Brad Biggs: Trubisky isnt trying to ignore inevitable comparisons with Mahomes – Pekin Daily Times

Posted: December 23, 2019 at 10:45 am

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CHICAGO Football may be the ultimate team sport, but for three hours Sunday night at Soldier Field, it's all mano a mano.

Matt Nagy doesn't want to hear it. Ryan Pace won't meet with media until after the season. But Mitch Trubisky acknowledges the giant elephant in Halas Hall as the first direct encounter between the top two quarterbacks selected in the 2017 draft comes front and center.

"The comparisons are out there and they are never going to stop," Trubisky said. "Me, Pat (Mahomes) and Deshaun (Watson) are all grouped together because we are in the same draft class, drafted in the first round and all that. But there are no do-overs. We are where we are. Our careers are going in different paths, and they will for the rest of time and they'll be compared against each other.

"It's the nature of the beast, but I'm in competition with myself and trying to be the best version of me and win games for the Chicago Bears, and it's something that I can't control. But two good guys to be compared to. Hopefully we keep getting better and help the league."

Trubisky's self-awareness is a sign of maturity and that his confidence remains steady as the Bears play out the schedule with the goal of finishing above .500.

The Chiefs, meanwhile, are aiming for a first-round bye in the playoffs. Mahomes is the NFL's reigning MVP and was voted to the Pro Bowl along with the Texans' Watson. Mahomes was perhaps a coin flip away from reaching the Super Bowl last season as the Chiefs lost the AFC championship game in overtime to the Patriots. They have continued to thrive in 2019 at 10-4, while the Bears have been thoroughly inconsistent, locked into third place in the NFC North at 7-7.

Nagy, who coached Mahomes as a rookie, isn't putting any thought into the natural comparisons between Trubisky, the second pick in 2017, and Mahomes, taken 10th.

"I don't get into that," Nagy said. "When we get rolling, it has nothing to do with a one-on-one battle. It's everything about these two teams."

Nagy's position is understandable. It's the only stance he can take. But for Bears fans watching at Soldier Field, at a tavern or from their couch, this game is reduced to Trubisky versus Mahomes. There's no postseason for them to consider, so it becomes a head-to-head display of what could have been.

Mahomes last season became the youngest player, at 23, to be named MVP since Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino in 1984. He has passed for 8,987 yards with 73 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 29 regular-season games. Trubisky has passed for 8,190 yards with 48 touchdowns and 29 interceptions in 39 regular-season games.

Mahomes is averaging 309 yards and more than 2.5 touchdown passes per start. Trubisky has passed for 309 or more yards in only seven starts and also has thrown more than two touchdown passes only seven times.

Yes, the Chiefs have superior skill-position talent, but the comparisons, especially as the Bears offense has languished this season, are unavoidable for Bears fans wondering what the future holds.

The Bears figured their championship window was opening with a quarterback on a rookie contract when they swung the deal to add pass rusher Khalil Mack in September 2018. A 12-4 finish that season validated their thinking. Now, a broken offense threatens to slam that window shut.

Trubisky understands the situation and didn't run from it.

"I'm trying to be the best I can possibly be," he said. "Everybody's competing. You play this game to be the best you can be, so that's the way you train, that's the way you work, that's why you play the game.

"Everybody's journey is different. Their journey to get where they are now is different, my journey to get to where I am now is totally different _ what I had to go through, high school, college, where we are now, adversity. Everybody goes through different stuff, and you just go through your journey and try to keep getting better and affect the people around you in a positive way."

Pace got leeway at the end of last season when the second seasons of Mahomes and Watson were far more productive and highlight-packed than Trubisky's. It was the Bears' first season with Nagy, and the hope was Trubisky and the offense would take a major step forward in Year 2.

That hasn't happened, and while Mahomes and Watson are likely in line for new contracts during the offseason that will make them among the highest-paid quarterbacks in the league, the Bears are left to consider a fifth-year option in 2021 for Trubisky that would pay him $25 million.

That fifth-year option is a story for another day and something Pace will have to address after the season. After two seasons plus 14 games, the career arcs for Mahomes and Watson couldn't look more different than Trubisky's. At least the Bears are fortunate both of his draft classmates are in the AFC and they have to be reminded only once every four years of an evaluation that went so wrong. The Bears will host Watson and the Texans next season.

In prime time Sunday, it's Trubisky versus Mahomes, and the comparisons will continue.

"It doesn't matter if they're fair," Bears offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich said. "They're inevitable, whether you're an NFL quarterback in your 17th year or your first year, (and being) the same year certainly will lend to more comparison. That's going to happen if you play any position in this league forever.

"I don't know if (Trubisky) sits at home and looks at their stats line and compares each other or not. But there's things you take in, you spit them out and you move on. Whether it's, 'Hey, I'm way better than this guy or way worse,' whatever those results or conclusions are, what he does between the white lines and off the field is what matters."

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Brad Biggs: Trubisky isnt trying to ignore inevitable comparisons with Mahomes - Pekin Daily Times

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December 23rd, 2019 at 10:45 am

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