Before we could even ask how he was feeling, quarterback Mitch Trubisky let us know.
“You guys good? I could not be here; that would be easy for me,” he said after an awkward silence as reporters waited for each other to ask the first question.
Trubisky was a little edgy Wednesday. It was a good kind of edgy — a little defiant without being combative. Enough of an edge to let us know that as much as he tries to block out the noise after another discouraging, if not defining, performance, he hears it loud and clear.
And that’s a good thing. Because while Trubisky has the rock-solid support of coach Matt Nagy, in a time like this, it’s the doubt of everybody outside of Halas Hall that is the better fuel for a revival. Like most of us, he seems more motivated to prove his critics wrong than to prove his supporters right.
“Whether you’re doing something right or something wrong . . . you always have that urgent sense of mind,” Trubisky said. “Everything is highlighted because we’re losing right now, and things aren’t going our way. But that doesn’t mean you change up the way you approach things.
“I’ve approached it the same every day — maybe with a little more focus and determination just because everyone’s talking about how bad we are and what we’re doing wrong. I think that just makes me even more motivated to pull my brothers together, work even harder and do a little extra.”
But as much as Trubisky seems to be in the right frame of mind as he prepares for the game against the Chargers on Sunday at Soldier Field, the reality is there’s no assurance it will mean anything. Especially in a season in which Trubisky has been as resolute and positive as ever, worked harder than ever, had so many factors in his favor — yet the Bears’ offense has taken a big step backward.
Trubisky being edgy or focused isn’t like a defiant Aaron Rodgers (“R-E-L-A-X”) or Tom Brady with a laser focus, where you know what’s coming next. That Trubisky can channel his frustration or any kind of “bunker down” mentality into a rejuvenating performance is one of the many things he has to prove he can do.
And even Nagy tacitly acknowledged Trubisky has to get over a mental hurdle.
“His confidence isn’t at an all-time high,” Nagy said. “We’re struggling right now. But he’s not the only one that the confidence isn’t there.”
So how is he feeling, all things considered?
“Feeling good, feeling really good,” Trubisky said. “I’m excited for this week — another opportunity to get back on track. Hasn’t been going the way we wanted it to, but [that] happens sometimes. We’ve got a great opportunity this week, and I think the guys in the locker room, we’ve got a great attitude. Not everyone is happy about it because we shouldn’t be. But we’ve got a good opportunity to fix it, and I think we have the right mindset to get back on track.”
It remains to be seen how much that matters, but Trubisky seems to have a clear head going into this one — even tacitly acknowledging the weight of expectations has played a role in this year’s regression.
“If you take the expectations off of what we’re supposed to do and just play free, I think that allows you to play to the best of your ability,” Trubisky said. “We’re not doing that right now, and I think we’re letting the extra frustration get to us. That’s why you see more mental mistakes, and we’re not playing the game fundamentally sound or playing it together.
“We’ve got to get to that point where it’s all 11 guys doing their jobs on offense, playing free and playing like we know how. When we get to that point, I think you’ll see a different offense.”