Mitchell Trubisky insisted it doesn't bother him that the 2017 draft remains such a hot topic in Chicago. The temperature is getting turned up a few degrees this week.
Trubisky and the Bears host Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans in a matchup that shines a spotlight on two quarterbacks who entered the NFL the same year and are on vastly different paths.
“I don’t control that narrative,” Trubisky said. “I don’t control what people say about it. It is always going to be a story just because that’s the draft class we came in.”
The narrative, of course, centers on a draft-night decision that backfired and its lingering impact on a franchise that could be in store for another shakeup. With the Bears (5-7) on a six-game losing streak, their worst since the 2002 team tied a franchise record by dropping eight straight, the choice they made in 2017 has returned to the forefront.
General manager Ryan Pace traded up a spot to draft Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick. Kansas City grabbed Patrick Mahomes at No. 10, and Houston went with Watson at 12. While the Chiefs and Texans wound up with franchise quarterbacks, it didn't work out that way for the Bears.
“At the end of the day, all you can kind of do is try to play your game,” receiver Allen Robinson said. "You can’t compare. You can’t worry about anything else around you. You can’t worry about what other people are doing."
In Chicago, the comparisons are hard to avoid.
“That storyline is never going to leave for any of those guys, just like it doesn’t for any of those quarterback classes you run into,” coach Matt Nagy said. “Usually they’re all compared.”
Mahomes emerged as an MVP in his second season and led the Chiefs to the Super Bowl the following year. He and Watson are two-time Pro Bowl picks, and they rank one-two in yards passing this season.
Trubisky showed promise in 2018, when the Bears won the NFC North in their first season under Nagy. He even made the Pro Bowl as an alternate, with Jared Goff unable to participate because the Los Angeles Rams made the Super Bowl.
But it's a different story these days.
Trubisky's time in Chicago appears to be winding down. Nagy and Pace are facing heat. This obviously wasn't what they envisioned, particularly after that postseason appearance two years ago.
Trubisky took a step back last season, and the Bears missed the playoffs at 8-8. They acquired Super Bowl 52 MVP Nick Foles from Jacksonville in the offseason and declined their fifth-year option for 2021 on their once-prized quarterback.
Trubisky opened this season as the starter, only to get benched during a Week 3 comeback win at Atlanta. He returned to the lineup two weeks ago in a blowout at Green Bay, with the struggling Foles sidelined by a hip and glute injury, and gave the ball away three times.
Trubisky went without a turnover against Detroit last weekend at Soldier Field until about two minutes remained in the game. He was strip-sacked by Romeo Okwara deep in Chicago territory. It led to a 5-yard touchdown by Adrian Peterson, sending Chicago to a 34-30 loss.
Now, Watson and the Texans are coming to town. Trubisky understands there's no avoiding the storyline.
“It was me, Deshaun and Pat,” he said. “We were picked where we were, and now it’s up to us to make the most out of our opportunities. They’ve done a great job with theirs and I’m still trying to write my story here, so that’s all there is to it, and my opportunity is to go out and lead my team this week and try to get a win. I’m excited about that. I’m also happy for their success as well because obviously they’ve earned it.”
NOTE: LB Khalil Mack missed practice because of a shoulder injury and is day to day after getting banged up during the Detroit game. “I think it was just a little bit of some different times in the game where he got hit, and then you get to a point where you want to make sure — especially right now at this part of the season — (you) care of him,” Nagy said. “We obviously need him.”
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