy football.

Zach Miller

How He’s Looked So Far: To be honest, Miller is someone who always seems to find his way onto people’s preseason sleeper picks lists and I just don’t get it. Nothing against the guy. He’s big (6’4″ 233 lbs) and does a good enough job to maintain his starting position…but the guy can’t stay healthy. Even when he does stay healthy, his career catch rate of 73% is nothing to write home about. This season he’s hauled in 13 catches for 143 yards and zero TD and currently ranks as the #22 TE in PPR leagues. Not the ideal player for winning a championship.

What To Expect Going Forward: If you haven’t picked up on the vibe yet, I’m not really overly excited about Miller even with the QB change. Normally a TE is the perfect safety net for a young QB, but Trubisky’s self-proclaimed “gun slinger” mentality mixed with Miller’s propensity to run shallower routes could hinder any upside he has going forward. Expect the same level of production the rest of the year.

Kendall Wright

How He’s Looked So Far: Wright is no Alshon Jeffrey, but he’s looked damn good so far this season. Well, damn good for a WR in a Mike Glennon led offense. Take out his forgettable zero target, zero catch game against Pittsburgh and his 14 catches, 154 yards and 1 TD through three games actually looks pretty enticing as a WR3. The former first round pick and 1000 yard receiver is no slouch and has shown the ability to be fantasy relevant in the past.

What To Expect Going Forward: With Trubisky at the helm, Wright now has sneaky WR2 upside. Trubisky may be a rookie and he is certainly going to struggle at times, but Wright is the perfect WR to fit his style. He runs solid routes and has enough speed to get open down field on occasion. If the preseason is any indication, Trubisky is going to want to take shots downfield whenever he can and that will bode well for Wright. If you took Trubisky’s 6.9 yards per attempt from the preseason and transferred it to the regular season, he would rank 4th in the NFL. Not only that, he is pretty damn accurate as well, completing 67.9% of those same preseason passes. With Cameron Meredith and Kevin White hurt, Wright is seemingly in line for the lions share of the downfield looks. Remember, that 1000 yard season came with the likes of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jake Locker throwing him the ball, so he’s already proven he can do more with less.

Don’t expect to see a huge Deshaun Watson style impact from Trubisky right out of the gate. He’s still about as raw of a prospect as you will ever see come in to the NFL. One thing is for sure tho, he’s definitely not Mike Glennon.

Please, Mitch, never be like Mike Glennon.



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