BOURBONNAIS. Ill. — Mitch Trubisky ended Tuesday’s practice with an interception in the end zone, which “sucks,” as the No. 2 overall pick put it. The next time he takes a snap will be Thursday at Soldier Field in front of a crowd hoping to see, for the first time, why the Bears invested so heavily in him.
“I’ll be excited, anxious to get out there on the field to show what I can do, mostly to prove to my teammates why I’m here and what I can do and just go out there and do my job and have fun,” Trubisky said.
We’ve already seen flashes of Trubisky’s eye-popping natural ability during practices at Olivet Nazarene University, and it’s almost to the point of mundanity to see him roll to his right, keep his eyes downfield and fire a perfectly-weighted pass to (usually) a tight end. But Thursday night, when the Bears open preseason play against the Denver Broncos, will provide a different and important atmosphere.
The last time Trubisky could be hit, he was being terrorized by then-Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas (who was selected one pick after him back in April) in El Paso, Texas during the Sun Bowl. The Bears can simulate pocket pressure during practice, but as long as Trubisky is wearing that orange non-contact jersey, it can only go so far.
“I’m ready to get hit just to get that over with,” Trubisky said. “… We’re sitting back there in the pocket and we can’t really get a good feel in practice of when we need to get out of there, when we need to move on, when we might have been sacked. You see a couple of plays throughout practice where a big play happens but the defensive end might have had you down, might have gotten the ball out.
“So it’ll be good to play live on Thursday, to get hit, things will move faster and to know when you need to move on and what you’ve got to do, because we don’t get hit in practice. I’m anxious to just get back to real football.”
Trubisky, as expected, will be the third quarterback used by the Bears on Thursday, behind starter Mike Glennon and backup Mark Sanchez. Coach John Fox didn’t say if Trubisky would get some work with the No. 2 offense or how long he would play, but without a fourth quarterback (Connor Shaw recently had a screw removed from his leg and will be unavailable), Trubisky can expect to see a good number of snaps.
A worry if Trubisky is running the third-team offense for most of his time on the field is if there’s enough quality around him to make those snaps productive, but Fox said there will be enough mixing and matching between the offensive units that it shouldn’t be an issue.
“We’ll make sure we get quality work regardless of whether we call them ones, twos or threes,” Fox said.
Thursday will be another step along a long path of development for Trubisky, one that — if everything goes according to plan — will take him to being the Bears’ starting quarterback for well into the future. He’s not there yet, though, so these preseason games do carry plenty of significance given he may not get many opportunities when the games start to actually count for something.
““Just play great situational football, control the game,” Trubisky said of his goals for Thursday. “Each time I’m in there with my teammates just show command at the line of scrimmage, drive the ball down the field, be efficient, pick up first downs and hopefully finish in the end zone a couple times. It’s all about taking care of the football, going out there having fun and doing my job.”