Mitchell Trubisky smiled a lot during his media session following Wednesday’s OTA practice at Halas Hall, and who could blame him?
The Bears quarterback is thrilled with the strides that he and his offensive teammates are making in their second year together in the system.
“I think ‘smooth’ is really a good word to describe how things are going,” Trubisky said. “Everyone’s on the same page. Everyone knows what they’re doing in Year 2 in this offense, so it’s a lot of fun just getting out there and going through it and just being even more detailed than we were last year within each play.”
Coach Matt Nagy has been impressed with the deeper understanding of the offense that Trubisky has gained since first being introduced to the system a little over a year ago. It’s enabling the Bears quarterback to make changes before the ball is snapped based on what he sees from the defense—something that Trubisky wasn’t always able to do last season when he was still digesting the playbook.
“Last year he learned it; this year he’s really trying to master it,” Nagy said. “He’s done a wonderful job right now at trying to get to some of the adjustments we have within the plays and the concepts and the schemes. Hopefully within a few months from now when we get to training camp and preseason you all see that in game situations.”
Trubisky excelled in game situations last year. The second pick in the 2017 draft was voted to his first Pro Bowl after passing for 3,223 yards with 24 touchdowns and a 95.4 passer rating while helping lead the Bears to a 12-4 record and the NFC North title.
Trubisky, however, is already showing signs in OTAs that this season could be even more special.
“There are adjustments that he makes that we don’t have to tell him, ‘Hey, do this.’ He just does it naturally,” Nagy said. “That’s what you’re looking for.”
Trubisky has enthusiastically accepted his coach’s challenge to master the offense. To the quarterback, that means understanding the system well enough to teach it to his teammates.
“It’s basically trying to know the offense as well as coach Nagy does,” Trubisky said.
Offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich has been just as impressed as Nagy with how Trubisky has grown since his first year in the system and the impact that development has had on the rest of the offense.
“It is literally night-and-day in all the right ways,” Helfrich said. “Our standard for him is extremely high. But just as far as the operation of not only what he’s supposed to do, what the defense is doing, manipulating protections, just the air about him is way different and everybody has noted that, observed that in various ways. Therefore, people around him are playing better and that helps too.”
Trubisky told reporters that he’s seen evidence on tape that the offense is improving, especially in terms of cleaning up glitches from last season.
“It’s kind of hard for you guys to see on the outside throughout OTAs, but we are getting better as an offense and we are improving on those things we need to work on from last year,” Trubisky said. “It’s definitely a focus for us.”
As part of that evolution, Trubisky and the Bears have worked on correcting some plays that were not transferred from the playbook into game-plans last season.
“It’s just looking at game film, running those plays throughout OTAS and getting them right,” Trubisky said. “For me, sometimes it’s just doing the footwork or getting the right protection call and just finding completions—and continuing to push the ball downfield and be aggressive.”
With Trubisky and his teammates possessing a firmer grasp of the system, expectations are high for the Bears offense in 2019.
“We’re able to take the next step on offense because we know what we’re doing on offense,” Trubisky said. “Now we can adjust based off what the defense is giving us. We have adjustments within each play and when you see that happen you kind of see eyes open, you see guys getting excited because it’s like, ‘OK, we know the play. We know when the defense gives this, this is how we’re going to adjust to it. This is how we’re going to run our routes. This is how I’m going to take my drop. This is how I’m going to manipulate with my eyes to open this up.’
“We’re just playing football, and it makes it fun. You kind of see why everything happens and everyone’s on the same page and you kind of see everything come to fruition.”
Bears rookies and veterans hit the field at Halas Hall for offseason practice.