For the first time in his young NFL career, Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is in the midst of a stable offseason.
As a rookie, he had to learn a new playbook and adjust to the NFL lifestyle. He had to learn another new playbook last season with head coach Matt Nagy taking over the offense. This year, though, he feels confident in understanding the Bears’ system.
“We have a huge head start on the offense, having gone through it for a year,” Trubisky said. “We know exactly what to expect, we know how coach is going to run training camp, how to prepare. I think we’re just ahead of schedule, so it’s just for us, being on top of everything, going through the details and really mastering this offense and just getting everyone in the same page and the same direction.”
The signal-caller, who is a year removed from a 2018 season which saw him become the first Bears quarterback to make the Pro Bowl since Jim McMahon in 1986, made significant improvements in his second season. With another offseason to improve, though, he feels that the best is yet to come.
“I think just overall knowledge helps you play faster as a quarterback,” he explained. “You’re not thinking about your steps, who’s where or where the protection is going. You’re able to just get up there, make the MIKE call, know where everyone is going to be within the route concept and just play football. Instead of thinking, I’m just out there playing, and I feel like I can see a lot of that throughout camp: just taking that next step and getting even better within this offense.”
Coming off of a 12-4 season that saw them win the NFC North for the first time since 2010, the Bears have plenty to be confident about this year. However, last year ended in premature fashion with a loss to the Eagles in the wild card round at home. With the unity they have showed in the locker room, though, they are ready and prepared to succeed heading into the new year.
“We got a lot of guys coming back; I think that’s a huge advantage for us. We’re just going to be super competitive throughout camp and put in the work.
“It’s really easy to work with the guys in the locker room,” he told Windy City Gridiron. “We’re a very focused, hungry group. We know our goals, we know how to come into work every day, and it just makes everything that much more fun.”
Trubisky spoke with the media at the Hyundai Youth Football Camp in Rosemont on Saturday. There, he participated in fundamental football drills with hundreds of campers ranging from between the ages of 7 and 13 years old.
Helping out in the community has played a big role in his past offseasons with the Bears, having attended several youth camps in recent years, including another camp in his hometown of Mentor, Ohio.
“I’m lucky Hyundai asked me to be a part of this camp. I just had my other youth camp back home in Mentor, so I’m just coming from that. It’s the same exact thing that I was doing growing up, looking forward to these camps, looking up to people who taught me the game—the coaches, the players—and just come up here, play the game.
“It’s awesome to get that opportunity to come out here, have fun, be around friends and just play the game of football. I’m just very lucky to be a part of something and give the game back to the kids the same way it was given to me when I was younger.”
With his own training and helping lead youth football camps, Trubisky has had plenty to do this offseason. Among those commitments was the Bears100 Celebration in the beginning of June, where Bears players from the past and present came together in an event that brought in thousands of fans in attendance.
“The number one thing [from that weekend] had to be meeting the legends and everyone who came back...just meeting them and how much they loved playing in Chicago, and just seeing their relationships with their former teammates and how it goes beyond the game of football.
“And number two, it had to be the fans, because there wouldn’t be any of us without them. We wouldn’t be able to play this game without them. We wouldn’t be as popular or famous or however you want to put it without them and their love for this sport and the Chicago Bears. It was cool to see how many people showed up and supported that weekend, and it was awesome to meet all the former players, legends and Hall of Famers. It was really cool.”
While on a panel over that weekend, he was notably given a headband and sunglasses from McMahon, who made the look famous while under center with the Super Bowl-winning Bears team in 1985. Though a light-hearted gesture with some comedic effect, some fans saw it as a passing of the torch, igniting comparisons from this year’s team to the iconic championship squad.
“I don’t know if I’ve heard a lot of the comparisons—I don’t really pay attention to that much,” Trubisky said. “But I think we came up short last year, and we felty like we left a lot on the table. I think that just motivates us more for this year, and we have our goals set ahead of us. We’re a smart group, and we know not to get ahead of ourselves, so we’ve got a lot of work to do in the meantime, and we’re just going to take it one day at a time.
“You’ve got to take advantage of each opportunity, each moment to propel yourself to the direction you want to go, so we’ve got a long way to go. Maybe if we put in the work, we’ll be able to look back at the end of the year and say, ‘we really did it’.”