How serious is Bears QB Mitch Trubisky on improving in every little area in order to make a big jump in his development in Year 3?Asked for an example on report day Thursday of the little things on which he’s concentrating, Trubisky first cited keeping a neat locker space and tidy dorm room in Bourbonnais. We’re fairly certain that when Ryan Pace praised Trubisky’s parents and upbringing Sunday in Decatur, it wasn’t because of their son’s cleanliness.
Yet when asked a few hours later on “Bears All-Access” on 670 THE SCORE about his final drive last season — facing a one-point deficit in the closing seconds of the wild-card round and hitting Allen Robinson twice, including on a gorgeous corner route to position Cody Parkey for the infamous “double-doink” — the 24-year-old called it “great” but conceded the offense squandered too many earlier chances, essentially putting their own backs against the wall.
That’s what a franchise quarterback should say, and the expectation inside Halas Hall is that Trubisky this season will remove any doubts regarding his standing as just that.
“I think if you just focus on the little things, then the big leaps will take care of themselves,” Trubisky said at his camp-opening press conference. “Obviously, we all want to have big years, but it doesn’t happen like that. We got to come to work every day. You got to focus on getting better at one thing at a time, every single drill, every single snap and that’s what I am focused on and the results will happen how they will.”
Ah yes, Trubisky did reference actual on-field areas of focus, beginning with “huddle efficiency,” allowing him to get to the line quicker and utilize the improved ability to set protections and read defenses we heard about all offseason. Trubisky also said that “taking care of the football will be more of an emphasis this camp,” after Matt Nagy encouraged him often to let it rip last summer and take chances he wouldn’t necessarily take in games because it was level 101 of his crash course in a new offense.
But it’s the quote about the little things that made a big impression with us. Not because he’s the first or last quarterback to utter what’s, frankly, a bit of a cliché in football. It’s because Trubisky, coming off a season where his improvements were stark but so were the areas where plenty of room for growth remains, seemingly isn’t allowing himself to get caught up in the big-picture hysteria surrounding these Bears and whether he’s the guy to lead them to the promised land.
And Trubisky’s absolutely right about his playoff debut, in which he easily could’ve thrown three interceptions in the first three quarters, when the Bears totaled nine first downs and were forced to settle for two Parkey field goals, compared to six and 11 points (not counting of course the whiff at the buzzer) in the final 15 minutes.
Trubisky, just as Pace said Sunday, explained that the theme for his season and really career to this point is showing “incremental improvement.” There’s no question he’s done that. And there’s obviously no question he’s receiving the message being laid out by Nagy and Pace.
Soon we’ll learn whether this mature approach leads to answering the bigger question — can Trubisky consistently be the reason the Bears win, not the benefactor of a winning defense.
“I know I haven’t played my best football yet,” he said. “That’s kind of my mind-set. Just keep getting better but I have also seen the progress as well. It’s just, learning as much as I possibly can. I don’t think I’ve tapped into the talent I have and what I can do and what I can show out on the field, and it’s just putting it all together, really. The flashy plays that I have made, and the mistakes I have made, just getting rid of those and continuing to make those good plays and just being a more consistent, overall quarterback.
“But I think just doing the little things, like working hard, being a great teammate and taking care of your brothers is what is going to help me in the long run and just how I have earned my teammates’ trust, how they respect me as a leader and I can bring people together and get all these guys moving in the same direction so we can reach our goals. And it’s not really about what I can do individually, it’s about what we can accomplish as a team. I think a lot of that is what I bring to the table, how I can lead these guys and how I could help us win games.”