BOURBONNAIS – Others players might be wearing Ray-Bans, Maui Jims or Oakleys, but Bears QB Mitch Trubisky has blinders on as he heads into his second training camp, and his first as the starter.
Trubisky’s tunnel vision is a good sign because he’s blocking out all outside distractions so as to have a laser-like focus on his job as the Bears’ franchise quarterback. He’s sworn off any social media interaction. He avoids reading or watching anything about himself or his team. And he’s grown weary of comparisons to young QBs like the Eagles’ Carson Wentz and the Rams’ Jared Goff, who took monumental strides in 2017, their second seasons in the league.
“I’m tired of it all,” Trubisky said when asked the Wentz-Goff questions had grown tedious. “I’m tired of everything. I’m tired of all the doubts, all the comparisons. I don’t really pay attention to that. I’m tired of waiting. I’m just excited camp is here, and we’ll see what we can do for Year Two. So all of that stuff, I can’t control none of that. All I can do is control my attitude and my effort and go out there and play the game the way I know how.”
Matt Nagy’s success as the Bears’ new coach depends on how well Trubisky plays the game, and the former QB coach and offensive coordinator believes he’s got a keeper in the 2017 second overall draft pick, who turns 24 next month.
“He’s very focused; very driven,” Nagy said. “Those are generic terms, but the kid genuinely cares about the game of football and his position. He wants to be the greatest teammate on this team, and he knows that if he does that, he’ll make guys around him better.”
Trubisky showed up at Olivet Nazarene University on Monday, even though veterans weren’t due until Thursday, a day before the first practice. When he spoke to the media, Trubisky was all business. He emphasized the difference between now and last year, when the plan was for him to sit for a year behind Mike Glennon. That plan lasted four weeks.
“I feel a lot more comfortable,” Trubisky said. “I know my role. I know exactly what I need to do. I know the offense. I can just go out there and be myself. I know everybody on the team. I’ve earned their respect and trust, and I’ll continue to do so through my work ethic and how much I care about this team and this game. I’m just excited about this season and the opportunity we have in front of us. Definitely not going to take a single day for granted.”
That mean tuning out the social-media negativity he found off-putting and distracting, saying he was going "zero dark 10" to avoid social media, a combination-reference to the film "Zero Dark Thirty" and his jersey number, 10.
“I’m trying to put all my focus and energy into this game,” Trubisky said. “Whatever anyone else says on the outside, whether it be positive or negative, or hype, or just trying to tear me down, it really doesn’t matter to me. I know who I am. I know what kind of player I can be, so that’s really what I’m looking forward to prove to myself and my team.”
The next phase in Trubisky’s development begins in earnest during a training camp extended by a week because of the Bears’ participation in the preseason-opening Hall of Fame game Aug. 2. By reporting early, he got a jumpstart by throwing to rookies and a few veterans. Nagy noticed improvement from the offseason program, but as quickly as Trubisky becomes proficient in one aspect of the offense, more will be added to his plate.
“You can just see what a big step from the end of OTAs until (he was) out here with some of the rookies, just playing fast, not thinking,” Nagy said. “Calling plays now is easy. That will get a little more challenging as we go in camp. We were level 101 early on; we're slowly getting to (level) 202 with him, and it's just going to continue to grow.”
How quickly Trubisky grows in Nagy’s offense will go a long way toward determining how quickly the Bears make it back to respectability.