Joniak: An Eager Trubisky In Line To Start Sunday

Mitchell Trubisky practiced in full Wednesday for the first time since missing two games.

December 05, 2018 - 4:57 pm
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By Jeff Joniak--

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (WBBM Newsradio) -- The Bears (8-4) will host the Rams (11-1) on Sunday night at Soldier Field. As they continued their preparations Wednesday, here are the observations and notes of the day.

First impression

It will be good for the Bears to have quarterback Mitchell Trubisky leading the way again Sunday. Barring the return of debilitating pain in his right shoulder or a setback while practicing this week, the expectation is Trubisky will return after missing two games. He was a full participant in practice Wednesday.

"I feel strong that he will play, but I got to see more," coach Matt Nagy said. "I feel good about it. I hope so."

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Nagy’s evaluation of Trubisky’s practice sessions this week will ultimately decide if he does start. Trubisky believes he's nearing 100 percent. 

"I feel really close," Trubisky said. "I feel good and hopefully they’ll let me go, because I think I can."

Intense rehab and following doctor’s orders preceded Trubisky’s return to practice.

"Arm feels really good," Trubisky said. "Just throwing as much as they let me and continuing to take care of it. Get it stronger and do all the rehab treatment that I have got to do and just making sure that I am at 100 percent when I go back out there. I feel great and ahead of schedule."

Second thought

Trubisky throwing and practicing Wednesday doesn't ensure yet that he can take a hit from standout defensive linemen like the Rams' Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald without re-injuring his right shoulder. 

"That’s a part of football," Nagy said. "Those are the questions that you ask yourself. The pain thing is one, it’s the health as well. We got to make sure that the combination of pain and making sure that nothing gets re-injured or worse is what we want to make sure we take care of."

To keep Trubisky healthy, he needs to avoid big hits. Winning one-on-one blocks is a key for the Bears to keep him healthy this week and the rest of the season.

Third degree

Despite being injured on a run, Trubisky insists he will remain aggressive with his legs to get out of trouble and to take advantage of cracks in the Rams' defense with the ball in his hand. The critical moment is at the point of impact on his right shoulder. 

"Any time I pull it down, just being smart, trying to slide properly," Trubisky said of the key. "Trying not to be so unorthodox. Getting down when I need to get down, getting out of bounds and continue to stay aggressive. But I am not going to go out there if I’m not 100 percent, and I am going to go out there and play my game. No reservations."

It is a fine balance for the 24-year-old Trubisky, because his legs are a weapon in this offense. To beat the Rams, the Bears need that dimension of Trubisky’s game to open up the field.

What happens in the pocket is equally important. Donald is a game-wrecker and leads the NFL with 16.5 sacks. Suh is dominant when he wants to be, and he will want to be in primetime Sunday. Blocking that duo and the underrated Michael Brockers is a focal point for the Bears. Trubisky can help his offensive line by getting rid of the ball quickly. 

Fourth-and-short

One of the best matchups between the Bears' offense and the Rams' defense will be the outside battles between the receivers and the cornerbacks. Rams veteran Aqib Talib is presumably fully recovered from a surgically repaired high ankle sprain but played just one half last week in his return as the Rams eased him back. Talib’s presence boosts the overall confidence of the Rams' defense given his instincts and smarts at the position. His return also enhances the aggressiveness and playmaking ability of fellow cornerback Marcus Peters, who has given up six touchdowns and been flagged six times this season. The duo is super aggressive, which bites them from time-to-time. The Bears should look to exploit that and challenge them.

Jeff Joniak is the play-by-play announcer for the Bears broadcasts on WBBM Newsradio 780 & 105.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter @JeffJoniak.​​​