‘He has to be ready’ — Bears rookie Mitch Trubisky named No. 2 QB

Rookie Mitch Trubisky earned his first promotion Wednesday.

It had been coming for weeks after the Bears decided not to play fellow reserve Mark Sanchez in the third and fourth preseason games. But the team’s willingness to acknowledge Trubisky’s development publicly — rather than its usual equivocating about the depth chart — speaks volumes.

Trubisky is the Bears’ No. 2 quarterback, behind Mike Glennon.

“You guys know how we felt about him from the get-go,” general manager Ryan Pace said. “Every one of these steps has been exciting to see. We just couldn’t be happier with his progress.”

Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky warms up before a preseason game against the Titans on Aug. 27, 2017. | Mark Zaleski/AP

This step came faster than the Bears thought it would. It was only six weeks ago that they began training camp with talk of Trubisky, whom they traded up to draft second overall, redshirting the season.

The decision to name Trubisky the second-stringer, Pace said, was a collaborative effort between him and the coaching staff. Trubisky and Sanchez will share practice-squad snaps, though the latter could be inactive on Sundays. It was telling that Pace praised Sanchez’s intangibles and his ability to be a good teammate.

Trubisky, on the other hand, was lauded for his play.

“I think he surpassed everybody’s [expectations], all the coaches, the personnel, myself and, I think, his teammates,” coach John Fox said. “I think we were asked to evaluate him all the way through. Everybody was pretty impressed with how fast he picked things up.”

Pace reiterated that he has faith in Glennon, whose teammates voted him one of their five captains. Trubisky’s public promotion, though, means Glennon’s leash might end up being shorter than anyone anticipated when the preseason began. When Pace said that players determine their own success — “They set the depth chart,” he said — one wonders when he might say the same about replacing Glennon.

The Bears, though, acknowledge that Trubisky has a lot to learn.

“He has to be ready,” Pace said. “There are going to be adjustments within the game, there are going to be new defensive schemes and blitz packages and coverages.

“And every one of these moments is a learning experience for him, which he’s shown he takes advantage of.’’

Trubisky — whom the Bears will not make available to the media until Friday — quickly learned how to take snaps from under center after spending his North Carolina career in the shotgun.

When preseason games started, he proved a quick study.

Trubisky completed 36 of 53 passes for 364 yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions, but he also learned protections and pass coverages quickly, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. He audibled to the right plays and usually made the right decisions.

“I don’t want to ever put a limit on any player, especially that one,” Loggains said. “But the things he was able to handle in learning from others and watching Mike and Mark work in practice, and now all of a sudden have the awareness to, ‘Well, they’re about to blitz off the edge. I’m going to change the [middle linebacker identification, a quarterback’s responsibility] and do those things.’ ”

There was no moment, Pace said, when he became convinced that Trubisky was the right choice to be the second-stringer.

“Even in Monday’s practice, there are things — every day there’s something he’s doing,” Pace said. ‘‘There are new things he’s seeing, there are new experiences that he’s having, which will just continue. And that’s what I think gets us excited.

“It’s just been consistent, steady growth from Mitch all along the way.”

His next promotion — be it because of injury or ineffectiveness — will be the one that counts, of course.

“He’s one play away from going in,” Loggains said.

Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley.

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com


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