LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy and Mitchell Trubisky met privately on Tuesday morning to discuss the state of the offense and the performance of the 24-year-old quarterback after more than three weeks at training camp.
The question on everyone’s mind: Is Trubisky ready to take a giant leap in Year 2 of the offense?
That’s hard to answer with three preseason games left, but both parties left Tuesday’s meeting satisfied with the results to date.
“Let me tell you something: We’re in a phenomenal spot right now,” Nagy said after Tuesday’s practice. “I love where we’re at. Not one thing has changed with our offense in general. I feel really good. It’s fun testing it out, what we’re doing right now.”
Trubisky offered his take.
“He just was talking about where we’re at right now with the offense, how I’m doing, just checking in, being on the same page, speaking the same terminology and just keep progressing and keep getting better and keep getting on the same page,” the signal-caller said. “We’re going to continue to have those meetings and those conversations and stay on the same page. And he lets me know where I’m at and where we want to go and how we want to build this offense into what we want it to be.”
Nagy and Trubisky might be on the same page, but of the team’s three phases, the offense is the toughest to predict.
Chicago’s defense will likely again be among the league’s best after leading the NFL in 13 statistical categories last season. The arrival of coordinator Chuck Pagano to replace Vic Fangio is a storyline, but no one expects the Bears’ defense to fall off the cliff under Pagano.
On the other end of the spectrum, expectations (outside of Halas Hall) for special teams are understandably low, since the Bears have yet to settle on a kicker.
On offense is where it gets real interesting.
Nagy is the reigning NFL Coach of the Year, partly because he is an effective and creative playcaller. But Chicago ranked 21st in total yards, 11th in rushing yards, 21st in passing yards and ninth in points scored in 2018.
There’s certainly room for growth on offense, and specifically with Trubisky, who passed for a respectable 3,223 yards, 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in Year 1 with Nagy. The quarterback believes he is just scratching the surface as far as potential is concerned.
“We’re still progressing,” Trubisky said. “Getting better every day. I think we threw a lot at myself and the offense throughout training camp and whether it’s adding more new stuff or pulling back a little bit and keeping it simple, allowing the offense to play fast, allowing me to play fast and he just wants me to go out there and be the point guard. Distribute the ball to our playmakers and that’s really all I’ve got to do within this offense.”
Nagy is cautious with preseason playing time. Trubisky handed the ball off three times in one series of work in Chicago’s exhibition opener against the Carolina Panthers. Nagy said afterward that he would be OK if Trubisky did not attempt a single pass in any of the remaining three preseason contests.
So, Trubisky’s improvement between now and the regular-season opener on Sept. 5 against the Green Bay Packers likely will have to come on the practice field, where the defense has enjoyed a decided advantage since camp opened on July 26.
“We’re definitely getting challenged enough,” Trubisky said. “That’s not even a question, just going against our defense every day. It is what it is. I always want to play in the preseason. I just think it’s football to me. But even though it doesn’t count, you want to go out there and get the reps.
“But it’s not up to me, and I definitely believe in the big picture and whatever coach believes in. Whether he wants me to go out there and do a couple handoffs and come out, I support that. Or whether he wants me to go out there and throw 50 times in a preseason — that’s not going to happen, but I’d support that, as well. We trusted the process last year going through the preseason, and I think it worked out for us; and I feel really comfortable with where I’m at in the offense, and we’re getting challenged every day going against our defense.”