Entering their second season together as Bears teammates, receiver/running back Cordarrelle Patterson has noticed a difference in quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
"He actually looks like a whole new player this year," Patterson said Tuesday after practice at Halas Hall. "I just see it in his eyes. Each and every day, he's got that fire [in] him.
"I feel he's been more of a leader. Last year I didn't feel like he was that guy, but this year I feel like he's taking over. He wants everybody to know he's that guy and we can come to him when we need something. He's doing a hell of a job of it."
Competing for the Bears' starting quarterback position with veteran Nick Foles in training camp, Trubisky acknowledged that he has altered his approach as he prepares for his fourth NFL season.
"I know what is being asked of me and what I need to do," Trubisky said. "I think I'm just bringing a little more edge to the offense, a little more sense of urgency and I'm just trying to go out there and make great decisions and be a spark for this offense.
"Competition or not, we need to make sure this offense is getting better, and that's all I'm trying to do day-in and day-out."
“He actually looks like a whole new player this year.” Cordarrelle Patterson on Mitchell Trubisky
Trubisky is motivated to revert to the form he displayed in 2018. In his first full season as a starter, he was named to the Pro Bowl after helping lead the Bears to the NFC North title with a 12-4 record. Last year, however, he battled a left shoulder injury while being part of an offense that regressed across the board.
"It's a combination of everything," Trubisky said. "Just realizing this is the last year of my contract, being hurt last year and not playing up to my own expectations, going 8-8, having a quarterback competition and just the desire to want to go out to continue to chase greatness.
"You're just playing each play like it's your last. So having that sense of urgency and trying to maximize your potential day-in and day-out, that's where that edge is coming from."
It's not like Trubisky hasn't played with attitude in the past. It's just that it's more important than ever this year.
"Being average is not acceptable around here," Trubisky said. "Nobody is happy about what happened going on with last season. But I'm a competitor. I love to win. There's always been that edge whenever I step on the field: high school, college or even now. I guess now it's more of a heightened sense I guess you would say, just being amidst all of this competition and the off year."
Trubisky was pleased to hear that Patterson had told reporters the quarterback was showing more leadership.
"For him to say that means a lot to me," Trubisky said. "I'm just trying to do my job and I feel I worked on my craft this offseason, so for it to show up this early, it's nice for your teammates to notice that. But we've just got to keep working, keep pulling together and make sure we're improving as an offense."
Trubisky believes that the key to him becoming more of a leader is in developing closer relationships with each of his teammates.
"I have to make sure I'm reaching every single guy in this offense," he said. "I'm spending individual time with him and I'm getting in front of the group and making sure they're hearing my voice and getting all of the guys on the same page.
"You've just got to influence the group and make sure we're all headed in the right direction. I'm always looking at how I can be a better leader and what I need to improve on. So just having those conversations with the guys, I know in what ways I can step up and make a difference, and that's just taking more control, being more vocal and being more talkative with guys."