Quarterback Mitch Trubisky knows how Matt Nagy likes to coach.
This week, he’s learning how he likes to game-plan.
Trubisky has been in the midst of a mock game week. For the first time this preseason — and the first time under Nagy — the Bears are treating their opponent Saturday like a regular-season foe.
That means the Bears are planning their offensive attack — what little they want to show the world before the season starts — to best exploit the Chiefs’ weaknesses.
“It’s been a lot different,” Trubisky said Wednesday night before the Bears’ practice at Vernon Hills High School. “I get to know a lot more about my opponent, a lot more preparing going into it.”
After the game at Soldier Field, they’ll move on to preparing for the Packers on Sept. 9, giving only minimal planning attention to the last preseason game against the Bills. So this week’s game plan is the first and last dry run before it counts.
“It’s been fun just learning how [Nagy] game-plans throughout the week,” Trubisky said.
Nagy has special expertise, having spent five years under Andy Reid in Kansas City. He won’t always have this level of insight into an opponent. For a first game plan, though, the inside knowledge is helpful — even if the games don’t count.
“You want to know, kind of, the tells of what a defense is doing and what their strengths and weaknesses are,” Nagy said. “For me, knowing a lot of the guys, I know them. So I can give them the insight into what these guys’ strengths are, really, on offense and defense.”
This week has been new to coach and player alike. When Nagy met with his staff Monday morning, they had to iron out exactly what their weekly schedule looked like. Their training-camp plans didn’t resemble a regular game week.
In the days since, Nagy has been impressed by Trubisky’s reaction to the specific scouting report. He said it reinforced what he has learned about Trubisky in the seven months they’ve been together.
“He doesn’t have those days where he’s sloppy or he doesn’t care,” Nagy said. “He’s consistent every day. He wants to just keep getting more and more information. When you do that as a young kid with the limited amount of experience that he has — and with the experience we have as coaches — he’s doing a good job.”
The plan has given Trubisky a better idea of what the Bears’ offense will look like.
“We’re getting closer and closer,” Trubisky said. “We have a better idea of what our game plan is and what plays we like in certain situations and what we’re going to start with. So I’ve got a lot better idea about the offense.”
Not that he’s squealing. After the Bears’ 24-23 victory in Denver, Trubisky said, almost reassuringly, that the Bears are “hiding a bunch of good things.” That includes presnap motions and specialty packages. The Bears have been practically concealing Tarik Cohen during the preseason, and wide receiver Taylor Gabriel, who has been out with a foot injury, won’t be unleashed until the regular season.
“We’re just holding a bunch in — and then it’ll all come to fruition in the regular season,” Trubisky said. “We have a lot of plans and a lot of high expectations for this offense, especially for myself. So we just need to continue to get better and better, and those exciting plays will come to life during the regular season.”
Trubisky’s expectations for himself on Saturday are simple.
“Just clean execution on my part,” Trubisky said. “Make great decisions, take the offense down the field and hopefully finish with points. So I just want to get out clean — no turnovers — and be efficient with the football. And hopefully just make it a lot of fun for our fans and put on a show.”