The needle on the Mitch-O-Meter has bounced wildly from one end of the spectrum to the other over the first seven practices of Bears training camp at Olivet Nazarene University.
But as second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky dives deeper into directing coach Matt Nagy’s new offense, the Bears remain steady in their assessment that the mistakes and the triumphs are part of the process.
“As Coach Nagy likes to say, (we like to) test ourselves, see what throws we can make, test the defense and challenge them every day like they’re challenging us,” Trubisky said. “You just have to find that balance and move on to the next play when there is a mistake.”
Trubisky was talking to the media last Friday for the first time since camp began — and after another couple of days of highs and lows.
At one point Friday, Trubisky threw a bull’s-eye to new wide receiver Allen Robinson between defensive backs Bryce Callahan and Eddie Jackson for a touchdown in a red-zone drill. Another moment, his pass was tipped near the line and Deiondre’ Hall picked it off.
On Thursday, he made a pretty pass to connect with leaping tight end Adam Shaheen for a touchdown, but he also threw a pair of interceptions to cornerback Prince Amukamara.
Nagy and Trubisky are keeping perspective, especially given the “tornado” of information Nagy said he’s throwing at his offensive players.
After all, while the Bears may be six days away from their first exhibition game of the summer — when they face the Ravens in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio — they are still 44 days away from the season opener against the Packers in Green Bay.
“I’m always mad when I throw an interception, but at the same time I don’t care what anybody thinks,” Trubisky said. “I know what I have to do. I made a lot of great throws. I made some bad throws, and we’re testing and we’re getting better every day. As long as Coach Nagy is OK with it and he sees my growth and development just getting better every day, and my teammates know that my mind and my spirit is in the right spot, then we’ll be just fine.
“Those mistakes are going to come as long as we learn from them. It’s not a game, so it doesn’t really matter what everybody thinks and what everybody sees. Hopefully (the fans) enjoy practice, but there’s a lot going on that we just need to improve and get better at, and we’re taking care of that.”
Some of the strides Trubisky makes are noticeable to the coaching staff and his teammates more than the crowd. For example, Nagy said Trubisky had three plays Friday where he made protection checks and route adjustments at the line of scrimmage.
“I told him out there, we’re building this puzzle right now, and each day we’re trying to take one piece of the puzzle and put it up there and then before you know it, at the end of this thing, you have that puzzle put together,” Nagy said. “(Friday) was a day where there were two or three pieces that he put together on that puzzle.”
Tight end Trey Burton has liked what he has seen from Trubisky in the huddle thus far.
“I’ve been extremely impressed how long our play calls are, and you haven’t had to see us reset too many times because he’s messed up the play call or anything like that,” Burton said. “I also feel he’s the guy you can go up to and ask a question. He’s the first guy down there congratulating you if you catch a tough ball or a bad throw, he’s the first guy down there leading.”
Nagy said Trubisky’s ability to bounce back after mistakes also has stood out to him, and Trubisky’s band of mentors is helping him to avoid making the same error twice.
The initial assessment might be a few words with backup quarterbacks Chase Daniel or Tyler Bray between plays on the field, but it’s in the ensuing film session when Nagy, the quarterbacks, offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich and quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone dig in to correct the mistake.
“He’s so competitive that he wants to be perfect on every single play,” Nagy said. “It’s impossible. … So that’s my job, to make sure he understands you can’t be perfect every single play and let’s try to be as good as we can and then understand the whys.”
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