A whole new world: Why QB Mitch Trubisky sees ‘exciting stuff’ ahead for Bears
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On the first day of Matt Nagy’s first voluntary minicamp, the new Bears coach pulled quarterback Mitch Trubisky off to the side for a brief one-on-one conversation.
“I just told him, really, how amazed I was at how he got through this first day,” Nagy said. “He was impressive. I don’t want to put too much on him. But at the same time, he needs to understand that was pretty good what just happened.”
On the second day, cornerback Prince Amukamara intercepted Trubisky during team drills, igniting a boisterous celebration among the defensive players at the cavernous Walter Payton Center.
“That’s just a part of football,” Nagy said. “I was happy for our defense. For Mitch, the biggest thing as he grows and learns to play that position is [that] next-play mentality.”
After the third and final day, Trubisky met with reporters for the first time and beamed when talking about his situation.
“I feel like these last three days, I’ve been coached more than I ever have,” he said Thursday.
He then rattled off the names of Nagy, offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone and quarterbacks Chase Daniel and Tyler Bray, two veterans who know Nagy’s offense. There were so many people to list that Trubisky forgot to mention Brad Childress, the former Vikings coach and Chiefs offensive coordinator whom Nagy lured out of retirement to be his senior offensive consultant.
“Just having a bunch of brilliant offensive minds around me, I’m just getting a lot of information,” Trubisky said. “I’m trying to be a sponge, and it’s been a lot of fun working with those guys and learning as much as I can these last three days.”
Smiling continuously through his 13-minute news conference, Trubisky at one point stopped mid-answer, his excitement tangible, and declared, “This is where we’re about to get real deep.”
It became obvious he’s in a better situation than he was last year.
“We’re just doing the basics, and we’re trying not to get too far ahead,” he said. “But Nagy pulls me over to the side, and he’s like, ‘All right, we just have that throw [for now], but we’ve got two or three more plays off of that, and that will come going forward.’
“We try not to get ahead of ourselves, but it’s cool to look into where we’re going and knowing there are plenty of plays ahead. There’s a lot of exciting stuff that’s going to go within this offense that we haven’t gotten to yet.”
Trubisky described the installation of Nagy’s offense as being “on ground bottom.” It will be vastly different than what the Bears ran under coach John Fox — modern football with a modern-day quarterback.
“There are just so many layers to this offense and what we can do,” said Trubisky, who went 4-8 in 12 starts in 2017, completing 59.4 percent of his passes for 2,193 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. “[It’s] plays off plays and just the intricacies of each play and how we have so many options within each play. [It’s] just the decisions I have at the line of scrimmage and post-snap and pre-snap [that] are just going to give us a lot of options.
“And then we’ve just got to continue to use our personnel and the talent we’ve got on offense to spread the ball around and be an explosive offense.”
It’s all part of the new vibe under Nagy. Will it work? Time will tell. There undoubtedly will be discouraging moments ahead for Trubisky, Nagy and the team.
But the enthusiasm Trubisky displayed also is contagious. It’s April, and Bears players — old and new — need that from him.
“He’s ready to take over,” running back Jordan Howard said.
The defense sees it, too. Defensive end Akiem Hicks said Trubisky is “more vibrant” in the locker room. Part of that is Trubisky coming into his second season. The other part is the situation the Bears have put him in, starting with Nagy’s arrival.
“This year, [Trubisky] has a firm grasp on who he has to be for our team to be successful,” Hicks said.
The excitement level will increase expectations for Trubisky. But Nagy can always pull him aside for another chat about that.
“Forget the expectations,” Nagy said. “We don’t need that. There’s no expectations for him. Just go be a quarterback — just go play football. Listen to the details we give you as coaches. And if he does that, than he has nothing to worry about as far as expectations.”