LAKE FOREST — Before the Bears hit the Halas Hall practice fields for the first time in training camp Tuesday, Matt Nagy and Mitch Trubisky met in the head coach’s office, where both men shared their impressions of the offense’s performance over the 12 camp practices in Bourbonnais.Depending on which outlets readers get their camp analysis from, it might seem more like Trubisky was being called into the principal’s office, with the quarterback having struggled a bit with his consistency, accuracy and ball security and the offense losing a lot more battles than it won, albeit vs. the NFL’s premier ‘D.’
But Nagy said Tuesday that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“Let me tell you something: we’re in a phenomenal spot right now,” he said. “I love where we’re at. Not one thing has changed with our offense, in general. I feel really good. It’s fun testing it out, what we’re doing right now.”
Still, after the meeting of the minds, it’s tough to say Trubisky’s performance changed much. He was intercepted early Tuesday in the first team drill, ending in a quick three-and-out, and again intermixed dimes — like an over-the-middle dart in stride to Tarik Cohen — with some errant throws.
But Trubisky has been nothing if not consistent in his message to the media regarding how he’s attacking the process leading up to a season tailor-made for finding out exactly what kind of quarterback he can become in Year 3.
“It’s good. We’re still progressing. Getting better every day,” he said. “I think we threw a lot at myself and the offense throughout training camp, and whether it’s adding more new stuff or pulling back a little bit and keeping it simple, allowing the offense to play fast, allowing me to play fast, and [Nagy] just wants me to go out there and be the point guard. Distribute the ball to our playmakers, and that’s really all I’ve got to do within this offense.”
The part about scaling back and simplifying, which Nagy first mentioned Sunday before the Bears broke camp, raised a recent hullabaloo for a few national media members who perceived it as a red flag regarding the offense’s progress (or lack thereof). Nagy said the Bears were at a point, “where we’re searching for plays to install at night and that’s usually not good. That means that you’re not running plays that [are part of] your core concept, so let’s get back to just playing fast and we’ll figure out what we like and what we don’t like.”
The fact is it’s still too soon to know whether Trubisky and the offense’s tepid start is cause for concern. Trubisky, who tended to play his best outside of the structure of plays last season, might benefit not only from seeing a different defense but an actual live pass rush, requiring him to lean more on his athleticism and improvisational playmaking. And although the quarterback said on report day that he and the Bears were placing a much greater emphasis on ball security this summer, it’s still possible that his issues stem from continuing to push the envelope in practice and he’ll know when to dial it back in games.
Of course, Trubisky could also fail to take another step commensurate with the large leap he took last season, when he went 11-4, was named a Pro Bowl alternate and markedly improved his individual numbers across the board. What’s not debatable is that waiting for Sept. 5, when the dimes and misfires actually count, is the hardest part.
“Everyone’s counting down, but we got to take it day by day, continue to get better, focus on the little things,” Trubisky said. “… So even though we’re repping plays right now that might not be in for Week 1, or maybe they will, we got to make sure we’re treating every single snap like it’s gameday, coming out here, competing, pushing each other, taking care of our bodies and just making sure everyone’s locked in. Because everybody wants to look ahead, but we got to just continue to take care of the task at hand.”
Whether Trubisky has improved each day, and whether he’s taking care of the little things, clearly depends on who you ask.
But the perpetually positive Nagy, even if seemingly treading a bit more lightly, maintains his quarterback and offense are heading in the right direction.
“Right now we’re both really happy, we’re excited and I think I’m cautiously optimistic about our offense in general.”