Maybe it’s a lot of pressure for a 23-year-old, but the 2018 Bears have made no secret that they’re all in on quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
“It’s going to be good for him to kind of take the reins,” general manager Ryan Pace said at the scouting combine. “This is his team as he goes forward.”
And that’s fine with Trubisky, who seems much more ready for the responsibility than someone who has started only 25 football games since high school – 12 last year as a rookie and 13 in his final season at North Carolina.
“It’s really no pressure except the pressure I put on myself, and just the goals that I have in mind for myself and this team this year,” Trubisky told Bears All Access on WSCR AM-670 Tuesday night. “I love the responsibility. I think that’s been earned through hard work and dedication and showing my teammates what I’m capable of.”
Trubisky was speaking from California, where he’s been training before the Bears’ offseason program begins in early April. Despite his Instagram pictures of sunsets and beaches, last year’s second overall draft pick said he’s on a mission to fulfill the faith the Bears have bestowed upon him.
“I have to let my teammates know that I’m on top of everything going into Year 2, and I’m just very excited for it,” said Trubisky, who posted a 77.5 passer rating in last year’s conservative offense, throwing seven touchdown passes and seven interceptions. “Now I can work on more specific things for myself, what I need to improve on as far as my weaknesses go.
“Just getting better with movements in the pocket, being more efficient as a thrower, always being in balance so I can continue to be consistent. I’m working on those types of things, as well as taking care of my body, becoming a more explosive athlete, just becoming more durable in the pocket.”
With the Bears’ hiring of coach Matt Nagy, Trubisky will have to learn his third offense in as many years, but he’s looking forward to the challenge. It’s just another opportunity for him to lead.
“Just trying to learn this new playbook as soon as we get it and just owning it,” he said. “I have to master this playbook and this new offense that’s coming in along with this new coaching staff. I can get all my guys on the same page, and we can come out of the gate really rolling this year. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
Trubisky’s West Coast roommate is Rams quarterback Jared Goff, whose meteoric second-year ascension the Bears quarterback would like to emulate this year. Goff was unimpressive as a rookie in 2016, throwing five touchdowns and seven interceptions in seven late-season starts with a passer rating of 63.6. But under new coach Sean McVay, and with some upgraded weapons, Goff was spectacular last year, throwing 28 TD passes, only seven picks and leading the Rams to an 11-4 record in his 15 starts with a 100.5 passer rating.
“We have the same agents,” Trubisky said, “and we just got connected out here. I thought it’d be a good idea, while we’re both training together in the same area to room together. We’re good friends, and it’s been nice to pick his brain. I think that’s helped me a lot, and it’s just good to be around a guy who’s been through the same stuff that I’m going through now.”
Trubisky also has hosted some of his Bears teammates, including offensive linemen Kyle Long and Cody Whitehair, plus wide receiver Kevin White and practice squad receivers Demarcus Ayers and Nelson Spruce. Trubisky has been especially impressed with White, who is hoping to finally make his mark after three seasons lost to injuries. Trubisky said he’s expecting big things this year from the 6-foot-3, 220-pound receiver.
“He’s working really hard to get back, and I have a lot of faith in what he’s going to be able to bring to the table this year,” Trubisky said of the seventh overall pick in the 2015 draft. “He’s looking good while we’re throwing together out here, and we’ll continue to put in that work. I know he’s busting his tail to really do big things this year.”