There's a lot to like about how quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has performed early in training camp, but two things have impressed coach Matt Nagy more than anything else.
"I love his footwork and his balance,” Nagy said. "That's one thing I didn't harp on as much in OTAs. I kind of stayed away from that. But now that we're getting in here to training camp and you've got more bodies flying around you, you really take notice.
"His timing, which is what our offense is built on, is really good right now for a second-year guy. His anticipation is really good. We're continuing to work on downfield throws and we'll pick out the throws that he needs work on and we'll hammer those in individual drills, we'll hammer them in team drills and try to get him ultimately where we want him.”
Trubisky did throw some interceptions in the first three practices of training camp, all of which took place in steady rain. But Nagy doesn't seem too concerned.
"We talk about it in the room and he's kind of in the 'flight simulator' right now, he really is,” Nagy said. "He's testing things out. We're testing things out. We're trying to see where he's at; so many routes in this offense versus so many different looks that we'll put it all together come that first game.”
Nagy is also testing things out in terms of playing a lot of different players with Trubisky and the rest of the first-team offense.
"Right now there's zero game-planning going into this thing,” said the Bears coach. "It's 'everybody learn everything,' and then what we do as evaluators and coaches is see who does what well. There might be somebody that runs a route really well but can't run another route to save his life, so we don't do that. We put those guys in the right spot and then we try to time it up with the quarterback.”
After an off day Wednesday, the Bears will conduct padded practices Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Bourbonnais, all beginning at 8:15 a.m. and all open to the public. They held a shorter, light non-contact closed workout Tuesday that started at 9:15 a.m..
"We pulled back a little bit on practice,” Nagy said Tuesday. "The benefit for the guys is that they get an extra hour of sleep on the front end. They always enjoy it and it's a little carrot for them. And we take the pads off and it's more mental.
"Our guys are going to be gearing up for a day off and then we come back with three good days of pads, and I know they're really excited for that.”
Veteran defensive end Akiem Hicks, a 6-5, 332-pounder, was given the day off Tuesday.
"We want to make sure that he gets the rest,” Nagy said. "He's a big dude now. You've got to make sure you get these guys and you take care of their bodies. We talked about health is the No. 1 issue coming out of this. Things will happen, which is a part of the game. It happens to 31 other teams other than us. So let's do everything we can to make this thing go as best as possible, and that's one of the deals. We wanted to give him a little rest.”
When Nagy was asked about leadership on defense, Hicks was the first person he mentioned.
"Well the energy I think starts with Akiem,” said the Bears coach. "He's the guy on the front line. It starts there. And then on the back end, it's hard for me to not get involved and love what [cornerback] Prince [Amukamara] does. He's going to chirp a little bit now, and I love that part of it.
"Other than that, we have guys that just play ball, they play hard. [Defensive coordinator] Vic [Fangio] puts them in great situations, along with the rest of the defensive staff, and they go. I cannot wait to get into the preseason and let us go against a different team, put the pads on and watch players continually improve each and every day.”
Senior writer Larry Mayer ranks the top 10 Bears players he’s most interested in watching entering the second week of training camp: