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Trubisky looks to build on rookie success


The following is the first of nine position previews in advance of training camp.

After showing promise as a rookie last year, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will arrive in Bourbonnais as the centerpiece of a new Bears offense that's loaded with potential.

Selected by the Bears with the second pick in the 2017 draft, Trubisky started the final 12 games, completing 59.4 percent of his passes for 2,193 yards with seven touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 77.5 passer rating.

With Trubisky opening 2018 as the Bears' undisputed starter for the first time, teammates have noticed a difference in the North Carolina product.

"He asserted himself a lot last year, but I definitely feel like a lot more people are listening to him," said running back Jordan Howard. "He has a lot greater command of the locker room and stuff because he's the quarterback for sure now."

The Bears have put Trubisky in position to succeed with a productive offseason. After hiring Matt Nagy as head coach and Mark Helfrich as offensive coordinator, they bolstered the offense in free agency by signing receivers Allen Robinson II and Taylor Gabriel and tight end Trey Burton before choosing wideout Anthony Miller in the second round of the draft.

Trubisky likened the moves the Bears made in free agency to "an early Christmas," saying: "We got some great weapons. I'm very excited about the guys we added. It's looking good. Exciting things are going on here in Chicago."

Much of Trubisky's excitement is due to the new Bears offense.

"The offense I want to run is the offense we're installing right now," Trubisky said during an offseason appearance on NFL Network's Good Morning Football. "I really feel like I was built for this offense. It's dynamic, it's creative and it's also balanced, and that's what you want.

"We're going to get the ball out quick. We're going to deceive defenses. We're going to spread the field and we're going to get it all over to our playmakers. We're going to be balanced. We're going to play fast. We're going to be dynamic and we're going to stretch the field every which way."

Trubisky figures to benefit from working with Nagy and Helfrich, both of whom have been instrumental in developing quarterbacks elsewhere.

As Chiefs offensive coordinator last season, Nagy helped veteran Alex Smith lead the NFL with a career-high 104.7 passer rating, throwing for 4,042 yards with 26 touchdowns and just five interceptions.

Helfrich operated some of the most explosive offenses in college football history at Oregon, first as offensive coordinator (2009-12) and later as head coach (2013-16). In 2014, Helfrich helped quarterback Marcus Mariota become the school's first Heisman Trophy winner.

Other valuable resources for Trubisky no doubt will be backup quarterback Chase Daniel and third-stringer Tyler Bray. Both free-agent acquisitions have experience in the new offense.

Daniel had Nagy as his position coach for three seasons with the Chiefs from 2013-15. The career backup knows that he'll have two primary responsibilities this season.

"One is to be able to play well when called upon and two is to help Mitch along," Daniel said after signing with the team. "That's something that I definitely cherish and that I take seriously and that I'm looking forward to."

General manager Ryan Pace, who worked in the Saints personnel department when Daniel was a backup in New Orleans from 2010-12, called the veteran "a quarterback we believe in, but also someone that we feel is going to greatly help Mitch's continued development."

Daniel joins the Bears after spending his first eight NFL seasons with the Saints (2010-12 and 2017), Chiefs (2013-15) and Eagles (2016). He has made just two starts and attempted only 78 passes, completing 51 for 480 yards with one touchdown, one interception and an 81.1 passer rating.

Bray spent his first five NFL seasons working with Nagy as a backup with the Chiefs. Bray has appeared in only one game, failing to complete his only pass attempt last year in Kansas City's season finale. He spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons on injured reserve.