Bears QB Mitch Trubisky: Facing dominant defense ‘a challenge every single day’

This year’s version of Trubisky is more consistent and less mistake-prone than last year’s, even as his team’s defense has proved superior through the first four days of practice.

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Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky throws during Saturday’s practice at Olivet Nazarene University.

Brian O’Mahoney/For the Sun-Times

BOURBONNAIS — At this time last year, Bears coach Matt Nagy wanted quarterback Mitch Trubisky to take chances — to not be afraid to make mistakes or throw interceptions during training camp practices. 

“Bombs away, be aggressive, take lots of shots, and I love that,” Trubisky said Thursday, when the team checked into Olivet Nazarene University. “But I’ve kind of figured out over the last year in this offense when is the right time to do that and when we need to take care of the football.”

That’s what happens in Year 2 in a system.

“Taking care of the football will be more of an emphasis this camp,” he said. 

Four days later, has Trubisky lived up to his declaration? 

Yes and no. So far, he’s more consistent and less mistake-prone than he was last training camp, even as his team’s dominant defense has proven superior through the first four days of practice.

That’s not cause for alarm — at least not yet. This defense, with linebackers Khalil Mack and Roquan Smith, is better than the one from camp last year. Defensive backs Eddie Jackson and Kyle Fuller are All-Pros. They weren’t last July.

Sunday, which included the first padded practice, was the defense’s finest day. The offense improved Monday, even if rain made for some sloppy play. Trubisky was cleaner, too, despite a diving one-handed interception by starting nickel back Buster Skrine.

“It’s all about that positive mindset — putting the last play behind us and doing better the next play,” Trubisky said. “We did a lot better job of that [Monday] than we did [Sunday], so I would say that’s growth for us.”

It’s natural this time of year for the defense to be ahead of the offense. The hope is that facing perhaps the NFL’s most dangerous defense makes Trubisky better. He doesn’t figure to play much in preseason games, so it won’t be until Week 1 of the regular season that we see the effect of these preseason practices.

“It’s just a challenge every single day,” Trubisky said. “You’ve got to embrace that as a competitor. And we’re just pushing each other on both sides of the ball. 

“We know our defense is going to get us on some plays, but as an offense, if they stop us, or they have a positive play on defense, it’s got to be a next-play mentality. Because we know we can bounce them or get them the next play. Or, if it’s a drill, they get us one drill, and that happens. Drill behind — they won that one. Let’s go and get them the next time.”

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All eyes are on Mitch Trubisky in training camp.

Nam Y. Huh/AP Photo

Trubisky is more equipped to do that than he was in his last camp. He said he has been able to dial in his timing, and determine how much air he wants to put underneath the ball, during the course of practice. 

“The more comfortable he gets, the more comfortable our offense gets,” backup quarterback Chase Daniel said. “That’s a huge deal. . . . He’s not learning the offense. He’s playing within the offense. He’s playing fast. He’s making all the checks. [Nagy] puts a lot on our shoulders in this offense, and he’s rolling with it right now.”

Trubisky knows what his coach wants from him in their second year together, and the philosophy behind each play. 

“Just being in the offense for a whole year already, I know what he expects out of each play and what we’re kind of thinking, mindset-wise,” Trubisky said. “So it’s just going through that, continuing to work on the details, going through all the adjustments of each play and kind of just being an extension of him, and doing exactly what he wants within each play. 

“And then it’s just running the offense smooth.”

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