Former Steeler Jim Miller knows the quarterback in Pittsburgh and Chicago. He knows what a crowded QB room looks like, having been there with Neil O’Donnell, Kordell Stewart and Mike Tomczak.
And he also knows the game of new Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky quite well.
Miller is a Sirius-XM radio host and an analyst on the Bears postgame show for Fox 32 in Chicago. This is where Trubisky started his career before relaunching it as a substitute at Buffalo last year.
“It was good for Mitch. He needed a breath of fresh air. He was kind of reviled as the creator of trouble for the Bears and why they weren’t winning. But it was more than that,” said said Miller Tuesday on WDVE.
In fact, the Bears won a good game when Trubisky started. In Trubisky’s 50 starts between 2017 and 2020, the Bears were 29-21 and made the playoffs twice, losing their first game each time.
But when Miller says “it was more” than Trubisky’s inconsistency and inexperience during his first four seasons in Windy City, what he means is what was going on with Matt Nagy and the Chicago coaching staff.
A popular narrative among Steelers fans, who want to anoint Trubisky’s signing as a hit before he plays a game in Pittsburgh, is the presumption that Trubisky is a great quarterback who was held up early in his career. by a bad coach and constant change. when it comes to game calling features.
The coach who drafted him, John Fox, was fired after Trubisky’s first season. Matt Nagy took over. At various times during Trubisky’s time as a Bear, Dowell Loggains, Mark Helfrich and Bill Lazor all held the title of offensive coordinators. Nagy even took on call-to-play duties himself during his tenure.
Miller said the constant shuffling interfered with Trubisky’s development, describing him as a “young quarterback who went through a lot of growing pains” over those four seasons under what he called a system “too happy” under Nagy.
• Tim Benz: Remember recent history when it comes to Steelers signing Mitch Trubisky
• First call: Eagles could be eliminated on Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster; The Browns may be on Baker Mayfield; hard night in the subway
• The Steelers receive a compensatory 4th-round pick in next month’s draft
“Mitch didn’t really have a lot of support. He’s a winning quarterback…but when you make a coaching change, the quarterback is normally going to accept it,” Miller said. “Mitch was thrown into a bad situation. He was a young quarterback with just 13 college starts and growing. It suits him badly. But that wasn’t all Mitch Trubisky, I can tell you.
All of this may be true. But, as Miller pointed out, Trubisky has its own flaws.
“As far as his pocket pass awareness, it was getting better in Chicago, but it can get better,” Miller insisted. “His biggest fight is the long ball. His long ball is a bit flat. He can fix that, where he just puts a little more arc on the ball to make it more catchable for receivers.
A positive trait of Trubisky is his good athleticism and ability to run. Miller said Trubisky might need to do a better job of picking his spots as to when he should use it.
“He has jets,” Miller said. “He can jog. He’s a good athlete. He is hard. Sometimes his tenacity gets the better of him. He must know when to go down, to slip, to go out of bounds.
Miller also described a dynamic that was probably all too familiar to him, having once been Stewart’s teammate. Miller said Trubisky had a noticeable back-and-forth struggle within himself, where — as dynamic as he may have been as a runner — Trubisky sometimes refused to escape the pocket in an effort to try to hone his pocket passing game and prove to the world he could be NFL worthy by throwing the ball and running with it.
“He could have used (his athleticism) even more. But he was forcing himself to throw out of the pocket,” Miller explained. “The Bears were trying to make him a pocket passer. Sometimes he needs to be who he is. Just adapt and adjust and be that playground (player) in the backyard when you need to play. Sometimes he tried to play too much from inside the pocket.
So if you’re hoping to wait until at least pre-season before the Kordell compositions are released, sorry to disappoint you.
Miller also talked about the support Trubisky will get from players in the Steelers’ skill position, the similarities of dealing with negativity in Chicago and Pittsburgh, and how Trubisky’s behavior in the locker room should help him a once he arrives on the South Side.