LAKE FOREST – A year ago, he was the man who many believed would lead the Bears into a new era of success. After making the Pro Bowl as an alternate in the first year under head coach Matt Nagy and going 12-4, there were high hopes for the team’s franchise quarterback.
Chicago Magazine even had Mitchell Trubisky on their cover before the start of the 2019 season, with a smiley face coffee cup and all.
A year later, things are different. Life comes at you fast in the NFL, and it has for the second-overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Now Trubisky is in a full out battle for the quarterback job he had the last two seasons, and in the process, is trying to preserve his future with the franchise that believed he was the future. Inconsistent play in 2019 forced the Bears’ hand as they traded for Nick Foles to compete with the fourth-year quarterback.
Naturally, the praise that Trubisky had a year ago has now disappeared, replaced with multiple questions on whether he’ll finally be able to live up to his potential. Don’t think the quarterback isn’t listening as he enters training camp in August.
“For me, it’s very motivating. You’re always going to have people writing you off and it’s just got to light a fire underneath you, which it has for me,” said Trubisky. “I’m just trying to prove everybody wrong and prove my teammates right. There’s just so much hard work that goes into it and for people to write you off, it definitely motivates you in a way that you just want to go out there and play as best you possibly can.
“I’m definitely fired up and your got to make it happen.”
It’s a competitive mindset that Trubisky is bringing to a Bears’ camp for the first time in his NFL career. In 2017, Mike Glennon was the anointed starter, but his inconsistency forced the Bears to start him in Week 5, and since then it’s been Trubisky’s job alone.
On top of that, a pandemic has turned the traditional offseason and preseason schedule upside down for 2020. Trubisky never got on the field in OTAs and won’t get a preseason game to show what he can do, putting all the emphasis on practice.
When speaking about that, one word was top of mind for the signal caller as he gets ready to compete with Foles from now till the opener on September 13th.
“Every day I’m just trying to bring that edge and hopefully that edge, that sense of urgency I’m bringing rubs off on the young guys and everyone else to where they’ve got to pick it up and get to my tempo and they’re just out there competing at every single spot – offense vs. defense or wherever it is,” said Trubisky. “I think this acclimation period is going to go a lot faster than a lot of these guys think so everybody better dive into their playbook, be taking care of their bodies, and being smart when you’re away from the facility and taking those precautions with all the testing and stuff going on.
“Me just bringing that edge and having that sense of urgency and bringing it every day is gonna help get these guys going and everyone should feel that sense of urgency.”
Trubisky did during his offseason workouts, going under the tutiledge of well regarded quarterback coach Jeff Christensen. He said it was the first time he’d significantly adjusted his mechanics since he started playing quarterback.
Along with the technical part of the game, Trubisky said his left shoulder is “110 percent” after offseason surgery to repair damage suffered in Week 4 against the Vikings.
“I feel like my motion is better, I feel like I’m more in balance, and the ball is coming out more accurately. I’m confident where I’m at right now and how that work has helped me this offseason. So I’m excited about it,” said Trubisky.
Whether this translates over the next month-and-a-half is to be seen. Should it all come together, and already having built a rapport with his teammates, perhaps he’ll retake his place under center against the Lions on September 13th.
“Every day I show up it’s ‘I have to prove that I’m the No. 1 guy for this team.’ Then its just showing up every day and being prepared and going out and being the best quarterback I can be for this team,” said Trubisky. “That’s my mindset.”
It will stay that way as he hopes to be the quarterback the Bears and their fans thought he would just a year ago.