What the Bears’ defense learned about ‘scout-team QB’ Mitch Trubisky

When it comes to the Bears’ offense and rookie Mitch Trubisky, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is expecting to face something different but still the same.

“I don’t think you completely change the whole offense,” Zimmer said Thursday during a conference call. “I know they had some more time [to prepare]. But there are certain basic concepts and plays in your offense that you’re going to stick with.”

In other words, Zimmer expects some of the plays and looks that the Bears had for former starter Mike Glennon to remain in place for Trubisky. It’s figuring out some of the differences that can be problematic.

“You’re going to have some other plays where you feel like the other quarterback is going to do things . . . better,” Zimmer said. “So you look at the offense, then you anticipate some of the things that you’ve seen in the preseason from the other quarterback.”

Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky takes the snap during a preseason game against the Broncos on Aug. 10. (Brian O'Mahoney/For the Sun-Times)

Members of the Bears’ starting defense know firsthand what those differences can mean. Before this week, they faced Trubisky as the scout-team quarterback.

“He’s going to be good,” outside linebacker Pernell McPhee said.

But that’s all he would say.

It’s important for players — and fans — not to get too carried away with Mitch Mania. He’s a rookie. Mistakes will happen.

But Trubisky, being the second overall pick, does present certain challenges. Here are three examples, according to the Bears’ defense:

Quick progressions

Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd’s best asset is his speed, and he sees similarities in Trubisky. It’s not how fast Trubisky runs; it’s how fast he gets through his progressions.

“He does a good job of reading his keys from Point A to C,” Floyd said. “And he does a good job of getting the ball to whoever’s open.”

Floyd described Trubisky as “really, really good” at reading and going through the progressions, especially for a rookie.

Of course, Trubisky’s speed when reading defenses can limit the effectiveness of Floyd’s own speed, whether it’s off the edge or coming around the middle on a stunt.

Floyd also said that Trubisky did a good job of mixing up his snap counts. Doing that deters the aggressiveness of speed rushers.

“I have total confidence in him,” Floyd said.

Pinpoint accuracy

Rookie safety Eddie Jackson said Trubisky provided the secondary with a “real-life look” for games. It’s not how hard Trubisky threw the ball, but when his pass was released and where he put it.

“It’s tough,” said Jackson, who won the starting job in training camp because of his playmaking skills and instincts in coverage.

“Even if you’ve got a guy covered, when you have a quarterback that can put the ball in the right spot that only a receiver can get to, it makes it hard on a secondary.”

Trubisky did that.

It reached a point where Jackson said he tried to bait Trubisky into mistakes.

“But his mistakes are very limited,” Jackson said. “He’s just a guy like that. He’s always on his P’s and Q’s.”

A sure demeanor

Veteran outside linebacker Sam Acho was most impressed with Trubisky’s ability to be himself despite running other teams’ offenses.

Trubisky ran the plays of Matt Ryan, Jameis Winston, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers (albeit briefly on a short week) in practice, but he apparently stood out in his own style.

“A lot of times — younger or older player — it’s, I feel like I have to impress the coaches or I have to really do X, Y and Z,” Acho said. “He’s like, I’m just going to be me. And he’s confident that that’s enough.

“And it is enough.”

That speaks to the confidence the Bears have as a team in Trubisky’s own confidence. Players have felt it.

“I look forward to him going out there on Monday and just being himself,” Floyd said. “Don’t change [anything].”

Follow me on Twitter @adamjahns.
Email: ajahns@suntimes.com

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