Quarterback Mitch Trubisky is transfixed by the Bears’ eight-man kicking competition.
“The whole thing behind them has become a fascinating spectacle right now,” Trubisky told the Sun-Times in a wide-ranging interview Saturday morning. “That’s even what I’m interested in now. We’re gonna be out at practice, and I’ll be keeping track of who’s making and who’s missing and who’s winning the competition.
“It’s kinda become this . . . thing.”
Fans love to talk about the kicker derby, Trubisky said. He does, too.
“You got to,” said Trubisky, who was making a promotional appearance for Gone Rogue High Protein Chips in Wrigleyville. “It’s fascinating. Coach [Matt Nagy] made everybody kick the 43-yarder [Friday]. . . . That’s pressure. It’s great for the guys that made it. And the other guys, no.
“If you want to be here, you’ll make the kick.”
Only two players made the 43-yarder — the same distance as Cody Parkey’s double-doink in the Bears’ wild-card loss to the Eagles. Six of the eight kickers made a 42-yarder Saturday at the end of practice.
Trubisky, who likes that Nagy is putting pressure on his kickers, thinks the Bears will find their guy.
“I’ve just learned to have fun with it and keep track of it, but it’s definitely not a concern,” Trubisky said. “We’re not going to be worried about it.
‘‘When the time comes, the best man is going to come out of this competition. We’re going to have our guy that we need to help us win games this year.”
Went and saw this guy today. Story coming. pic.twitter.com/MMlettJIjG— Patrick Finley (@patrickfinley) May 4, 2019
Nagy has handled the playoff loss, and subsequent kicker questions, with a straightforward honesty Trubisky appreciates.
“You have to embrace it,” Trubisky said. “You have to.”
Trubisky wasn’t ready to when the season ended.
“I really didn’t watch much football after that,” he said, “because I felt we shoulda been in it.”
For the first time in five years, Trubisky went on vacation — and he left the country for the first time — when he traveled to the Turks and Caicos Islands.
“It was a great way to hit the reset button,” he said.
Later, Bears receivers flew to Huntington Beach, California, to train with Trubisky.
“I definitely had that sour taste from the end of the season that adds another chip on my shoulder, another motivating factor to get back this year,” he said. “It’s all good vibes. It’s all motivating.”
Two years after getting drafted and one year after having to learn Nagy’s offense, Trubisky has found value in familiarity. He knows his body better, too — he put off throwing this offseason longer than he had the year before, trying to fine-tune his arm.
“You know what to expect, you know what you have to do,” he said. “I’m very comfortable in the building, in my skin, in this offense. There’s a high level of comfortability, especially with these coaches and my teammates. And the city of Chicago, now that we’re winning a little bit, everyone’s a little happier — which is great.
“The time is now. At the same time, you have to have that sense of urgency.”
Trubisky, who reached out to the Bears’ offensive draftees last week, said he’s eager to meet former Iowa State running back David Montgomery.
“It seems like he can catch and mow guys down,” he said. “Perfect for the zone scheme.”
The Bears hope he’s a better fit in Nagy’s scheme than Jordan Howard, whom they traded to the Eagles in March.
“I was a little surprised, just because I’m so close to Jordan, and I love what he’s done for this team,” Trubisky said. “It’s always tough to see one of your good friends go.
“But we’re excited about the next guy up. Now it’s David. . . . It seems like he fits the mold of exactly what we want to do: catch, explosive runs out of the backfield, make guys miss.”
He joked that he’ll need to make sure there are enough footballs for the Bears’ Run-DMC backfield — Mike Davis, Montgomery and Tarik Cohen. Trubisky said he’ll be carrying the ball himself, too.
He doesn’t care whom he runs behind. The Bears have talked openly about flip-flopping left guard James Daniels and Cody Whitehair, who has been Trubisky’s center for two years. Trubisky made it sound likely.
“Everyone’s bought into it — the guys up front, I’ve bought into it — that it’s going to make us better,” Trubisky said. “If James is a better center and Cody’s a better guard, that’s just making our offense better. Let’s do it.”
There’s no better way to start, he said, than celebrating the Bears’ 100th season in the NFL’s season opener against the Packers.
“The stage is set,” he said. “You couldn’t ask for more. I could not be more amped. There’s no other way to put it.”