Big Game for Bears Is Even Bigger for Trubisky
Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller rarely speaks with a filter, and put it all out there at the outset of this week's practices.
"It's now or never," wide receiver Anthony Miller said.
Miller was referring to the team's need to get a win to avoid slipping almost entirely out of the chase for a playoff spot.
His comment quite coincidentally also applied to one particular player on the roster.
If quarterback Mitchell Trubisky can't activate the offense in a home game with so much at stake, when they face one of the NFL's worst overall defenses, a team he played one of his best games against last year, then when will it ever come?
So in a way, this could very well be the most important game in Trubisky's career as he tries to breathe life into a dormant attack.
"Right now there's been more frustration than success, and we want to be able to understand the why part," coach Matt Nagy said. "Well, we're hammering through that and we do really feel like we're right there. We do. We believe it's close.
"But what happens is all-in-all regardless of any changes that you would end up making, it really does come down to just some success somewhere that can kind of build off each play or each game or each week, and that hasn’t happened with the offense. It hasn't."
If there is a change this week, it's likely to be Cody Whitehair returning to center and James Daniels moving from center to guard.
The real change the Bears would like to see is Trubisky throwing accurately all over the field. And a viable running attack wouldn't exactly be rejected, either.
For a few weeks, Nagy has insisted it can all begin with just a spark, and then it snowballs in a positive way.
"We just haven't had that good thing happen to where it's positive, you get the wins, and it's been snowballing the other way," Nagy said. "So we've got to stop that snowball and get one good thing to happen and then see where that leads us."
If it starts rolling the other way, then Trubisky's future in Chicago would look more clear. For now, it's looking more and more like he'll get a competitor for his starting job next year.
If Trubisky hasn't yet located the formula for the kind of success he had last year, at least he has identified what has led the offense to drop to 29th in the league.
"I would say the overall theme is self-inflicted mistakes," Trubisky said. "That could be numerous different reasons. Not being locked in, overthinking, too excited, so we've just got to find a way to get back on track and obviously it's apparent on film where the mistakes are going.
"We're kind of just all taking our turns (fouling up) so if everyone just focuses on doing their job and playing good football, we could easily fix those mistakes."
The Bears need the efficiency on offense Sunday because their own defense will be challenged by a Lions team that doesn't just say they're close—they actually have been.
Matthew Stafford and the Lions easily can lay claim to the title of best three-win team in the NFL. They beat the Chargers and Eagles in tight games. The Bears lost to those two teams. The Lions played the Chiefs to a 34-30 loss before Patrick Mahommes' knee injury, and had the Packers down big early before losing 23-22 at Lambeau Field.
The loss to Green Bay started a slide of four losses in five games and left the Lions in a situation similar to the Bears, who have lost four straight.
If the snowball theory is right, the Bears actually could find their way back into a wild card battle considering the next three games after the Lions are with the struggling Rams, the Giants and then the Lions again.
"We're just trying to get a win," wide receiver Taylor Gabriel said. "I feel like a win, kind of you know what I mean, will give us a breath of fresh air right now."
They could all use one, and in particular their quarterback really could right about now.