BOURBONNAIS — Mitch Trubisky should’ve been alone at the interview table at the Douglas E. Perry Student Life and Recreation Center at Olivet Nazarene University on Thursday instead of sharing it with cornerback Kyle Fuller — he is the quarterback, in case anyone forgot.
But that’s a minor quibble on this day. Just that Trubisky was front-and-right-of-center on the eve of the opening of training camp put the Bears a huge step ahead of where they were a year ago. That’s when Mike Glennon sat at that same table with running back Jordan Howard as the anointed starting quarterback in a roster gambit that seemed destined not to end well before the ink on Glennon’s three-year, $45 million contract was dry.
It was predictably awkward from the start. Despite the backing of Ryan Pace, John Fox, Dowell Loggains and his teammates, Glennon at no point looked like a starting quarterback. Trubisky looked like a better option almost from his first snaps as the No. 3 quarterback. Glennon threw a pick-six on his third preseason pass, and the “Mitch Trubisky Watch” was in full swing. Virtually the only interest in the Bears by then centered around one question: “When will Mitch Trubisky become the starter?” It was a tough spot for Glennon — a nice, earnest family guy — but that’s what he signed up for.
Fast-forward to Thursday, and the difference is immense. Trubisky is the unquestioned starter at quarterback and headed toward becoming the unquestioned leader of the team. Especially around these parts, that’s a pretty good starting point.
“Definitely I feel a lot more comfortable than last year,” Trubisky said. “I know my role. I know exactly what I need to do. I know the offense. I can just go out there and be myself. I know everybody on the team. I’ve earned their respect and trust, and I’ll continue to do so through my work ethic and how much I care about this team and this game.”
Who knows where the Bears are headed this season, but at least they have a promising quarterback leading the way, eager to be the face of the franchise and the voice of the offense and to set the tone on the field, in the locker room and in public like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees do.
Trubisky is a long way from that realm, but you can tell he’s excited about having a great opportunity to develop into that kind of guy — who sets a tone in the huddle, in the locker room and in the public eye. Everything he does — from his performance on the field to his body language to his public persona — will have an impact on his teammates. He wants them to follow his lead, whether he’s telling them to get their act together or telling us to R-E-L-A-X.
“I definitely hope I can be [that kind of leader],” Trubisky said. “First and foremost, I want to be a leader for this team and my guys and let them know I care. Whether it’s up here [at the microphone] or in the locker room, I think it’s definitely a reflection of who I am. My teammates know who I am away from the microphone. I think that’s most important.”
The Bears are desperate for that kind of leadership, whether they know it or not. After a rough start with the Bears, Jay Cutler grew into the type of quarterback his teammates wanted to play for. But he still couldn’t command their best performance. Trubisky seems like he can develop into the type of quarterback that teammates not only want to play for, but don’t want to screw up for. That’s what often turns a leader into a winner.
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