'Physically, he's got all the tools': Elway a fan of Bears QB Mitch Trubisky

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, left, looks to pass the ball after taking a snap from center Cody Whitehair as they take part in drills during a joint NFL football training camp session with the Denver Broncos Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, at Broncos' headquarters in Englewood, Colo.

    Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, left, looks to pass the ball after taking a snap from center Cody Whitehair as they take part in drills during a joint NFL football training camp session with the Denver Broncos Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, at Broncos' headquarters in Englewood, Colo.

 
By Hub Arkush
harkush@profootballweekly.com
Updated 8/17/2018 6:27 AM

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The main focus of traveling to Denver for two days of joint practices for Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy was to test his club against another NFL team.

Following Thursday's second day of work, Nagy declared the mission accomplished.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

He started his analysis with praise for his young quarterback, Mitch Trubisky.

"Arrow up," Nagy said. "It wasn't one good day, one bad day. It was two good days. That's what his expectations are. That's what he knows that we want.

"He's done that, and we're not going to stop him."

Not satisfied, however, that some of Nagy's praise wasn't obligatory, we sought out a second "expert" opinion on what Trubisky showed in Denver. Does Hall of Fame quarterback and Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway work for you?

"I liked Mitch coming out," Elway said. "I think that Mitch has got a lot of talent. I think that he's got a chance to have a real successful career, and I think they continue to make strides. Physically, he's got all the tools."

Elway's stamp of approval has to make Trubisky feel good and should be particularly pleasant for Bears fans.

How does Trubisky feel about his stay in Denver so far?

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"Yeah, it was good," he said. "It was good competition and really for this whole offense it was good for me to see different looks, go out there and try to operate at the line of scrimmage getting in and out of the huddle.

"I think our offense took a step forward these past few days. It was good to come out here, compete, see a bunch of different looks and just get after it on offense, and hopefully it just carries over into the preseason game."

It's hard to argue with any of Nagy's, Elway's or Trubisky's observations, but the development of this new Bears offense is about more than just the quarterback. A huge focus of the Bears' off-season has been upgrading Trubisky's weapons, and in Nagy's offense the tight ends are critical.

Nagy liked what he saw there in Denver, too.

"I was happy with their performance," he said. "They're doing a good job right now of matching up their timing with 10 (Trubisky). We didn't do any 'live' the last two days, so it's hard to tell exactly where they'd be in their blocking assignments, but we're trying to really focus in on that, too."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

One position at which the Bears have struggled recently is center, and it didn't get much better in Denver.

Nagy said: "I guess you're referring to the actual snap coming back? The quarterback's back there, and if you're in the shotgun, he needs to get that football coming to him, and it can't be two inches from the ground and it can't be three feet above his head because what that does is it immediately takes him off his progression.

"So you want those to be darn near perfect 98 percent of the time if not near 100.

"Yeah, there are some struggles right now, but we're going to stay positive with it. It's not just one guy. It's not just one guy."

Cody Whitehair was a little better Thursday after an awful Wednesday, and clearly Nagy and his staff are concerned. The Bears' handling of Whitehair and second-round pick James Daniels has puzzled analysts ever since the draft.

Whitehair was not himself in Denver, while Daniels continues to be a promising prospect who just isn't ready yet to play center or guard at the next level.

The only good news for Whitehair in Denver is Trubisky certainly has his back.

"I'm not worried about Cody one bit," the quarterback said. "He's a heck of a player. I love having him on the O-line and (as) our center."

Trubisky continues to grow in the leadership department, too.

Overall, will the Bears leave Denver in a good place?

Nagy will get one honeymoon season in terms of wins and losses, but the growth of his offense will have to be significant almost immediately. That group's work against the Broncos' 2017 top-five defense the last two days did suggest that growth is under way and continuing.

• Hub Arkush, the executive editor of Pro Football Weekly, can be reached at harkush@profootballweekly.com or on Twitter @Hub_Arkush.

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