Mitch Trubisky was a full participant in the Bears’ practice Wednesday at Halas Hall, putting the 2017 No. 2 overall pick on track to start Sunday against the New York Giants a week after being removed late in his team’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams with a hip pointer.
Trubisky said he feels “a lot better” a few days after suffering that injury, and he expects to play Sunday against the Giants so long as he doesn't suffer any setbacks this week. His full participation in Wednesday’s practice, again, indicates he will not miss a start with the injury.
Nagy, too, reiterated Trubisky is his starting quarterback so long as he’s healthy.
“We want him to be out there this week as the starter,” Nagy said. “I’m hoping that’s the case. … These types of injuries, you get to a point where they are literally day to day and it becomes about where you’re at with the pain and how we manage that.”
Trubisky’s injury status Thursday and Friday will be closely monitored for a setback, though it’s possible the Bears designate him as questionable for Sunday no matter what. The Bears did just that in October, when Trubisky practiced in full the entire week leading up to their game against the New Orleans Saints but was officially listed questionable.
Nagy, though, does not appear to be considering benching Trubisky for any performance-based reasons. The Bears’ coach has stood firmly behind Trubisky in his press conferences since taking him out of Sunday night’s game, and on Wednesday went out of his way to praise his starting quarterback’s recent growth.
“The last two weeks, and I’m speaking in particular for Mitch, he has without a doubt gotten a lot better at the quarterback position,” Nagy said. “Decision-making, throws – where he’s at the last two weeks has been a lot better.”
When pressed for a specific instance of Trubisky playing better, Nagy pointed to a 12-yard check-down throw to Allen Robinson on what was supposed to be a shot play against the Detroit Lions in Week 10 (on it, Taylor Gabriel was well covered downfield).
But 10 games into his third year in the league, when Nagy has consistently preached a touchdown-to-checkdown mentality to his quarterback, just how significant is the improvements made by Trubisky to make that throw? Trubisky is still last among qualified quarterbacks with an average of 5.6 yards per pass attempt, and ranks near the bottom of the league in completion percentage (23rd), touchdowns (26th), passer rating (26th) and QBR (30th).
And the Bears’ offense remains one of the worst in the league, too, sitting in the same ignominious realm as Jets/Bengals/Dolphins/Washington in nearly every offensive category. This is a team that’s made 20-point, 300-yard games feel like monumental efforts, when in reality those should be routine for a team with a top-picked quarterback and offensive-minded coach.
So how much does steady, incremental progress over two games matter 11 weeks into a season in which Trubisky’s experienced rapid, significant regression? The things Nagy and Trubisky are still talking about — the game slowing down, making good decisions, etc. — are the same things talked about in training camp this year, or throughout the course of 2018 and 2017.
We’ll see over the course of the final six games of 2019, though, if Trubisky can dig himself out of the hole he and this offense, collectively, have dug this season. Because Trubisky is the Bears’ starting quarterback, and it does not appear that his hip injury will change that on Sunday and beyond.
“I feel confident going out there and being able to do my job,” Trubisky said. “We're still just not clicking on some plays as an offense and I feel like that's holding us back. But each week it's getting a little bit better, it's slowing down, I love the game plans we're doing each and every single week. We just got to make it happen as an offense, and it just comes down to — I know it sounds really simple — we just got to score more points.”