Bears QB Trubisky His Own Harshest Critic

Mitchell Trubisky was tough on himself after the loss to the Packers.

Chris Emma
September 13, 2018 - 3:22 pm
Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky

Jeff Hanisch/USA Today Sports

Categories: 

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- Bears fullback Michael Burton sees the determination of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky every day. Really, he lives it.

Such is life for Burton, who resides in a house with Trubisky and realizes his drive to be great. They're constantly talking football, whether it's at the team facility or in their own living room. Trubisky is a perfectionist who never shuts off during the season.

"His work ethic and his diligence of how great he wants to be is unmatched," Burton said of Trubisky. "That's what makes him so special.

"He enjoys just breathing and living football. It's something he was born with and he loves it. He's always hungry, he's never complacent."

Burton certainly saw the drive of Trubisky after a gut-wrenching loss to the Packers on Sunday night at Lambeau Field. The Bears squandered a 20-0 lead, and Trubisky was hard on himself in the aftermath.

Behind Khalil Mack's arrival with the Bears

Before the Bears' bus even departed from the stadium, Trubisky approached coach Matt Nagy and asked how he could improve from this. Nagy predicted that Trubisky would be the first player at Halas Hall that next Monday morning, and he was there bright and early. 

Trubisky wanted to identify why he had "happy feet" in the second half or how he missed reads that should've been recognized through his progressions. What really sat with Trubisky was his thought process taking the field with a two-minute drill and his team down by a point -- the moments that make the great quarterbacks.

"I wish I would've had a little bit of a different mindset going into that," Trubisky said. "I was thinking, try to make a big play, like win the game right here. And it should have been for me personally I think just like stat completions, get one more completion, one more first down. And then when you get that first down, just another first down.

"I should've had more of a completion mindset instead of trying to do too much. It comes from me. I just got to stay within myself, stay within the offense, find completions and move into the two-minute drill. It was a great learning experience. I don't think you'll ever get that exact situation in practice with the noise, the stage, all of that. It was a great learning opportunity for me. 

"I'm itching for the next two-minute drill in practice in the next game, whenever, to prove myself when I get that opportunity again."

Losses eat away at competitors, especially in an NFL in which you're only given 16 games. Trubisky admitted he violated the 24-hour rule and gave himself an extra day to lick his wounds from the Packers before turning the page to the Seahawks on Monday. After all, there was plenty to take away from this game.

The Bears scored just three points in the second half, with drives stalling and Trubisky wanting several plays back. Nagy said had a similar refrain Monday as he reflected on the game. They wished for another opportunity with the Packers on the ropes, but the loss is already in the books.

Instead, Trubisky went back to work starting Monday morning -- just hours after arriving home from Green Bay -- and began evaluating himself. He wanted to know why the Bears couldn't drive to the end zone when the game was on the line and found himself blaming rushed progressions and poor decisions that led to punts.

Among the plays Trubisky was left to regret was the final snap of the first quarter, a third-and-goal from three yards out. Trubisky dropped back and didn't fire to tight end Trey Burton wide open over the middle in the end zone. He instead hesitated, went through the progressions and threw to receiver Taylor Gabriel on the side for a five-yard loss. 

The Bears left points on Lambeau Field, and that was a prime example of how three points could've gone for six -- and avoided the heartbreaking loss for Chicago. The play spread throughout social media with just the still shot leaving Trubisky on an island. 

"Trey on that play is one of the options, but he’s later on in the progression," Nagy said. "That’s not Mitch’s fault for seeing that."

Trubisky was a bit more candid about the play -- and the screenshot that created an unfair criticism of his quarterbacking. But he understands the microscope under which an NFL quarterback lives.

"I'm sure everyone saw what I saw, and they're like, 'Oh, Mitch, throw to the wide-open guy in the back of the end zone,'" Trubisky said. "Trust me, I wish I would.

"Moving forward, if I want to evolve into the quarterback that I want to be, you got to take that opportunity. I got to anticipate that even more.

"It's a little less wide open when you're playing full motion on film when you get the still picture, which I'm sure a lot of people saw, it looks like I don't know what I'm doing. Trust me, I'm hard on myself."

The aim in Year 2 for the 24-year-old Trubisky, his first with Nagy and this system, is to reveal his potential. The team became enamored with his accuracy, his mobility and that unquestioned work ethic. One game certainly doesn't decide what Trubisky will become, but it was indicative of the work he has ahead.

Given what the Bears built around Trubisky -- not just Nagy and his offense but adding playmakers like Burton, Allen Robinson, Gabriel, Anthony Miller and capping it by acquiring and paying Khalil Mack in Trubisky's rookie-contract window -- a lot is riding on his shoulders.

Simply put, the Bears are counting on Trubisky to lead them to victories. That's why the losses are so tough on him.

"His hardest critic is himself," Burton said. "I think all the great ones are like that, and he's certainly like that.

"He's truly obsessed to be the best he can be."

Extra points:

-- Rookie linebacker Roquan Smith is "in a position to definitely play more" against the Seahawks, Nagy said. The eighth overall pick, Smith played just a limited role in his NFL debut, though he did record a quarterback sack on his first career snap.

-- Could Mack make another jump after his impressive Bears debut? He's now another week more comfortable and better conditioned with the team.

"You probably didn’t believe us, but we really didn’t know exactly where he was going to be at," Nagy said. "So, I think you saw how well he could play and what his motor was like. He told us what his motor was like but we weren’t sure, and we saw it. Now we’re hoping we can keep growing from that. As long as he feels good, let’s go."

-- The Bears are preparing for the challenge of facing quarterback Russell Wilson and the Seahawks on Monday night at Soldier Field, and they'll certainly will be counting on Mack to help lead the defense.

"He’s one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the league when you think about the things he’s been able to accomplish throughout his whole career," Mack said. "It’s going to be a hell of a challenge.”

-- Guard Kyle Long (ankle) landed on the Bears' injury report for Thursday, sitting out their first full practice of the week. Safety DeAndre Houston-Carson (forearm/back) didn't practice, while cornerback Bryce Callahan (knee) was limited. Tight end Daniel Brown (shoulder) returned to full participation. 

-- Now days beyond the loss at Lambeau Field, the Bears have turned the page and are looking to their next game Monday. 

"We've moved on to Seattle," Nagy said.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.​