Speaking to the media Friday for the first time this offseason, Mitchell Trubisky discussed his competition for the Bears’ starting quarterback position with Nick Foles, the determination to rebound from a disappointing 2019 season and more.
Trubisky wasn’t surprised when the Bears traded a compensatory fourth-round draft pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for Foles in mid-March. Not after general manager Ryan Pace had revealed a few weeks earlier at the NFL Combine that he planned to acquire a quarterback to create competition at the position.
“It was kind of interesting to me, but that’s the business that we’re in,” Trubisky said during a video call with the media. “I think I was kind of pissed off, in a good way. I’ve been motivated ever since. I’ve been motivated since our season ended last year. I didn’t feel like it went the way we wanted to, and we left a lot out there. But I’m excited for this year. I think it’s going to be a good competition.
“Foles has had a crazy career as well, so it’s been cool having him in our room talking ball. I know we’re going to push each other. But I still feel like this is my team and I’m excited for the competition and to just get back on the field with my guys and show everybody what I can still do and how hard I’ve been working this offseason to help the Bears win games this year. It’s been interesting. But again, it’s a business decision and I’m all for the Bears getting better and helping us win games.”
Trubisky said that he’s had good conversations with coach Matt Nagy and is eager to begin battling for the starting job. With the Bears conducting their entire offseason program on a virtual basis, the competition won’t truly begin until the team returns to the practice field at Halas Hall—presumably in late July for the start of training camp.
“I’m going to handle it the way I know how, and that’s just show everybody who I am,” Trubisky said. “Go out there and compete. Be myself. Be the competitive person I am and prove to my teammates and to coach Nagy that I deserve to be the starter on this team and that I still am a leader of this team and I give us the best chance to go out there and win games.
“I’m very confident where I’m at right now and what I can still do for this team, and me and coach have had great conversations about how we can just fix the problems of what happened last year and how we can get better for this year. It’s been all positive conversation. Coach Nagy and I are both competitive people and we just want to win games and do what’s best for this team. So there has been great conversations and we’re just trying to find solutions of how we can get better and how we can all get on the same page to make our offense be a lot better than it was last year.
“I’m going to play my heart and soul out for this team and give it everything I’ve got.”
Selected by the Bears with the second pick in the 2017 draft, Trubisky played in the Pro Bowl following the 2018 season after helping lead the team to the NFC North championship with a 12-4 record. The North Carolina product passed for 3,223 yards with 24 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a 95.4 rating and also rushed for 421 yards and three TDs.
Last season Trubisky threw for 3,138 yards with 17 TDs, 10 interceptions and an 83.0 rating and also rushed for 193 yards and two TDs. Asked what he felt led to the offense regressing across the board in 2019, the Bears quarterback identified “health and then lack of details” as two major issues.
“We’ve just got to be more detailed,” Trubisky said. “We’ve got to be more locked into our game plans week-in, week-out. Everybody’s got to be on the same page and when we get to Sunday, it’s got to all be about execution. I felt like we lacked details overall on offense, myself included. If we’re on top of those this year and we just hold each other accountable to the standard we know we’re capable of, then we’ll have a lot more success and win more games.
“We definitely have the talent. I think it just comes down to being disciplined, playing smart football and everybody doing their jobs to perfection. Those are two of the main focuses that I came away with looking at last year.”
Trubisky’s main focus this offseason was—as Nagy stated during his post-season press conference—becoming a master at understanding coverages. Trubisky described the process as “just going back and watching every single snap during the last two seasons in this offense, and seeing the mistakes and what coverage it actually was versus what I was seeing on the field, and where coach Nagy thought the ball should have went and where it actually went. Just fixing my mistakes in the film study and doing different visualization and communication things with coach to get us on the same page. Just watching a lot of film, correcting my mistakes and [gaining] a better understanding of the offense.”
“He challenged me in that and I fully accepted it as well as knowing the offense really, really well,” Trubisky said. “I’m just watching a lot of film and studying it like the back of my hand. I’m excited to be a lot better in that area this year.
Trubisky is determined to help the Bears rebound from their disappointing 2019 season.
“What motivates me now is coming back off of last year and getting this team back to the playoffs, having a better record than 8-8 and playing to the potential that I know myself and the rest of my teammates can play at,” Trubisky said. “So, [I’m] just very motivated and eager to continue to work and get ready for training camp right now.
“I just feel like I’m in a good mental space right now. I’m very driven and motivated to do a lot more than I did last year, to push myself in ways I haven’t pushed myself before, in the film room, knowledge of the offense, mechanics and footwork, and holding myself to a whole new level so I can play at a different level, so I cannot make mistakes and play the way that I believe I’m capable of playing.”
Trubisky believes that he may have an edge in the competition with COVID-19 wiping out OTAs and minicamp and, reportedly, possibly also shortening the preseason. But the fourth-year pro understands that it ultimately will depend on what transpires on the field.
“I think because it’s a small sample size, I think that advantage goes to me just because I’ve been the starter here the last two years, these are my guys, my teammates and guys I’ve built super strong relationships over the last two years,” Trubisky said. “But at the end of the day, it comes down to on-field performance. I think we both know that. The coaches know that and our teammates know that.
“When it comes down to getting on the field in training camp and competing against our defense, we just want to go out there and be a better offense. I’ve just got to make sure the offense is better when I’m on the field, doing my job the best I possibly can and make sure I’m giving the Chicago Bears a great chance to win heading into the season. Whatever the sample size is, the on-field performance in practices, preseason games, whatever capacity that is, I think will determine it. But I’m excited for the process and I know it will be a good, healthy competition with all the guys in our room and we’re just going to push each other and make our team better.”