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Bears vs. Broncos: What to Watch 4

Mitch Trubisky vs. ex-Bears defensive coordinator Fangio could be interesting game of chess

Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky knows “we’ll have to mix it up a bit” against the Broncos and coach Vic Fangio, the former Bears defensive coordinator who knows Trubisky and the Bears’ offense well.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

KEY MATCHUP

Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky always is in the spotlight, but rarely as much as he is in this one after a disjointed performance in the opener against the Packers — a 62.1 passer rating as the offense produced just three points.

Areas of improvement? Just the entire process and operation of the offense. “I think we need to just tighten down, everybody focusing a little more; a little more sense of urgency in and out of the huddle; better communication on the sidelines and in the huddle so we have more time to operate at the line of scrimmage. And then just playing fast.”

Trubisky in reality will be up against Broncos head coach Vic Fangio, the former Bears defensive coordinator who has expert knowledge of Trubisky’s strengths and weaknesses and a reputation for attacking quarterbacks.

“We gotta mix it up a little bit,” Trubisky said. “You gotta do some things that he won’t expect, and just try to keep him off balance. I think if all 11 guys in our offense are doing our jobs, then the game’s going to go the way that we want it.”

TRENDING

In its first game under Chuck Pagano, the Bears’ defense looked pretty similar to the dominant unit it was under Fangio. The Bears held the Packers to 10 points, 213 total yards and 3.7 yards per play in the opener. The 10 points are the fewest the Packers have scored in a season opener in 12 years under Aaron Rogers (21.1 avg.).

But Bears defenders weren’t overly impressed and are going in feeling they still have a lot to prove. The Bears committed three defensive penalties — including Roquan Smith’s 38-yard pass interference penalty, did not get a takeaway and gave up a 47-yard pass play.

“You can’t take a whole lot from it because we still [lost],” defensive end Akiem Hicks said. “We’re not interested in moral victories here. We’re interesting in just playing good football.”

KEY PLAYER

At 30, Broncos linebacker Von Miller is arguably the best edge rusher in the NFL — even better than the Bears’ Khalil Mack. Miller had 14.5 sacks last season and is averaging 13.3 sacks in his seven full seasons in the league.

“You’ve always got to know where he’s at,” said Bears coach Matt Nagy, who faced Miller twice a year with the Chiefs. “He’s savvy. He’s smart. He’s quick with his hands — he has these ninja-like moves that just are hard to stop.”

X-FACTOR

Adjusting to Denver’s altitude has always been challenging for opposing teams. And early season heat seems to make it even more problematic. Since 2013, the Broncos are 12-0 at home in September (they’re 9-4 at home in October; 5-5 in November and 7-6 in December/January).

“It’s going to be a good challenge,” said Mack, who was 1-3 against the Broncos at Mile High Stadium with the Raiders.