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Matt Patricia defends struggling Bears QB Mitch Trubisky ahead of matchup: ‘He’s a great player’

It’s tough to find many coming to Mitchell Trubisky’s defense after his and the Chicago Bears’ recent string of struggles — especially if you’re looking on the streets of Chicago.

Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia, however, is apparently still on Trubisky’s side.

Patricia talked up Trubisky on Wednesday ahead of their game against the Bears on Sunday at Soldier Field, insisting that the Chicago quarterback is a “great” player. 

“This guy, he’s a good player,” Patricia said, via the Detroit Free Press. “He’s athletic. He’s strong. He can get out of trouble. He can extend plays. He can scramble. He can run. He can throw. He’s got deep balls. He’s got great skill guys.

“So that’s the major issue that we have to deal with. He’s a great player, and we got to start there.”

On the surface, Patricia’s mindset is a good one to have for a head coach heading into a divisional matchup. Overlooking an opponent in such a game can lead to a loss, and quickly.

On the other hand, though, it’s very clear that Trubisky isn’t a “great player” — at least, he’s not playing like it right now.

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The 25-year-old — who the Bears traded up to take with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft — has led Chicago to three straight losses since his return from a minor shoulder injury, and has struggled to get its offense moving. In their loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Trubisky went 10-of 21 for 125 yards, and led the Bears to just nine total offensive yards in the first half. 

The criticism coming his way has gotten so bad that Trubisky even tried to get the televisions inside the Bears’ practice facility turned off so he wouldn’t hear people talk about him.

Now, Trubisky has shown impressive flashes. He racked up more than 3,200 yards and threw 24 touchdowns last season while leading the Bears to the playoffs for the first time since 2010. He shined against the Lions last year, too, going 23-of-30 for 355 yards and three touchdowns in their 12-point win.

It’s those stretches, and his performance against them last season, that is keeping Patricia cautious heading into Sunday’s matchup. Trubisky, he said, still has that in him.

“It’s a fine line between winning and losing,” Patricia said, via the Detroit Free Press. “That’s the truth. He’s done it long enough to establish himself at a high level. We know how dangerous he can be, and that’s the truth. We need to make sure we prepare that way.”

Though it's been a rough stretch for Mitch Trubisky and the Bears, Lions coach Matt Patricia isn't overlooking the Chicago quarterback. (Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

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