LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky could hardly contain his excitement when detailing the possibilities that exist within the new offense that head coach Matt Nagy began installing three weeks ago.
“This is where we’re about to get real deep,” Trubisky said with a wide grin on Thursday.
“This is how exciting this is. We’re just doing the basics, and we’re trying not to get too far ahead, but Nagy pulls me over to the side and he’s like, ‘All right, we just have that throw, but we’ve got two or three more plays off of that, and that will come going forward.’ But 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 and there’s a lot of exciting stuff that’s going to go within this offense that we haven’t gotten to yet.”
All eyes were squarely focused on Trubisky throughout the week as the Bears held a three-day voluntary veteran minicamp that wrapped up with an abbreviated practice session on Thursday.
As you would expect from any quarterback operating in a brand-new system, Trubisky, who started 12 games last season as a rookie, had both good moments and some not-so-good moments in minicamp. Further complicating matters for Trubisky and the Bears' entire offense is that the defense that is entering Year 4 in the same scheme under decorated coordinator Vic Fangio. Trubisky was bound to struggle on occasion.
But, overall, the former second overall pick sounded convinced that Nagy’s offense is a good fit for the team -- and for him personally.
“There are just so many layers to this offense and what we can do -- plays off plays and just the intricacies of each play,” Trubisky said. “We have so many options within each play and just the decisions I have at the line of scrimmage and post-snap and pre-snap are just going to give us a lot of options. 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 just comes down to execution, learning this new playbook and believing in the system, and everyone has so far, so it’s been exciting.”
The Bears went to great lengths to build the proper support system for Trubisky, who passed for 2,193 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2017.
Nagy not only added former Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich as offensive coordinator but Chicago also retained last year’s quarterbacks coach, Dave Ragone, and signed veteran free-agent quarterback Chase Daniel, who played under Nagy in Kansas City, to serve as Trubisky’s primary backup.
“I feel like these last three days, I’ve been coached more than I ever have because I have Coach Helfrich, Coach Ragone -- who was here last year with me -- Coach Nagy and then I come off when it’s not my reps and I talk to [former Chiefs quarterback] Tyler [Bray] and I talk to Chase,” Trubisky said. “Just having a bunch of brilliant offensive minds around me, I’m just getting a lot of information. 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.”
The reality of Chicago’s situation is that Trubisky has to be a star for the Bears to ever escape the NFC North basement. The division is too loaded (Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, Matthew Stafford in Detroit and now Kirk Cousins in Minnesota) for the Bears to simply have average play from their quarterback.
For Trubisky to truly succeed, however, Nagy says the second-year quarterback has to tune out the outside noise.
“If you start worrying about expectations, other than [from] your coaches, then you’re in trouble,” Nagy said. “He’s just got to understand to just come to practice every day, be a leader, lead these guys, and that’s a hard deal sometimes. You come in last year and he’s a rookie, and it’s tough to be a leader. Now it’s time to make that next step.
“So, for example, in practice, if it’s a bad snap, if it’s a little low, how do you get on that center and let him know without making him mad that you did that and offended him? There’s ways to do it. So there are ways for him to grow as a leader. And forget the expectations. We don’t need that. There are 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, then he has nothing to worry about as far as expectations.”