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Bears QB Mitch Trubisky had better be ready because his preseason is probably over

Coach Matt Nagy is noncommittal about whether Trubisky will take another live-action snap before the regular-season opener.

Mitch Trubisky’s three handoffs against Carolina might be all the preseason action he gets.
[Brian O’Mahoney/For the Sun-Times]

Quarterback Mitch Trubisky had better be ready because it sure sounds as though he’s done for the preseason.

Coach Matt Nagy held him out of the Bears’ second preseason game Friday against the Giants and doesn’t see much — if any — value in sending him out there going forward. If he does play Trubisky on Saturday against the Colts, it’ll be brief and forgettable.

But it’s more likely Trubisky’s next live action will be the regular-season opener Sept. 5 against the Packers.

‘‘We’ll see,’’ said Nagy, who sat all his starters and then some against the Giants. ‘‘I mean, I think you guys can kind of see where we’re at with the team and with him. We’ll get feedback from coaches, from players, and we’ll stick to our plan.’’

A no-show against the Colts would mean the Trubisky preview for 2019 will be limited to those three memorable snaps in the preseason opener against the Panthers: handoff, handoff, handoff. Shortly after that, Nagy said he didn’t need to see Trubisky throw a pass in the preseason.

Trubisky is fine with that, of course, and said he is ‘‘definitely getting challenged enough’’ in practices.

The Bears have their final tuneup Aug. 29 against the Titans, but even the most old-school coaches don’t bother playing anyone significant at that stage.

Nagy’s reasoning as it pertains to Trubisky’s schedule is twofold. First, he has been adamant that Trubisky is perfectly on track for a big season, regardless of the offense struggling in camp. Second — and this is a fundamental component of Nagy’s philosophy — he rather would work through issues in the safer, more efficient environment of the practice field.

‘‘It’s probably a little bit of both,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘We’re always trying to get as many quality reps as we can within our offense for him. Every play does matter, but Sept. 5 is pretty important.’’

More important, for sure, than any so-called dress rehearsal.

The argument in favor of playing out the preseason games is that players just as easily could get hurt in Week 2 as they could at this time of year. If it was just one game, maybe that would be valid. But taking into account the full 20-game slate that starts in early August, skipping four of those cuts the risk by 20 percent. That’s a big number, especially for a starting quarterback.

The Bears’ Super Bowl aspirations might hinge on whether Trubisky can make a substantive jump after a good-but-not-great first season in Nagy’s offense. They can’t afford for him to be merely average, let alone absent. They feel good about backup Chase Daniel as a spot starter, but it’s a whole different conversation if he’s needed for an extended stretch.

Trubisky was 20th in the NFL in passer rating last season, and while that statistic is an oversimplification on any quarterback, it gives a quick sketch of where he stands. The Bears likely need him to be right around 10th to be a fearsome title contender.

So whatever Nagy has to do to put him in prime position for the opener, it’s worth it. Keep in mind that by playing in the kickoff game on a Thursday night, the Bears have a tighter turnaround than the usual 10-day run-up to the season opener. Nagy would be wise to shift his practices into Packers mode as soon as possible.

Like everything with Trubisky, it comes down to trusting that Nagy knows best. He got the job largely on his quarterback expertise, and Trubisky took a big step under his watch last season. It’s hard to argue with Nagy if he says this is the right way to go.