Bears coach Matt Nagy has sung the praises of QB Mitch Trubisky countless times, but Wednesday marked a first. Sure, the head coach has broken down his quarterback’s conviction throws, but conviction chugs? We’re pretty sure that’s a new one.
“Mitch is pretty good at it. And Kyle [Long] is even better. That was impressive," Nagy said. "Mitch did a good job. He’s obviously at the age where he can do that, but the chugging, not to promote it, but I was proud of him. He aced the test.”
The “test,” for our readers not on social media, is really more a taunt of Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, who infamously failed to chug his beer after being challenged by LT David Bakhtiari at a recent Milwaukee Bucks playoff game. Rodgers’ chug-time shortcomings made him an easy mark for other quarterbacks around the league, including Matthew Stafford, Patrick Mahomes, and, this past weekend, Trubisky and his offensive linemen.
After throwing out the first pitch at the White Sox game, Trubisky and Long were shown on the Guaranteed Rate Field scoreboard casually downing beers (or Beer downing!), with Trubisky even tossing his empty cup over his shoulder. (We told you last week his confidence is growing, no?)
Nagy pleaded the fifth when asked whether he shares his quarterback’s chugging talent before revealing he’s a Stella Artois guy. But Long only reasserted his dominance on the subject.
“I was pretty pissed about the [size of the cups],” the right guard quipped. “Had to put a couple of those little boys down.”
Indeed, it’s a relatively fun and loose time around the NFL, but Nagy turned a bit more serious when discussing his team’s growing unity — of which there are far more examples than Saturday’s shenanigans. Long’s willingness to take a pay cut to ensure his return this year is one example, and he and his teammates continued willingness to work at a time of the year when it’s not mandatory is another.
“The other day the number was thrown out, 98 percent,” Nagy said of the team’s attendance at the first of three open OTAs. “That was just that one day. We have 100 percent attendance right now. That bothered me that it was [reported as] 98 percent. It was 100 percent. That’s who our guys are. Complacency was the word that we started the first day of camp with — we’re not going to have complacency and we haven’t seen that yet.”
The Bears say complacency hasn’t set in, but attrition is a constant in the NFL. Nagy revealed Wednesday that rookie WR Emanuel Hall, arguably the headliner of what’s widely considered a rich crop of undrafted free agents, recently underwent sports hernia surgery — the reason he hasn’t participated in the offseason program.
“Emanuel had the same procedure done, or I should say very similar, to what Trey Burton had. So, he had some issues coming out of college, of Missouri, and so we just said, you know what, let’s see where he’s at when he got here and just started nagging him a little bit and we said let’s go in and just get it all fixed so when you get back here for training camp, we’re ready to go," Nagy said. "So that’s where that’s at.”
The former SEC standout averaged 22.4 yards per reception and led the nation in big-play rate (43 percent) last season, but he also missed time with a nagging groin injury, in addition to other soft-tissue issues, leading to Day 2 talent falling to the undrafted ranks.
“He’s the fastest player in the SEC. He dominated games when he played. That’s potential,” WR coach Mike Furrey said last week of Hall.
Now we know the process for Hall of attempting to parlay his potential into a spot at perhaps the Bears’ deepest position has been delayed.
Hall wasn’t the only nonparticipant at Wednesday’s practice. All Pro S Eddie Jackson sat out after having his heel stepped on Tuesday. But Nagy said the practice, albeit a bit sloppy with an increase in divisional preparation, was another signal of the Bears’ eagerness to build on last year’s 12-4 NFC North championship season.
“I have to tell them to pull back a little bit because they’re going to so hard, rather than telling them to pick it up and that’s just who guys are that we have so they understand that,” he said. “But we’re rocking and rolling right now. We’re in a good spot. I think we’re slowly getting to that point to where they’re ready to put the pads [on] and get to camp.”