Bears coach Matt Nagy revealed Monday that Mitchell Trubisky will make his preseason debut Thursday night against the Bengals in Cincinnati, though it has yet to be determined how much the second-year quarterback will play.
Trubisky addressed the media after practice Monday in Bourbonnais. Here are four things we learned from that session:
(1) Trubisky and the rest of the No. 1 offense are gaining a familiarity with the new system that's allowing them to play faster in practice.
"As we go more and more back through the installs, the game is starting to slow down for us," Trubisky said. "That allows us to play faster. The more time we have, the more reps we have, it just slows down for us in practice."
Learning from the miscues that have been made has helped accelerate the growth of the offense.
"You watch film and you just go back and you don't make the same mistake twice," Trubisky said. "You write it down, you study it, you find out the 'why' for why you made the mistake. Bad decision, bad read, bad footwork; for me it's usually one of those three. Then you just go back and correct it."
With four preseason games still remaining, mistakes in practice are acceptable because the offense is still very much in an experimental stage.
"We're out here taking risk," Trubisky said. "We're figuring out what throws I can make and maybe what throws we should just hold off on, what routes, and what works good and timing. We're out here getting better and we're testing it to the limit every day to see what I can do and to see what this offense is capable of. We've definitely gotten better every single day."
(2) Knowing that Nagy likes to take shots down the field, Trubisky works on throwing deep passes after every practice.
"That's the one thing I practice after practice every day," Trubisky said. "You can't always get it throughout practice every day, so I'm making sure I'm getting those throws."
Throwing deep not only produces big plays but the threat alone benefits the running game as well as the passing attack.
"We want to complete the ball down the field, spread the defense and back them out so it opens up the run game and intermediate routes as well," Trubisky said. "It's my job to take shots, to practice it, and make sure I'm on the money when we go down the field, but also taking care of the football and being consistent and moving the ball."
(3) Trubisky is developing a rapport with top receiver Allen Robinson II by spending time with the prized free-agent acquisition on and off the field.
Not only are their lockers side-by-side, but the two often eat lunch together and talk to each other before and after plays during practice.
"Really the more time we can spend together the more trust we're going to have on the field," Trubisky said. "When you build that trust and that chemistry, it really just comes down to timing and me putting the ball in the right spot and him going up and doing what he does and making plays.
"It's really coming along nice and we're just getting along and becoming brothers really. We're building this family—me, him, everyone else on this offense, and when you have that trust it just comes down to execution and knowing what to do and going out there and doing it and having the ability to do it."
Trubisky has enjoyed getting to know Robinson, who signed with the Bears in March after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Jaguars.
"He loves football, he's hungry to be great and he's a very driven individual," Trubisky said. "That motivates me to get him the ball and have everything I'm doing together as well, so I better be on top of my A game because I know he's bringing it every day, too. I know that motivates me as a quarterback to come out here and do my best."
(4) Trubisky understands that his ability to run with the ball is a key element in the new offense.
"It's just another option for the defense to account for, and I think me running the ball will help our running backs and help our receivers get open and hopefully take some pressure off our o-line," Trubisky said.
"Sometimes things break down and the defense gets a good blitz. But hopefully we'll be able to overcome that if I can scramble and make a play. You might have the perfect call on defense, but if I can scramble and make something happen, that's just another great option for an offense.
"And we'll have some designed stuff and that will hopefully open up all the other playmakers down the road to make the run game even better for the running backs and the pass game more wide open."
With quarterbacks never involved in live tackling drills in practice, Trubisky will work on improving game-to-game during the regular season "knowing when to get down, knowing when I can get as many yards as possible, knowing when to get out of bounds and taking care of the ball and taking care of my body and just staying healthy for this team, but also staying aggressive and trying to create a challenge for the defense."