BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – Mitchell Trubisky is thinking small.
As training camp began at Olivet Nazarene University on Thursday, the quarterback balanced the high expectations for the Bears following a 12-4 season in 2018 with an emphasis on details and discipline.
In Trubisky's mind, that's the only way to get where he wants to go.
Last Sunday, general manager Ryan Pace boiled down his expectations for Trubisky to three words: steady incremental improvement. Trubisky agreed with Pace's assessment, calling those words the theme of his 2019 training camp, if not his career to this point.
"Get one percent better every day," said Trubisky. "I think that's how you separate yourself in the long run."
After a rookie season that "didn't go the way we wanted it to," according to Trubisky, the introduction of a new coaching staff and offense jump-started the young quarterback's development in 2018.
Last season marked a big step toward fulfilling the potential that made the North Carolina product the second pick in the 2017 draft. In addition to leading the Bears to the playoffs, Trubisky threw for 3,223 yards and 24 touchdowns, earning himself a Pro Bowl invitation.
"I know I haven't played my best football yet," said Trubisky. "That's kind of my mindset."
To make his big leap into an elite passer, Trubisky has outlined clear goals, which, outside of football, could apply to nearly any 24-year-old man: keeping his room clean and eating healthy.
On the field, Trubisky has an equally narrow focus: huddle efficiency. He would like to see the entire offense move with urgency in between plays, which would give him more time at the line of scrimmage to break down defenses.
The 2018 season saw Trubisky improve his completion percentage by over six points, taking him from the 28th most accurate passer to the 13th. Still, accuracy, and by extension ball security, will be one of the vital benchmarks by which he will judge himself in the coming weeks.
"We have our goals," said Trubisky, "and we're going to keep those to ourselves and work hard to make sure we chase after all of them."
Roster continuity will aid Trubisky this season. The Bears return all of his top five targets from last year.
Unlike last year, receiver Allen Robinson II has been healthy and working with his quarterback for the entire offseason. Robinson has liked what he's seen from Trubisky so far.
"For him," said Robinson of Trubisky, "all aspects of what he brings to the table, he's gotten better at."
Trubisky's status as a team leader has extended beyond the offense. He has earned the respect of star linebacker Khalil Mack, who praised his competitiveness and quiet diligence.
"He's a dog, man," said Mack. "That's what I want from my quarterback."