Mitch Trubisky is learning when, where to be his aggressive self
The first sign that rookie Mitch Trubisky was a risk-taker wasn’t his tipped 20-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Miller or his late interception against the Vikings.
It came in the second quarter on a third-and-15 play from the Vikings’ 47.
With defensive end Danielle Hunter beating right tackle Bobby Massie to the inside, Trubisky scrambled to his right and — as he often does — kept his eyes focused down the field.
Miller broke off his route over the middle and ran with Trubisky. It’s what scramble rules dictate.
Trubisky, though, had a different idea with safeties Andrew Sendejo and Harrison Smith cutting off the outside. He tried to get Miller open with a pass back toward the middle of the field.
‘‘He had a great thought of trying to put it out on his back shoulder,’’ offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said Wednesday.
The Bears love Trubisky’s aggressiveness. It’s part of his special makeup. They want him to be a risk-taker because it makes him a playmaker.
But as Trubisky learned Monday night, there are certain times in the game and certain places on the field that dictate when to be aggressive in the NFL.
‘‘It’s just being smart with the football in space,’’ Loggains said.
It’s a lesson Trubisky — who gave his debut an ‘‘average, below-average’’ rating — must take into the game Sunday against the Ravens, who are second in the NFL with nine interceptions.
Trubisky’s touchdown throw to Miller — which was tipped by Sendejo — was risky but acceptable because of the outcome. His pass to Miller that led to Smith’s interception late in the fourth quarter was not.
Both throws were similar to his back-shoulder incomplete pass to Miller in the second quarter. On all three plays, Trubisky moved to his right and tried to take advantage of the movements in the secondary.
‘‘That’s part of learning what throws I can make and can’t make in the NFL,’’ Trubisky said. ‘‘You get away with more of those in college, scrambling and throwing deep and extending and making plays. Here, sometimes it’s going to happen, and sometimes it’s not.
‘‘It’s part of the learning process. I think extending plays is part of my game. We’re going to need that, and it helps. So I just have to learn when I’m extending plays that it’s a for-sure completion or when I just need to eat it and play the next play.’’
Trubisky won’t stop being aggressive, though.
‘‘You can’t be scared,’’ he said.
The Bears won’t try to curb Trubisky’s natural aggressiveness, either. They believe in his attacking mindset and don’t want him to be timid.
But understanding when to be aggressive only will come through experience. Trubisky needs to play to learn. As he develops, his opportunities to play more aggressively will increase.
Trubisky’s first career interception was a bad throw not only because of its placement but also because of the situation.
It was a first down from the Bears’ 10 with 2:32 left in a 17-17 tie.
‘‘He’s got to play,’’ Loggains said. ‘‘You have to understand situational football. It’s first-and-10. You don’t need to make that play. You’re on the edge. I do love the fact [that] he’s aggressive.
‘‘But it’s first-and-10. Understand the situation. We’re backed up. Let’s be smart. Let’s find a completion. Let’s get to our check-down. Let’s run, get what we can and get out of bounds. That’s really the biggest thing that you talk to him about.’’
In other words, it’s OK to take risks, but you have to know when and where they’re worth it.
‘‘He’s going to have to live and go through these things,’’ Loggains said. ‘‘It’s starting to figure out what throws he can and can’t make.’’
Follow me on Twitter @adamjahns.