Mitch Trubisky sounds a lot like Matt Nagy, and that’s promising for Bears
Trubisky parrots his coach to the media and on the practice field, which is a sign that they’re merged heading into their second season together.
The Bears’ merging of Matt Nagy and Mitch Trubisky is complete, and they’re even starting to sound alike. All that remains is for Trubisky to master his coach’s Pennsylvania Dutch accent.
Actually, after Nagy’s inadvertently risqué rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” maybe he better not take it that far.
Trubisky has mastered the lexicon, though, and that’s a sign that he’s operating as an -extension of Nagy. It’s what every coach wants from a young quarterback.
“I’m calling the play in practice, and he’s cutting me off because he knows the formation and he goes, ‘I got it,’ ” Nagy said. “I kind of like it. . . . When he calls the play, he visualizes immediately where everybody is at.”
There’s a lot of talk about Trubisky making a leap in Year 3, which begins Thursday against the Packers, and speeding up the relay from Nagy to Trubisky to the rest of the offense is an essential factor.
If Nagy knows what he’s doing when it comes to quarterbacks, and his track record suggests that he does, it’s crucial that Trubisky fully adopt his vision for the offense.
He often parrots Nagy when talking to the media and uses Nagy catchphrases in practice.
“All the time,” Trubisky said. “Like, ‘Let’s throw it up,’ ‘Let’s go downtown,’ ‘Throwing some bombs.’ One of his big ones is, ‘Don’t peak too soon.’ That’s something he says a lot.”
Veteran right guard Kyle Long said, “They do speak the same language, those two. They’re together so much.” Practice-squad quarterback Tyler Bray, who has played for Nagy since 2013, added, “The voices are a little different, but the terminology’s getting there.”
Trubisky made progress in his first season under Nagy, but both said there’s more to come. He averaged 230.2 yards passing per game and had 24 touchdowns against 12 interceptions for a passer rating of 95.4 — significant improvement from his rookie year.
But he’s in the middle of the pack among NFL starting quarterbacks, and the Bears need more than that if they’re going to cash in on having a championship-caliber defense.
The emphasis in the preseason was fine-tuning Trubisky’s accuracy, footwork and reading defenses better. That last one is vital.
The coach-to-quarterback communication via the radio in Trubisky’s helmet shuts down with 15 seconds left on the play clock. What play callers generally prefer is for the offense to get lined up with at least 20 seconds remaining so they have a chance to adjust.
The earlier Trubisky is able to get the Bears in formation, the more time Nagy has to react. And, once the radio goes silent for those final seconds, Nagy wants to trust that Trubisky is reading the defense the same way he would.
“I do see myself trying to see the game through his eyes and us being on the same page a lot,” Trubisky said.
Trubisky played three snaps in the preseason, but Nagy has seen their cohesion on the practice field. That’s one reason he’s optimistic his quarterback is headed for a breakout season.
When the Bears shifted from Bourbonnais to Halas Hall last month, Nagy and Trubisky met to discuss where the offense was at and what needed to happen in the final weeks leading into the regular season. Trubisky was authoritative in that conversation, and that’s another indicator he’s ready to run the show.
“He’s taken a little bit more ownership in the meetings,” Nagy said. “He did that last year, but it’s more aggressive this year. . . . He’s just more vocal. He’s more confident in what he’s talking about because he knows what he’s talking about.
“Last year, he didn’t know what he didn’t know. This year, he’s growing. Is he all the way where he’s going to be at the end? No. But his growth from Year 1 in this offense to now is substantial.”