Bears

Bears need Mitch Trubisky to become a closer, but teammates see it coming

Bears need Mitch Trubisky to become a closer, but teammates see it coming

With Sunday’s game on the line and the Bears owning the football at their 17-yard line, the offense needed a drive for field goal position to tie the Detroit Lions. But rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky, with 1:03 on the clock, wasn’t thinking 3 points. He was thinking touchdown and a win, and the huddle knew it.

“I think that's his mindset all the time,” said guard Josh Sitton, who recognized something familiar in Trubisky’s face that Sitton had seen over his years with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. “He's a play-maker, he's got all the confidence in the world in himself and the guys around him.

“You can just see it on his face. I don't think he really says anything, he doesn't really need to say anything, you can kind of see it, by that look in his eyes. He's got what it takes to be a great player in this league.”

It was not intended to be any even remote comparison with Rodgers. More than eyes are involved in that. But while the drive Sunday ended in failure in the form of a missed field goal, something was noted in the process.

The 13-play drive for the Bears’ first touchdown Sunday was the longest sustained by the offense under Trubisky. And it was a statement possession for an offense that had not scored a first-quarter touchdown in nine prior games.

But if a negative among the many Trubisky positives was the fourth time in five situations that Trubisky has failed to direct a game-winning or –tying drive, which goes a long way to answering why the Bears are 2-4 under him. Actually the number of come-up-short drives is more than those if you count things like a three-and-out at Baltimore in regulation before Trubisky led a seven-play drive for a winning overtime field goal.

Still, looking a little deeper, Trubisky has gotten progressively “closer” to being the kind of finisher that the Bears have needed for decades. At the very least, Trubisky is keeping drives alive longer and longer, if not ending them with points. In these situations:

Vs.                     4th qtr/OT situation

Minnesota         1 play, interception ends potential winning drive

Baltimore          3 plays, punt, regulation ends in tie

                           7 plays, game-winning FG in OT

Carolina            Game already decided

New Orleans    2 plays, interception ends drive for tie

Green Bay        5 plays, ball over on downs on drive for tie

Detroit               11 plays, missed FG for tie

Within the huddle, the team confidence in Trubisky and vice versa has clearly grown, regardless of outcome, and that is something the offense did not consistently have in Mike Glennon, Matt Barkley, Brian Hoyer, Jay Cutler, Jimmy Clausen or even Josh McCown.

“[Trubisky] is just growing and growing and you just see it,” Sittyon said. “You saw the talent right away and he just keeps ... the nuances of the game, he just keeps learning and learning. He gives you all the confidence in the world as a guy in the locker room and on the field, in the huddle.

“He has that look in his eye where you're thinking 'All right, he's going to get the job done.’”

Staff addition? Probably not but Bears have an opening

Taking a morning-after look around the NFL after the Bears’ 27-24 loss to the Detroit Lions:

Something to probably dismiss but at least worth mentioning… .

The Denver Broncos on Monday fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, the same Mike McCoy who handled the Denver offense as John Fox’s OC. Don’t expect anything in-season, certainly not at this point, but the situation does offer an interesting future option if somehow Fox sees the fourth and final year of his contract, even looking further down the coaching road irrespective of Fox’s presence.

McCoy was ousted from a foundering Broncos situation, presumably over not being able to make anything much out of Trevor Simian

McCoy, who was the mix of candidates and interviewed to succeed Lovie Smith back in 2012, wouldn’t necessarily be brought in as offensive coordinator by Fox or anyone else. What about the role of “consultant” or “assistant head coach” added to the Bears offensive staff?

The Bears have neither position on the staff currently, and haven’t had an assistant head coach since Rod Marinelli had that as part of his title from 2009-2012 under Lovie Smith. Marinelli, like McCoy, had been a head coach as well.

Notably, Fox kept McCoy on his staffs when Fox was hired both in Carolina and Denver, a good measure of Fox’s take on McCoy’s offensive-coaching skills. Fox added the job of passing-game coordinator to McCoy’s duties as quarterbacks coach with Carolina in 2007-08. Since then McCoy coached Peyton Manning in Denver and Philip Rivers in San Diego.

Also notably, perhaps in the other direction, Fox might have brought McCoy to Chicago after the latter was fired as Chargers head coach after last season. That didn’t happen, possibly because McCoy instead wanted a full OC position, which wasn’t open with Loggains in place.

Offensive consultants aren’t necessarily staff bloating; they have been referred to as “coaches for coaches.” Bruce Arians brought in longtime OC Tom Moore when Arians became Arizona Cardinals head coach (following Phil Emery’s decision to go with Marc Trestman over Arians). Moore previously served as offensive coordinator, then senior offensive coordinator, then offensive consultant through the Peyton Manning years in Indianapolis. Moore subsequently became offensive consultant for the Jets (2011) and Tennessee Titans (2012), the latter stint while Loggains was offensive coordinator.

Longtime offensive line coach Jim McNally has been a “consultant” with the Jets (2011-12) and Bengals (2012-this season). Randy Brown was a kicking consultant working under Bears special teams coaches in the Dave Wannstedt and Dick Jauron regimes, going on to work under John Harbaugh in Philadelphia and Baltimore.

Matt Nagy kicks off Bears training camp in the rain

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USA Today

Matt Nagy kicks off Bears training camp in the rain

Matt Nagy kicked off his tenure with the Chicago Bears Friday in the first practice of his first-ever training camp as a head coach. 

The weather didn't exactly cooperate for Nagy, who decided the Bears would run through the entire session outdoors despite periodic downpours.

"You don’t want to have that mentality where you just always try to have perfect weather,” he said. "That’s not realistic. Whether it’s the wind, which can be just as bad as the rain, rain, snow, I mean, we’re in Chicago, so that’s something we need to take into account."

While Nagy certainly has a point, Bears fans are scarred by practice-field injuries this time of year. A wet field can lead to slips and slides that turn into pulls and strains.

"In the summertime, you like have your first practice and have the sun, but it didn’t happen and that’s OK.”

The Bears held Danny Trevathan and Sherrick McManis out of practice because of hamstring injuries, neither of which are considered serious. Allowing either of them to practice on a wet field wouldn't have been the smartest idea and likely played a big part in keeping them sidelined.

Welcome to the Nagy era, one in which neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night will force the team indoors.

Long on Trubisky: 'Guys believe in him. We're lucky to have him'

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USA Today

Long on Trubisky: 'Guys believe in him. We're lucky to have him'

Kyle Long is healthy and was back to doing what he loves on Friday as the Chicago Bears kicked off training camp with the first practice session of the summer.

"I got to hit other guys, and that was fun," Long said after practice.

Long, who's one of the most recognizable players on the Bears and the team's most outspoken personality on social media, confirmed Friday that the locker room now belongs to quarterback Mitch Trubisky. 

"He's really taking ownership of this locker room. It's not something that's forced; it's organic. The guys believe in him. We're lucky to have him."

Long joked that Trubisky's maturation included a beard and a deeper voice. 

"He’s a grown man now. He’s got some facial hair. He has some bass in his voice."

Trubisky's growth on the field will be just as important as what he's done off of it since January.

There will be a few bumps in the road early in training camp. Defense is usually ahead of the offense for the first week or so. Combine that with Trubisky learning a new system, and the first few days will probably have more negative than positive offensive reviews.

And that's where the confidence Long is talking about is so important. If the team believes in Trubisky, he'll have the opportunity to work through the lows and get the offense where it needs to be by Week 1 without any locker room whispers.

With Long watching his back (both on and off the field), Trubisky will be just fine.