Bears' Trubisky: I know I can be a championship quarterback
If there's one thing Bears first-round pick Mitch Trubisky knows, it's how to develop as a quarterback without playing.
The second overall pick became a highly coveted NFL commodity in just one season as the starter at North Carolina, where he sat for two years behind Marquise Williams, a player who was not drafted in 2016.
Now Trubisky will be idle again, as he sits behind Bears starting quarterback Mike Glennon, probably for his entire rookie season.
"I've learned a lot about patience, and I know it's all about the team," said Trubisky, whose thoughts of transferring were overshadowed by loyalty to his Tar Heel teammates. "I feel like I'm a great teammate, and it's all about getting better and putting the best guys out there for the Chicago Bears. I'm going to support the other guys like I've supported all my other teammates throughout my career."
"That experience helps me a lot for this situation. I know how to learn behind a guy. I'm excited to learn behind Mike. I know how to get better when I'm not getting the starting reps or I'm not the starter."
Among the adjustments the 6-foot-2, 222-pound Trubisky must make is the move from taking the snap from shotgun or pistol formations to receiving the ball from under center and the different footwork that's involved. Bears GM Ryan Pace is confident that Trubisky's underrated athleticism will help him make that a smooth transition. He ran a 4.67 40-yard dash at the Combine, fastest among all the top quarterbacks, and only Clemson's Deshaun Watson was quicker than Trubisky's 1.56-second 10-yard split.
"He's very athletic," Pace said. "He can extend the play. One trait you'll notice, as quarterbacks are extending the play, (is) the ability to move around and keep his eyes downfield still looking for open targets instead of just tucking the ball and wanting to run."
Trubisky is content to keep his athleticism under wraps.
"Keep it a secret," he said. "That's fine with me because I'm going to use it on the field. I know what needs to be done as a quarterback. Being athletic definitely helps to get out of some situations that others might not be able to. It's all about letting your instincts take over and just play the game."
Trubisky played so well last season in his only 13 career starts that he set school records of 3,748 passing yards, 30 TD passes (with just 6 interceptions) and 4,056 yards of total offense. And he resurrected his NFL dream that seemed far-fetched while he was relegated to the bench.
"You just look at your (remaining) eligibility and say, 'Yeah, I've got some time; anything's possible.' Coming into last year I was like, 'Hey, wouldn't it be cool if I went one-and-out?'
"That was the mentality, to have as good a year as possible, so I could have that decision at the end of the year. Some of my receivers would joke with me, like 'If you're not trying to go one-and-out and have that mentality to move on the next level, then you might as well not show up.' So that was the mentality -- play so well that people will realize that I can play at the next level."
Trubisky convinced Pace and the Bears scouts that he was the top quarterback available, a realization that other NFL teams came to, making inquiries about moving up to possibly select the one-year wonder.
"As I studied all these quarterbacks, his accuracy jumps out right away," Pace said. "His ability to process and see the whole field jumps out right away. Very good completion percentage with pressure in his face, just a lot of traits that he has that translate well to the NFL game."
The Bears and Trubisky believe that after an appropriate apprenticeship, he can be a championship quarterback.
"I'm going to progress my first year in Chicago," he said, "and the sky's the limit to what I can do."
Then Trubisky will be in the driver's seat, and that would be a more comfortable ride than what he's familiar with, his 1997 Toyota Camry.
"I got that my freshman or sophomore year in college, handed down from my grandmother," he said. "It's got 170,000 miles on it. It moves pretty well. It gets me from Point A to Point B."
Or from North Carolina to Chicago.
"Ryan (Pace) said he wants me to drive it up from Chapel Hill, so I think I'm going to do that," said Trubisky, who has no immediate plans to trade up, as the Bears did to get him.
"I'm a very simple person," he said. "That's who I've always been. That's how I was raised, to be conservative and stick to who I am. That's who I'm going to be."
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