Sunday, June 17, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mitch Trubisky impresses in Bears rookie minicamp debut

Give credit to John Fox. It's rookie camp. The Bears' next game is four months away. But his sarcastic wit Friday was in regular-season form.

Moments after quarterback Mitch Trubisky finished his first pro practice, the first session of the Bears' three-day camp, Fox faced the two dozen reporters that came to Halas Hall to see the future.

What, Fox was asked, did he see from Trubisky on Day 1 that established he was worthy of the No. 2 draft pick, of eventually being the face of the franchise?

Fox's answer had the zip of a Trubisky fastball.

"I don't know that we're really quite ready after one practice to define his career," he said.

Fair enough. For a Bears fan base low on patience after watching this regime win only nine of its first 32 games, Fox's quip was an important reminder that no answers will be realized this weekend. Nothing about drafting Trubisky equates to instant gratification.

That said, even Fox acknowledged the positive step Trubisky took starting a process the Bears believe will eventually lift them from the bottom of the NFL.

"He's very accurate, very smart, he's got good football character, as far as transferring things from the meeting room to the field," Fox said. "And I think we saw that today."

Trubisky at least looked the part of a talented quarterback prospect as he took the bulk of practice reps. Throwing to a group of receivers composed of nine tryout players, three college free agents and second-round tight end Adam Shaheen, his passes generally were accurate and on time.

Trubisky took most of his reps from under center, which is an important component of his NFL transition after playing almost exclusively in the shotgun at North Carolina.

"I came out here, had a lot of fun," Trubisky said. "Just getting with the new centers, getting that rhythm, getting that timing and chemistry. It's all about getting better every day."

Accuracy is one of Trubisky's traits that Bears staffers continue to tout above others, and it was easy to see why in Friday's non-contact practice. He consistently located throws in position for receivers to gain yards after the catch.

Trubisky threw an interception late in practice when a receiver broke the wrong way on his route. One of his best throws during team drills was a 15-yard strike to a sliding receiver near the sideline as he rolled to his right.

Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains encouraged Trubisky at times to communicate louder and keep a fast tempo in and out of the huddle.

"You get to teach these guys what an NFL practice looks like, the urgency that we're looking for before they get with the vets next week," Loggains said.

"We need Mitch to understand that he's a leader, (that) he's got full command out there on the field. He needs to feel our expectations for him as a quarterback and as a player."

Trubisky wanted to meet those on Day 1 by showing up with a working knowledge of the offense.

In the two weeks between when he was drafted and Friday, he put himself through a crash course in the playbook that he picked up April 28 on his first tour of Halas Hall. He prefers to study using flashcards.

"That works for me for formations and stuff like that," he said. "Pairing things together because, I mean, there's a reason why within the playbook and why we do things, and it matches up. It's been going smooth."

Another part of Trubisky's transition that went smoothly? His drive to from North Carolina to his hometown of Mentor, Ohio, and then to Lake Forest in his beige 1997 Toyota Camry.

Although general manager Ryan Pace described it as a jalopy, the car looked more than serviceable in pictures published by the Bears. It at least had more hubcaps than advertised. Trubisky corrected the mileage on it. He previously said 170,000, but it's actually 40,000 fewer.

"We're in better shape than I thought," he quipped.

So, yes, Trubisky has put the starting line behind him. And he understands what he must do to conquer the immediate road ahead.

"It's all about controlling the huddle one play at a time and knowing my assignment, knowing my progression and where I've got to go with the ball," he said. "It's my job to run the offense and make sure everything goes smoothly."

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