I want to believe that Monday night was the start of something good, the first glimpses of a road that ends at a Super Bowl parade. I want to believe that we’ll point back to the Monday night loss against the Minnesota Vikings as the beginning of the most enjoyable era of Bears football in my lifetime.
Every Mitch Trubisky pass against the Vikings was a new affirmation that what we saw in the preseason was not a myth, not something we imagined. The Chicago Bears might actually have a real-life, franchise quarterback.
And with the fourth quarter winding down, and the game tied at 17, Trubisky was granted a chance to lead a game-winning drive in his first start at home on national television against a divisional rival and …
He threw a pick. And the Bears lost.
But this was a rookie mistake made by a rookie quarterback. His sin can be forgiven and chalked up to inexperience in a way that the mistakes of Mike Glennon could not.
I want to believe in Trubisky.
But I’m not there yet. It’s still too early. It’s only been one game. One painful, frustrating game with a conclusion that felt all too familiar to any Bears fan who’s lived with this team’s repeated miscues over the past five seasons.
But there’s reason to have hope, and that’s a brand new development. There’s hope that something good was started on Monday night. There’s hope that this team, finally, is on the right path again.
Trubisky’s arrival wasn’t the start of this path, either. This team already has some pieces in place on offense. Jordan Howard is already one of the league’s top running backs. Tarik Cohen won’t put Monday night’s game on his highlight reel, but his electric plays earlier in the season give the Bears the type of offensive weapon it may not have had since Neal freaking Anderson in the early 90s. Cody Whitehair, Kyle Long, and Charles Leno, Jr. give the Bears three young fixtures on the offensive line.
And then there’s the other side of the ball. Akiem Hicks is a monster on the defensive line and plays alongside another pretty good player in nose tackle Eddie Goldman. Leonard Floyd is emerging as a legitimate star on the defense, providing the edge pass rusher this team so desperately needed. In the secondary, safety Eddie Jackson just might be a fixture at the back of the defense the team has been searching to find for a decade. Kyle Fuller is enjoying a redemption season and could be back in the team’s future plans once again.
But hope cannot be allowed to obscure the truth. This team is still in dire need of more players who can be counted on for impact plays each week. By the most optimistic of projections, the Bears have four right now: Howard, Cohen, Hicks and Floyd. That’s woefully inadequate for a team to contend in the NFL. The wide receiver corps is the most glaring weakness on the team, but more playmakers among the linebackers and in the secondary would go a long way for this team.
And all of those additional pieces would be excellent boosts.
But make no mistake: Trubisky remains the key to this whole thing. The quarterback position is still the most important job in professional sports. The quickest path to the Super Bowl is the one forged by a franchise which has a reliable QB under center.
We don’t know if the Bears are on that path yet. We probably won’t know for at least another year.
But there’s hope again in Chicago. And that’s better than anything Bears fans have had in a while.