Bears

Mitch Trubisky working hard toward Week 7 return

Mitch Trubisky working hard toward Week 7 return

The Bears' bye week is over, which means it's time to get back to work and prepare for Week 7's matchup against the New Orleans Saints.

According to coach Matt Nagy, one player — quarterback Mitch Trubisky — didn't take any time off.

Speaking with Josh Liss of WBBM Newsradio Chicago on Monday, Nagy confirmed Trubisky spent his bye week strengthening his injured left shoulder.

"He was in here working out, every day he's trying to get that (shoulder) stronger and stronger, so that'll be the big question for us," Nagy said of Trubisky's status for Sunday. "We'll see how it goes here, really this whole week, but we're excited for him. We know every day helps us out to get him back, so we'll see where it ends up going."

Trubisky and the Bears passing offense will be the primary target for critics the rest of the way this season, especially after Week 6's marquee showdown between Patrick Mahomes and DeShaun Watson, the two quarterbacks GM Ryan Pace passed on to select the former North Carolina star.

Nagy said he and the rest of the coaching staff used the week off to sharpen their focus.

"It's always good to kind of reload and reflect on where you're at right now and I think we all got a chance to do that, so it's nice to get back in here and get after it."

The Bears will be without a key piece on offense in their attempt to get back to the playoffs in 2019. Nagy confirmed guard Kyle Long will be placed on injured reserve (hip). Long's struggles in 2019 have been well-documented and something had to give. Unfortunately, we now know it's Long's health that's failed him again. 

"That's where it's at and I want to credit him for battling through an injury and it is a tough loss," Nagy said of Long. "It's a part of the game, we understand that, he understands it and we just gotta keep plugging away."

It's quite possible Long has played his last game as a Chicago Bear.

One player who hasn't played his last game with the Bears is Akiem Hicks. But has he played his last game of 2019? Nagy wouldn't provide a timetable for his return, but don't expect the 2018 Pro Bowler to be back anytime soon.

"We're still working through all the logistics on that. It was a pretty good injury he got there. We're hoping that he's definitely able to return here by the season's end."

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Under Center Podcast: Trubisky's status and is Anthony Miller on the hot seat?

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USA TODAY

Under Center Podcast: Trubisky's status and is Anthony Miller on the hot seat?

Laurence Holmes catches up with JJ Stankevitz from Halas Hall, where they discuss Mitch Trubisky's status and his progression (1:30).

Then, the two ponder whether Anthony Miller is playing for his job (8:00) before discussing what to watch down the stretch, including the offensive line, Roquan Smith's finish and Leonard Floyd (16:45).

Listen to the episode here.

Under Center Podcast

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First and Final Thoughts: The Giants are beatable ... right?

First and Final Thoughts: The Giants are beatable ... right?

Not unlike Matt Nagy and Mitch Trubisky, it's Year 2 of First and Final Thoughts. Insider JJ Stankevitz and producer Cam Ellis talk about what's on their minds between games.

Final Thoughts on Week 11

J.J. Stankevitz: Since we've talked and written so much about Mitch Trubisky and the circumstances of his removal from Sunday's game, let me take this in another direction: Matt Nagy no longer appears to trust Eddy Piñeiro. For the second time this year, Nagy had his offense try to convert a fourth-and-long instead of attempting a long -- but not incredibly long -- field goal. Opting against having Piñeiro attempt a 49-yard field goal in the first quarter to try to convert that fourth and nine was bizarre, and does not bode well for Piñeiro's future even if the Bears aren't bringing anyone for tryouts just yet. 

Piñeiro has made 12 of 17 field goals this year, but has missed his last three attempts dating back to his wide-left game-winning attempt against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 8. Perhaps more than anyone not named Trubisky, Piñeiro needs to turn things around in the final six games of 2019 to keep his job in 2020. And if he doesn't start making his kicks quickly, he might not even get six more games this year. 

Cam Ellis: It was great seeing Roquan Smith play well against the Rams. Everything else about the Rams game was such a mess but he was making more plays than anyone else on the field Sunday night. His issues don't even make it onto the podium of most-discussed narratives this season, but it'd be a nice silver lining to see him finish the season strong after how it started. Danny Trevathan is week-to-week apparently (!?), but the Smith-Nick Kwiatkoski duo did pretty well in their first game together. It'll be interesting to see how quickly the Bears work to rush Trevathan or Akiem Hicks back if they've already lost 8-9 games by December. 

First Thoughts on Week 12 

Stankevitz: The Giants don't do anything well, ranking 27th in both offensive and defensive DVOA and entering the weekend with the same record as the Miami Dolphins. There's a legitimate chance the Giants play themselves into the second overall pick (again) if they wind up losing to the Dolphins at home and Washington on the road on Dec. 15 and 22, respectively. 

Saquon Barkley, the No. 2 pick in 2018's draft, has gained 29 yards on his last 27 carries. 29 yards! Maybe the off week will have helped Barkley's balky ankle get better, but as long as the Bears can stop him from making an impact, they should cruise to a comfortable win against a truly awful football team on Sunday. 

Ellis: Yeah, what J.J. said. Taking any NFL game for granted is an easy way to look stupid, but the Bears are a much better team than the Giants. If there's a Tampa-2018 game in store for the Bears this season, it's this one. They're dying to hit on some big plays, too.