LAKE FOREST – Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is expected to miss Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders in London, and backup Chase Daniel will likely start in his place.
Bears coach Matt Nagy all but confirmed the switch Wednesday at Halas Hall.
“He’s going to end up most likely missing this game, but he’ll be on a day to day basis for us because we have the bye coming up here,” Nagy said of Trubisky. “We’ll have to see really how this goes for him and where we stand.”
The Bears have their bye week following the Week 5 game against Oakland at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. Nagy confirmed that Trubisky will travel with the team to London.
Trubisky injured his left shoulder – his non-throwing shoulder – on the first possession of last week’s win over Minnesota. He did not return to the game and later stood on the sideline wearing a sling.
The Bears have not specifically identified the injury, though ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Trubisky suffered a dislocated shoulder and a slight labrum tear, but does not need surgery.
Daniel played quarterback in relief of Trubisky against the Vikings, leading the Bears to a touchdown on the opening drive following Trubisky’s injury. Daniel completed 22 of 30 passes for 195 yards and one touchdown.
Daniel said “nothing” changes for him this week preparing with the first-string offense.
“You get more reps,” Daniel said. “You actually get some live reps. For me, I’ve said it before, I prepare every week like I’m the starter, regardless of any circumstances. I think that’s why we were able to come in and move the ball a little bit on offense.”
The Bears have been through this before.
Last year, Trubisky missed two games after suffering a right shoulder injury in Week 11 (oddly enough also against the Vikings). Daniel started the next two games and the Bears went 1-1 in those contests.
Daniel, 32, is in his 10th year in the league. He backed up Alex Smith in Kansas City when Nagy was a Chiefs assistant coach. He has also been the backup to Carson Wentz in Philadelphia and Drew Brees in New Orleans.
He knows Nagy’s offense inside and out.
“Leadership within the huddle before the play happens,” Nagy said when asked of Daniel’s strengths. “Directing people. Telling them where to go, how to get there. And then the anticipatory throws, knowing this guy is going to be open because of this defense and being able to throw the ball on time.”
Trubisky was previously scheduled to meet with the media Wednesday but did not. His shoulder injury occurred when the Vikings’ Danielle Hunter chased him down outside the pocket. As Hunter tackled Trubisky, the quarterback rolled awkwardly onto his outstretched arm.
Nagy said Trubisky will be involved and communicating from the sideline against Oakland.
“I remember last year when we went through this in Detroit, I remember him standing next to me after the first couple series saying, ‘Man, this is different,’” Nagy said. “And it hit him how unique it is. So for him, it’s probably more so of the in-game adjustments, the communication, seeing things from the sideline like we do as coaches, not from behind the center.”
Daniel said Trubisky has remained involved in practice and in the quarterback room.
“He’s drawing up plays left and right, so he’s fully into it," Daniel said.
The timing seems to work in the Bears’ favor that the bye week is coming up. The hope is that if Daniel could lead the Bears to a win over the Vikings, he should be able to do so against the 2-2 Raiders and give Trubisky a two-week window to recover.
A big-time NFC matchup against the New Orleans Saints looms a week later on Oct. 20 at Soldier Field. The Saints are without quarterback Drew Brees due to a thumb injury.
“We’re in a good position right now knowing that Chase came in last week and we’ve been in this [position] before,” Nagy said.