Bears

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

usatsi_10875820.jpg
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.

Leadership lessons Ryan Pace learned from time with Sean Payton, Saints

Leadership lessons Ryan Pace learned from time with Sean Payton, Saints

Every organization in the NFL is working hard to adapt their workflows while under COVID-19 restrictions. Rookie minicamps have already been missed. Organizations are still unable to meet as a full team, and that’s obviously a challenge. But Bears GM Ryan Pace may have a leg up due to the lessons he learned while working in the New Orleans Saints’ front office.

Pace joined Mike Florio on Pro Football Talk’s podcast “PFT PM” to explain exactly how that time in New Orleans helped to shape him as a leader, both in “normal” times and times of crisis.

“There’s no excuses in our league,” Pace said on the podcast. “That happened in New Orleans during Katrina-- really every time a hurricane came towards that city, we adapted.

“What I felt from the leadership from (Saints head coach) Sean (Payton) and (Saints GM) Mickey (Loomis) is there was never an excuse. It was: let’s adapt and let’s adjust, and that’s what we did. From 2005 to 2006, I mean that was a major shift in that team under trying times.”

Pace is referring to the Saints firing Jim Haslett and hiring Sean Payton, and installing Payton’s new systems, all while recovering from Hurricane Katrina. The Saints were incredibly successful working through those hard times too, improving from 3-13 in 2005 to 10-6 and NFC South winners in 2006.

Beyond learning to not let hard times affect his team’s success on the field, Pace says he learned a lot about how to run a team from Payton and Loomis.

“First of all, (Payton’s) very aggressive, he's not afraid to make hard decisions. He’s decisive and Mickey’s the same way: aggressive and decisive, no regrets, never looks back, not afraid to think outside the box, but also very conscious of the culture of that team.

“I think any time you drift away from that-- and it’s easy to do, and enticing to do-- but usually when you do that, once you realize you’ve done that to the locker room, the damage is already done. You try to correct yourself or police a player, the damage is already done in the locker room. So I think it’s being aggressive with the moves you make, not looking back, operating with decisiveness, but then being very conscious of the culture in the locker room.

“It’s a fine line. 12-4 to 8-8, it’s a fine line I think, because the people, the staff, the people in your building are conscious of that.”

Pace has certainly acted decisively when building his roster, trading up to draft Mitchell Trubisky, Leonard Floyd, Anthony Miller and David Montgomery.

But he later says, there’s more nuance than simply acting decisively to become an effective leader.

“When you’re making a hard decision, what’s best for the organization?” Pace said. “Not letting your ego get in the way because ‘Hey, this was your idea,’ ‘You selected this player,’ whatever it is, what’s best for the team? And sometimes those are decisions when you have to remove emotions.”

Pace has shown the ability to set aside his ego to make those hard decisions too. Most recently he opted not to pick up Trubisky’s fifth-year option. He already cut Leonard Floyd. And after he didn’t offer Kyle Fuller a fifth-year option, he paid even more to keep Fuller since the cornerback proved he deserved to stay.

“For me, to be honest, I think that’s come pretty natural and pretty easy, and I think it’s because of my experience in New Orleans.”

RELATED: Why Ryan Pace ultimately decided to trade for Nick Foles

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | Art19

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.

Nick Foles' familiarity with Bears coaches, system important to Ryan Pace

Nick Foles' familiarity with Bears coaches, system important to Ryan Pace

When news leaked that the Bears had traded for Nick Foles, it sent shockwaves through the league. Many people supported the move to bring in a former Super Bowl MVP, but many others questioned the decision.

On Friday, Bears GM Ryan Pace appeared on Pro Football Talk’s podcast “PFT PM” to discuss all sorts of things the Bears have been focusing on this offseason, including what went into the decision to trade for Foles.

Part of what helped, Pace said, was the team’s overall familiarity with Foles.

“We have about four coaches on our staff that have worked with Nick and coached Nick,” Pace said on the podcast. “And at different places, which I think is valuable because they’ve seen him at different stages of his career.

“When you’re evaluating the position, obviously the film and what you see on the field is an important part of the product. But I think the knowledge of Nick behind the scenes, how he deals with adversity, what kind of teammate he is… that was huge for us. That intimate knowledge of the coaches on our staff.”

All of that is great, but when it comes down to brass tacks will that familiarity help Foles play in Nagy’s system? Pace says yes.

“As we went through all the different styles of offenses that he’s played in, what we do here in Chicago is very similar to what he was doing in Philadelphia with coach Pederson. So I think there’s a lot of commonalities there, so I think that style of play you saw in Philly with Nick-- we saw it firsthand in the playoffs-- I think that’s something you can expect to see here in Chicago.”

RELATED: Darnell Mooney says he's the all-around receiver Bears fan dream of

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | Art19