Mitch Musings: Trubisky's first shot at Aaron Rodgers an important moment


The build-up to Sunday night began as soon as the NFL announced its 2018 schedule. 

Bears-Packers. Lambeau Field. Sunday Night Football. And for the first time, Mitch Trubisky vs. Aaron Rodgers. 

That last one feels like a seminal moment for the second-year quarterback. Trubisky’s last game as Mike Glennon’s backup came in that brutal Thursday night loss at Lambeau Field last year; Rodgers was injured and didn’t play when the Packers beat the Bears at Soldier Field in November. 

The Bears drafted Trubisky with the second overall pick to be able to compete with the league’s best quarterbacks. But Rodgers is on a different level here in Chicago: He’s 15-4 against the Bears in his regular season career, and led the Packers to an NFC Championship win over the Bears back in 2011. By the end of the 2018 season, Rodgers will likely have thrown for over 5,000 yards against the Bears in his career while approaching 50 touchdowns. 

So what Trubisky does on Sunday night will, inevitably, be compared to Rodgers. The Bears don’t need Trubisky to do better than one of the best quarterbacks to ever play; even matching him may be a tough ask. 

But in his first start against Rodgers, showing the quarterback gap between Green Bay and Chicago is closing would be an important step in the right direction for this franchise. 

“It's a cool opportunity,” Trubisky said. “Obviously if you follow the game, which I do, and if you watch the players who have had a lot of success, which I do, you'll see that he's had a lot success and I've watched what he's done. I have a lot of respect for him and I'm just trying to go out there and help give my team the best opportunity to go out there and win.

“I’m trying to earn my respect the same way he has — just create good production, be a great player in this league and do that consistently over a long period of time. So it's really good to have that matchup, but it's nothing more than that. I still gotta go out and go against their defense and make sure my guys are all on the same page to give us a great chance.”

Under Pressure

A hot topic of debate around Chicago after the Bears pulled off that blockbuster trade for Khalil Mack is if the deal puts more pressure on Trubisky, or takes pressure off the second-year quarterback. 

If it were to put more pressure on Trubisky, it’s because the Bears’ defense is ready to compete for the playoffs, meaning the Trubisky-led offense has to match that. 2018 can no longer be viewed as a “developmental” year; the Bears are going for it, and while the window to win will be open for a few years after 2018, trading for Mack signaled the Bears are ready to win now. 

On the other hand, being buoyed by a top-five defense could take the pressure off Trubisky, since from that point of view this season no longer hinges on his performance. 

Trubisky, though, initially said the Mack move if anything takes pressure off him, but it’s not changing how he’s approaching the upcoming season. 

“What is pressure? There’s going to be a lot of it, there’s going to be a little of it if you mention to it, but I don’t,” Trubisky said. “I know (Mack’s) a great player and he’s going to help this team. But I’m not going to throw to him. He’s not going to score touchdowns. So that ultimately falls on us. We’ve got to go out there and do our jobs. I

“I know he’s going to make our team better, but definitely no added pressure. I think it’s going to add more excitement to what this team can accomplish and what this team can do. But we know we’ve got to continue to come together as a family, become more tight knit and just believe in each other, believe in this plan that we’ve been brewing up this whole offseason, so we’re excited.”

Lasting Impression

Packers coach Mike McCarthy only faced Trubisky once last year, with the then-rookie completing 21 of 35 passes for 297 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Trubisky’s final stat line looked better than he and the Bears’ offense played, though — they only managed six points before a fourth quarter 46-yard bomb to Josh Bellamy. 

Still, McCarthy came away impressed with what he saw last November, and expects Trubisky to be a much better player in Year 2 as a starting quarterback in the NFL. 

“I liked the way Mitch carries the game, you just watch the way he reacted when he was given the opportunity," McCarthy said. "... But you could see his growth throughout the season, and that’s what you look for in all young players, especially at the quarterback position. He has excellent command of the offense, he knows where he wants to go with the football and Year 2 we expect him to be significantly better."

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