Why defense, Nagy are confident Trubisky is making progress
Mitch Trubisky continues to progress in reading coverages and setting protections in his second offseason with Matt Nagy, his coach said Wednesday. What really piqued our interest, though, was one of his teammates explaining how he knows his quarterback and the offense are progressing and Trubisky confirming that of course he's a #QBwinz guy.
Prince Amukamara said Wednesday prior to the team hitting the practice field for minicamp and the offseason's penultimate practice before training camp that he knows when Trubisky is on not only from the plays he makes on the field but the subsequent chatter from Trubisky and his fellow quarterbacks. It might be inspired by Amukamara's former Big 12 rival-turned-Bears QB2, but it's fueling the defense's competitive spirits nonetheless.
"I played against Chase (Daniel) when I was at Nebraska and he was at Missouri and he's always been cocky," Amukamara said with a smile. "(The QBs) just do their little antics if they make a play. So as a defense we're always trying to make a play. I think John Franklin had an interception (Tuesday) and we all took pictures. So we're trying to give it back to them."
Franklin indeed intercepted a pass Tuesday that spurred the group photo, and the defense enjoyed another celebratory moment in a red-zone drill as Taylor Gabriel bobbled a would-be touchdown ruled incomplete in the corner of the end zone. Nagy said he likes to see those competitive juices flowing.
There were ample opportunities Wednesday for Mitch and Co. to rejoice during a strong practice for the offense. Even without top WR Allen Robinson, who was out for personal reasons, and Anthony Miller, sidelined until camp following offseason shoulder surgery, Trubisky appeared to be feeling it.
"Accuracy-wise he's been more than fine," Nagy said. "What I've taken away from OTAs just from all of us talking … where Mitch was at last year at this time fixing protections and seeing what the defense is doing ... I've been talking about coverages, well now talking about fronts and stunts and how they disguise different looks, and he's seeing that.
"Anybody that knows football and knows good quarterbacks, a lot of the reasons why they're successful is because they know how to create protection and help their O-line create protection to have matchups to be able to make the throws so that they can be more accurate."
Perhaps that's one of the hidden benefits of new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano's arrival. He has a reputation for being aggressive -- and Trubisky is getting plenty of looks at those methods and adjusting accordingly.
As for the #QBwinz, regardless of where you sit on their importance as an individual statistic, know that Nagy and Trubisky are in lockstep.
"Wins and losses," Trubisky said when asked what stats he's concerned about. "Getting to the playoffs and trying to win every game."
Sounds like a robotic response, right? Perhaps. But Nagy assured us it's simply who his quarterback is.
"What stands out is that that's not something that he's just saying because it sounds good or like he knows you guys are going to get a reaction out of that. He doesn't care about any of that," he said. "… But you go back and you look at quarterbacks in this league that have been judged. Everyone is going to talk about is did they win and did they win Super Bowls. Right? That's what I think you get evaluated on as a quarterback. So that's all he wants to do. Is win and win Super Bowls. And then the stat stuff, that's all fluff."
Of course, it was Jim McMahon who last won a Super Bowl with the Bears, and Trubisky had the chance to meet the "punky QB" for the first time last weekend at Chicago's centennial celebration.
"There is a type of swagger and moxie that he played with and how he handled himself and he won a lot of games as a Chicago Bears quarterback and it was really awesome to see and spend some time with him,"Trubisky said. "… He just said if you just give it all for these fans and go out there and win games, they'll love you back."
It remains to be seen whether Trubisky will capture the hearts of Bears fans the way McMahon did. But even with two years and a 2021 team option remaining on his rookie contract, he was asked about the possibility of playing his whole career in Chicago.
"I think we're building something great here," he said. "I love the city. I love the fans. I love where I live. I love coming to work at Halas Hall every day, and I love my teammates. So for me it's just taking it one day at a time and embracing the process. That's the goal for sure."
• Arthur Arkush is the managing editor for Pro Football Weekly. For more on the NFL, visit profootballweekly.com and follow Arthur on Twitter @arthurarkush or @PFWeekly.