Eyeing the signs of Bears QB Mitch Trubisky’s growth in a ‘microwave society’
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On the Bears’ first third-down play against the Seahawks on Monday, quarterback Mitch Trubisky could be heard yelling “kill, kill” at the line of scrimmage.
Trubisky motioned running back Jordan Howard into the backfield, gestured to his receivers and switched the play.
“We give him the keys to the car,” Nagy said.
In this case, and in other instances throughout the Bears’ 24-17 win, according to Nagy, Trubisky steered the offense in the right direction. He hit receiver Allen Robinson on a quick slant for a 13-yard gain and a first down. It kept Nagy’s scripted game-opening drive going. Seven plays later, tight end Trey Burton scored.
“[Trubisky is] able to make some choices with that through game study and film study,” Nagy said Wednesday. “That was growth to see him do that last week.”
It’s growth that doesn’t always reveal itself in highlights or in fantasy leagues. But it’s important that Nagy sees Trubisky continue to develop as the season progresses.
Patience might be a tough sell for the Bears, but it’s the details of such plays that Nagy is closely watching as the outside world incessantly compares Trubisky to the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and Texans’ Deshaun Watson.
“It’s a microwave society,” ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, a former personnel executive who worked with Nagy with the Eagles, said in a recent interview.
“Everybody wants everything instantly. [Some] guys are fortunate enough to have some success right out of the gate. A different fan base who obviously aren’t fans of the team where the guy is having success says, ‘I want my guy to be like that. I want everything to line up for my guy just like that.’
“Well, I’ve talked about it over and over again since I got into the media, that there’s so many things that go into determining the success and failures, especially with quarterbacks.”
Nagy knows that well. If Trubisky is going to be compared to Mahomes, then it’s important to note that Nagy played an instrumental role in Mahomes’ own development last year when he was backing up Alex Smith.
At this point in the season, Nagy is being mindful of his offense’s “volume” for Trubisky. As Nagy said Monday night, he also will protect Trubisky if needed with his calls, though his goal is for Trubisky to be unaware. Nagy’s primary focus is Trubisky’s eyes. He wants him to see what he’s seeing as his play-caller.
“It’s hard to see it on tape or anybody that just watches the game on TV,” Nagy said. “But I can tell you right now, his eyes are going to the right spots and he’s understanding what to do with the ball with the reactionary actions that he has to the defense. Right now the biggest thing for him is I just want him to be able to play fast and trust where he’s going with the football.”
Mahomes experienced what that meant over the course of a full season of meetings and film study with Nagy and Smith. Trubisky, who has completed 69.6 percent of his passes in two games, described that part of his learning process as getting “closer and closer.”
“[It’s] just communication and trying to become really one brain wavelength, [where] we’re just thinking the same thing and going through the same thought processes,” Trubisky said.
Against the Seahawks, it was identifying a blitz on second-and-one, setting a new protection with emphatic calls that could be heard on TV, then making a quick throw to the right flat to Howard, who gained 18 yards.
Or it’s a three-yard completion to tight end Trey Burton on first down after Seahawks defensive back Akeem King came off his coverage on Burton and blitzed.
Such plays might seem dull compared to Mahomes’ high-scoring exploits, but Nagy needs them to happen.
“Progress and process never stop,” Trubisky said.