Tuesday morning seemed like a good time to talk. The new offices at Halas Hall felt like the proper place.
Two days after he broke camp in Bourbonnais by saying the Bears had “hit their limit of testing” their offensive playbook and would “pull back a little bit,” coach Matt Nagy wanted to check in with quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
“We had a really good talk [Tuesday] morning in regard to, ‘You can kind of pull back now that we’re in our own territory, our own offices,’ ’’ Nagy said. “I get to kind of hear how he thinks things went, and he can hear how I think things went, where we’re going with this thing collectively — because that’s what it’s all about.
“And right now, we’re both really happy, we’re excited. And I think I’m cautiously optimistic about our offense in general, and just our team.”
Caution would be wise.
Trubisky has struggled against the Bears’ defense during preseason practices. The season opener against the Packers is almost three weeks away — not that anyone’s counting.
“Everyone’s counting,” Trubisky said.
The game feels around the corner and far away at the same time. Nagy needs to remind himself to stay patient when he gets frustrated with his offense.
“There is a fine line to that,” Nagy said. “Because I think there are two ways to look at it — there can be a lot of things that you do for that [Packers] game, there can be little things.
“There’s a balance there. You’re also dealing with, you have a lot of days left. . . . We have a plan. We’re going to stick to that plan. I really like the things we’re talking about looking at doing.”
The Bears’ offensive struggles aren’t because of any disconnect between coach and quarterback. Trubisky said he and Nagy are on the same page and speaking the same language, as evidenced by their meeting.
“Let me tell you something: We’re in a phenomenal spot right now,” Nagy said. “I love where we’re at. Not one thing has changed with our offense in general. I feel really good. It’s fun testing it out, what we’re doing right now.”
The Bears’ defense hasn’t been letting Trubisky ace many tests. The best unit in the NFL has made it even harder to track Trubisky’s preseason progress, though.
“We’re definitely getting challenged enough,” Trubisky said. “That’s not even a question, just going against our defense every day.”
And not many others. Trubisky figures to be lightly used Friday night at the Giants and again the next week against the Colts. He doesn’t figure to play in the Bears’ preseason finale at all. Trubisky said he’d be fine with not throwing another preseason pass — and with throwing 50, though he knows Nagy won’t do that.
So, much of the Bears’ work with Trubisky the next three weeks, then, will be getting ready for the Packers. That will be the first time the Bears can measure their offense with any real certainty.
While the team isn’t in full game-planning mode for its rivals yet, paring down the offense indicates the Bears are still searching for answers.
The Bears have been running plays in training camp to test the defense, Trubisky said, so they could analyze and correct the results on film.
“Throw it against the wall and see if it’s sticking or not,” Trubisky said. “But we also have our bread-and-butters, the [plays] that I feel really comfortable with, the ones that Coach is comfortable with, the ones we can call at any time and just go out there and roll and play fast.
“You’ve just gotta find that balance, and we kind of figured that out through training camp. And it’s just something we’ve gotta talk about and stay on the same page with.”
And how is the offense doing?
“We’re still progressing — getting better every day,” Trubisky said. “I think we threw a lot at myself and the offense throughout training camp, whether it’s adding more new stuff or pulling back a little bit and keeping it simple, allowing the offense to play fast, allowing me to play fast.”
The greatest strength of the Bears’ offense, Nagy said, is unpredictability. With myriad receivers and running backs to throw to, Trubisky isn’t short on options.
“[Nagy] just wants me to be the point guard,” Trubisky said, “distribute the ball to our playmakers. And that’s really all I’ve gotta do within this offense. Just stay on top of everything. Continue to master it, go through it, know what I’ve gotta do within my job. And get the ball to the playmakers.”
He has three weeks to get it right.
“Even though we’re repping plays right now that might not be in for Week 1 — or maybe they will — we gotta make sure we’re treating every single snap like it’s game day,” Trubisky said. “Because everybody wants to look ahead, but we gotta just continue to take care of the task at hand.’’