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Why the Bears’ next goal for QB Mitch Trubisky is two words: ‘Total command’

Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky practices at training camp. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

BOURBONNAIS — The Bears are almost done installing their offense, and quarterback Mitch Trubisky’s next step doesn’t sound all that different from Bill Murray’s tip after caddying for the Dalai Lama.

“Total command,” offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich said.

That Trubisky is not there yet has been well documented through the first nine practices of training camp. Trubisky won’t get much of a chance — if any — to show his progress Thursday against the Ravens, either. Though the Bears haven’t made a public commitment to his playing time, they have little motivation to expose Trubisky to danger during the Hall of Fame Game.

“The whole preseason thing here is the injury thing, right?” coach Matt Nagy said. “So that’s what you gotta kind of weigh and see: Is it worth it or not?”

It’s not.

On Monday, Helfrich joined Nagy and the chorus of coaches in saying he wasn’t concerned about Trubisky’s inconsistent training-camp performance. Nagy has said he’d rather have Trubisky throw an interception than check the ball down safely. At times during camp, Trubisky has obliged.

“Obviously, [he has] turned the ball over too much,” Helfrich said. “Some of that has been his fault. Some of it not, which is usually the case. But the quarterback gets the blame.”

Helfrich is willing to give Trubisky latitude because of the offensive installation. When Trubisky receives a play, he has to process the formation, the motion, the pass protection, the snap count and the routes.

“For a quarterback, you just want an immediate picture in your head of what’s going on,” Helfrich said. “One thing to think about, not seven.”

Eventually, it will become second nature. It isn’t yet.

“In our chairs, it’s never quick enough,” Helfrich said. “You’re always kind of pushing the envelope in every way, whether it’s the run game, the combination routes, you know, different coverage — all the things we’ve seen.

“He’s managed it well. He has. But you’re going to keep pushing.’’

Not that Trubisky is behind schedule. Backup Chase Daniel said Trubisky’s intelligence is “right up there” with that of future Hall of Famer Drew Brees and Pro Bowl quarterback Alex Smith, the two respected veterans he has played behind in New Orleans and Kansas City, respectively.


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“He’s one of the smarter young guys I’ve ever been around,” Daniel said. “You tell him something one time, he gets it and understands it and goes out and does it on the field. That’s pretty cool to see. It’s not the norm. I’ve been around a lot of guys who have to hear it multiple times, so as far as Mitch’s mental capacity, it’s all there.”

When coaches quiz Trubisky in meetings, he has the right answers.

“Guys see that and are very impressed,” Daniel said. “That’s how it should be with the quarterback.”

Once the Bears complete their basic installation, Trubisky will be able to run the same plays against different defenses, speeding up his knowledge of the intricacies of each play.

The Bears have less than six weeks — the season opener is Sept. 9 against the Packers — to sift through the plays and find out what he does well.

They’ll be looking for total command.

“It’s an evolution to get to exactly who you want where by route, who you want where in the run game, what your strengths are,” Helfrich said. “You know what the things you don’t necessarily want to major in are. That starts, certainly, with the quarterback and every other position group around him.”

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