A day after the Texans’ Deshaun Watson was stellar against the host Saints and two days after the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes was in otherworldly MVP form against the host Jaguars, Bears quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone was in a tough spot Tuesday explaining Mitch Trubisky’s subpar performance against the visiting Packers last week.
The training wheels should be off Trubisky by now. He’s no longer in the first year of Matt Nagy’s offense. Trubisky actually is beyond the experience level Mahomes was at with the Chiefs last season, when he opened his MVP season with four touchdowns and a 127.5 passer rating against the Chargers.
So any Trubisky misstep that was dismissed a year ago as part of the growth process is a red flag this season. Trubisky’s opening clunker in a 10-3 loss to the Packers — 26 of 45, 228 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception for a 62.1 rating — strayed so far from expectations it was more disconcerting than disappointing.
Ragone did the best he could to explain it, but it all basically boiled down to the same response: ‘‘We’re working on it.’’
Here’s Ragone’s responses to questions:
— On why Trubisky started out so well against the Packers last year at Lambeau Field in the first year of Nagy’s offense and so poorly at Soldier Field in the second year of Nagy’s offense:
“There were things we were looking to have happen from him — and things he accomplished and things we need to improve on. Regardless of that being a win or a loss, we always strive to get better at fundamentals, get better with our eyes. There is no perfect game. When you have a loss, you self-evaluate just like after a win, and that’s something we’re doing this week.”
— On things Trubisky did that give you confidence he’ll bounce back:
“That’s a great question. The throws he made down the field, especially to A-Rob [Allen Robinson] — I know he got pushed out of bounds. And the one to Taylor Gabriel — unfortunately he was also out of bounds. But giving his receivers chances down the field.
“Some of the results were positive; some, unfortunately out of his control, weren’t. You see the connection he’s starting to have with not just Allen Robinson, but his other receivers. Week 1, we want to build on things, self-evaluate the things we didn’t do right and work on making sure those don’t happen again.”
— On targeting Robinson 13 times: Is Trubisky too locked in on his No. 1 guy?
“I don’t know if I look at it that way. I understand the question. It’s a very good question. A quarterback knows the traits of each one of his receivers. Wherever the coverage takes the player, hopefully he goes with the ball there.
“At times, the coverage, 13 times, took him to Allen. All of those guys are good football players. You want that connection built with all those guys, and hopefully that progresses throughout the season.”
— On improving Trubisky’s ability to be patient through his progressions:
“It goes back to trusting the practice you’ve put in. He has put a ton of effort into working on all of that. Maybe not getting the initial result you want, just having the faith to go back — which he did at times — and trust your fundamentals and your eyes . . . trust your feet. That’s a constant we’re going to continue to preach to him.”
— On Trubisky’s mindset after a bad game:
“The understanding is it’s Week 2. We need to move on, regardless of good, bad or indifferent.”
— On Trubisky reading RPOs [run-pass option plays]:
“That’s a great question,” Ragone said. “Just like anything, there’s plays he makes that are good. There’s play where there could be a little bit gray and he makes a decision — sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s not the outcome he wants. I have full and utter confidence he’s going to make the right play and if he doesn’t, he’ll be smart about it and protect himself. There’s no lack of confidence in any of those.”
— On how mindful he is of how Trubisky handles tough weeks like this one:
“Because I’ve been with him the longest, I think I have a very good feel of who he is as a person first and a player second,” Ragone said. “I think I understand how he ticks, what motivates him, so I obviously am in tune to everything that goes on.”
— So where’s he at?
“The understanding is it’s Week 2,” Ragone said. “We need to move on, regardless of good, bad or indifferent.”