Why Chicago Bears QB Mitch Trubisky might impress the Vikings more this time
In the three months since Chicago Bears rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky abruptly went from watch-and-learn mode to "here's the keys to the family Buick," there isn't an area of his growth that offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains can single out.
That's a good thing because there has been a lot of growth in a lot of areas since Trubisky took his first snap Monday night, Oct. 9, against the Vikings at Soldier Field. The Bears travel to Minnesota for Sunday's season finale.
"It's hard to pinpoint just one thing," Loggains said. "I'd start (with) his preparation. Before he'd done it, he didn't know what it was supposed to look like. He got to watch Mike Glennon do it, and he's a pro, and he did a really good job of setting a good example."
The devotion that Trubisky displayed in his preparation is the foundation for the growth he has displayed in other areas.
Loggains ticked them off: "The comfort in the offense … the play calls, understanding reads, understanding the blitz protections, having a couple audibles in the game.
"Each week, all those things have grown. It's just been steady in every area."
Trubisky is 4-7 as a starter, and he has compiled a 78.5 passer rating, numbers that aren't anything special. But considering Trubisky started just 13 games at North Carolina and is now surrounded by mediocre talent, it's as much as anyone could expect in what was scheduled to be a season of learning from the sidelines.
"I feel good about it," the 23-year-old Trubisky said. "I just go back to two words: growth and development. Try to get better every day. I had a lot of fun. It's awesome to come to this organization.
"You really don't know what to expect coming in your rookie season, (but) I've had a lot of fun, I've learned a lot, and I love playing this game. And I'm glad I get to do it here in Chicago."
Bears coach John Fox believes the Vikings will be more impressed by Trubisky this time. He completed 12 of 25 passes for 128 yards against them in his debut, throwing 1 touchdown pass and 1 interception.
He used his agility and athleticism to avoid a relentless Vikings defense that is the NFL's best in yards and points allowed. Despite the pressure, Trubisky was sacked just once for minus-7 yards.
In his first four starts, Trubisky threw for a total of just 512 yards as a game manager. He has earned the trust to become much more than that recently, throwing for 880 yards in his last four games, including 2 victories.
"We've expanded (the playbook)," Loggains said. "He's doing more at the line of scrimmage now with protection checks and audibles. He's done a really job of handling all that stuff.
"Each week we've just given him a little bit more. Sometimes at practice we give him a lot, and we see how he handles it. If he handles it well, we run it in the game."
Trubisky has displayed a level of discipline that often eludes young players.
"Time management," he said. "Getting to bed on time and then waking up early and doing it all over again. Knowing my schedule and sticking to it."
Trubisky has been one of his harshest critics from the very beginning, and he seems to always be learning, traits coaches admire.
"What always impresses me about Mitchell is how hard he is on himself," Loggains said. "He doesn't make the same mistake twice, and it's because he studies and he works at it.
"We're sitting on the bench watching the opponent as we're getting ready to go out for the next series. If something happens to (the other) quarterback, he's like, 'Awww, you can't do that,' or 'That was a smart decision by that guy,' or whatever it was.
"It's how much he cares, and he cares about doing right by his teammates. For a young player, he has an awesome work ethic."
Rookies often talk of hitting the wall -- physically and mentally -- in their first pro season.
"I love playing football," he said. "I feel great. I'm not going to hit the wall. I could play another season."