Bears players and coaches have been emphatic this week that they will not approach Sunday's matchup against the 1-13 Jacksonville Jaguars as if the outcome is a sure thing.
There are no sure things in the NFL. Few players on the team know this better than quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
As Trubisky entered the final year of his rookie contract, the Bears brought in veteran quarterback Nick Foles to compete for the starting job. The flip from being the franchise's quarterback of the future to a quarterback with an unclear future helped Trubisky refocus his efforts.
"I would say I just wanted to control my own destiny," said Trubisky. "I'm controlling what I can control at this point. And I'm just trying to take control of my career and put it in the direction I want it to go."
Since his return to the starting position, Trubisky has been more forceful in advocating for an offense that plays to his strengths. The combination of quick tempo, frequent play-action and a moving pocket has helped Trubisky reassert himself as a legitimate starting quarterback in the NFL.
"Sometimes you gotta be a little more assertive," said Trubisky, "and speak up for what you want to happen, for what you believe in and just go out there and continue to put the team first like I have. Just continue to work hard, try to perfect my craft, get better each and every day, but there's just a little switch that flipped in the beginning where I just had to get that edge a little bit to where I gotta take control of my own destiny at this point."
Trubisky never lost his strong rapport with receiver Allen Robinson II. Robinson has recorded 29 receptions for 355 yards and three touchdowns in the past four games. However, Robinson is reluctant to speak to how the quarterback has changed since Week 3 when Trubisky was pulled in favor of Foles.
"As far as his confidence, you'll have to ask him," said Robinson, "but I think just from being his teammate, he's playing extremely well. Like I said before, he's making a lot of throws, he's keeping us ahead of the chains, we're getting first downs on first down, we're creating explosives."
The season has seen the relationship between Trubisky and coach Matt Nagy evolve. Nagy gave up play-calling duties in Week 9 but has maintained an active hand in the offense that has posted its best three-week output since the 2018 season.
"When it's all said and done, for me, it's taught me a lot in a lot of different ways," said Nagy. "I'm sure it's taught [Trubisky] a lot. I'm sure it's taught our coaches a lot—everybody that's been a part of this. We can all use this as a learning lesson as you go through times like this, good and bad, on how to stay even-keeled but yet you can use it and turn it into a positive and help your teammates, which inevitably helps yourself and helps your team."
Nagy gives particular praise to the way Trubisky handled himself after losing his starting job. He credits the fourth-year quarterback for turning inward and fixing what he could control.
"That's probably one of the biggest things in this whole story is him being able to stay positive through a negative situation," said Nagy. "He really has taken it on. He's put it completely on himself. There's no other distractions with him right now. He's just making sure that he does everything he can to keep plugging away."
Trubisky believes that the Bears' quick pace has helped the team build momentum on offense and establish an offensive identity.
"I would say it is a combination of focus and excitement," said Trubisky. "Guys are excited to be on the field, we're excited to have the football, and there's just a strong, quiet confidence about us that all 11 guys in the huddle are going to get the job done. We just have a lot of trust that we can go down, move the ball and score and create points for this offense right now."