Some might say that the best way for Mitchell Trubisky to avoid hearing criticism would be to improve his play, but the Chicago quarterback has another idea: Switch off the TVs at the Bears' practice facility.
"Trying to get some of these TVs in the building turned off," Trubisky told reporters Wednesday at Halas Hall, via ESPN. "Because you've got too many people talking on TV about us and what they think about us — what we should do, what we are and what we're not.
"But they don't really know who we are, or what we're capable of as people, or what we're going through, or what we're thinking," he continued. "It's just the outside viewers looking in."
Few outside viewers have had kind words of late for the Bears, who have lost four straight to plunge to the bottom of the NFC North. While Chicago's defense has not been as dominant as it was last season, it has still generally played well, whereas the offense sits near the bottom of the league in most major categories.
Much of the blame for this year's struggles has focused on Chicago coach Matt Nagy, a former offensive coordinator who won Coach of the Year honors last year, his first with the team, when he guided Chicago to a 12-4 record.
However, Trubisky has also been an object of scorn, both from Bears fans and others who view him as a draft bust, after he was selected with the second overall pick in 2017. Adding to the angst in Chicago is that Trubisky was taken a few spots ahead of two of the brightest young quarterbacking stars in the league, Deshaun Watson and reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes.
While both those players appear to be on track for greatness, Trubisky seems much closer to being benched — a move for which some in the local media are clamoring — even though the alternative at the moment is uninspiring journeyman Chase Daniel. Albeit in relatively limited action this season, including a start when Trubisky was injured, Daniel has notably better numbers in completion percentage (73.3-63.0), touchdown percentage (5.0-2.3), yards per attempt (7.1-5.6), passer rating (95.6-80.0) and QBR (65.9-31.8).
Of course, Daniel is far from alone in posting superior statistics to those of his teammate. Among quarterbacks who have played in at least five games this season, Trubisky is last in yards per attempt, second-worst in passing yards per game, third-worst in QBR and fourth-worst in passer rating.
He fares only slightly better in Football Outsiders' Defense-adjusted Value Over Average metric, placing above six other quarterbacks who have seen extensive action this season. However, among that sextet are two quarterbacks who have already been benched (Joe Flacco and Marcus Mariota, with another, Andy Dalton, just above Trubisky) and four others with less NFL experience than him (Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Daniel Jones and Baker Mayfield).
Trubisky's rough start to the season has become so nationally recognized that a wagering site used his failures as a promotional device, offering refunds to anyone who bet that he would succeed Mahomes as league MVP.
After a 22-14 loss Sunday to the Eagles in which Trubisky led a stunningly poor first-half performance by the Bears — just nine yards of total offense, the team's worst showing in 40 years — Nagy claimed that at no point during the game did he consider benching his young quarterback.
"I think for all of us," the coach said, "we knew that we could collectively be better."
The week before, following a 17-16 loss to the Chargers, Nagy suggested that Trubisky watch the television broadcast of the game to see how some of his facial expressions and body language conveyed a negative mind-set. Now, though, it would seem that Trubisky wants no part of any TV programming, lest it further dampen the spirits of himself and his teammates.
"So, yeah, tunnel vision, earmuffs," he said Wednesday, "and just come to work everyday and try to get better, and get back to what we know we're capable of doing."
"I believe in him," Nagy said of Trubisky (via The Athletic). "And I know what he brings to this team in a sense of demeanor, attitude and leadership. So long as he keeps grinding, man, and he's just showing and proving to us that he has that want-to, we'll definitely ride it out with him."
Asked by the Chicago Sun-Times about Trubisky's TV-related preferences, Bears wide receiver Taylor Gabriel reacted as if it were forbidden fruit. "Now you've made me want to go walk around and see if something's on the TV," he said.
To Gabriel, a much bigger problem for NFL players was the fact that "nowadays, everyone's on social media." His advice? "Stay off your phone."
The recommendation here to Trubisky would be: TVs are one thing, but do not even think about asking everyone at Halas Hall to turn off their phones.
On the other hand, perhaps he should try. Compared to that herculean challenge, actually playing quarterback competently for the Bears might seem like a breeze.