Bears

Q&A: Bears QB Mitch Trubisky on the Jordan Howard trade, Game of Thrones and much more

9-8mitchtrubisky.jpg
USA Today

Q&A: Bears QB Mitch Trubisky on the Jordan Howard trade, Game of Thrones and much more

NBC Sports Chicago had a chance to chat Saturday morning across from Wrigley Field with Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who was there for Gone Rogue Protein Chips. Heading into his second year in Matt Nagy’s offense, Trubisky covered his thoughts on the Jordan Howard trade, how much better this team can be and a number of other topics (like MarioKart and Game of Thrones). 

JJ Stankevitz: Alright Mitch, so you went Zero Dark Ten last year, no social media, you’re now back on social media and are here for Gone Rogue. What about the Gone Rogue brand brought you to this partnership?

Mitch Trubisky: Yeah, it’s an awesome brand, awesome new product. It’s going to be the best new snack out there. Chicago-based company so I’m happy to be teamed up with them. Excited for their launch. It’s a healthy snack — it’s basically a piece of chicken that’s been sliced, baked, smoked and flavored and it’s got the texture and consistency of a chip, but it’s healthy like beef jerky. 17 grams of protein per bag. It’s the healthy snack that you need in between great meals. I’ve been using it in my offseason for training before workouts, after workouts just to get that healthy snack in between meals. And it tastes really good as well. People gotta check it out and see what it’s all about because I know people love chips, but you need the healthy substitute and this is perfect for you guys. 

Speaking of unhealthy food, you mention chips, but you caused kind of a stir on social media on Friday by saying you put ketchup on your hotdogs. But let me give you an opportunity for an out: Have you had a Chicago-style beef sandwich yet?

I have not had a Chicago-style beef sandwich yet. I actually haven’t had a Chicago-style hot dog. I should’ve led with I haven’t had an actual hot dog in three to four years, the last time I had one I was probably a little kid or in high school and had ketchup on it. So I need to get it out there and clear it up so people aren’t mad at me for the hot dog answer. 

What was your reaction to the trade of Jordan Howard and bringing in David Montgomery?

The addition of David is going to be great for our offense but it’s always tough to see one of your great teammates and someone I consider a brother in Jordan Howard, we got really close the first two years and I really learned a lot from him. He carried our offense and just him being a great dude and a great teammate, it’s hard to see him go. But I always wish him the best and then it’s the next guy up mentality. So we got David in the draft and we’re excited about what he can do for this offense and I can’t wait to work with him and see where this thing takes us. We’re just trying to be more explosive on offense this year. 

Do you have a favorite character in MarioKart or Super Smash Brothers that you always play with?

Yoshi. 

I guessed you were a Yoshi guy! Why are you a Yoshi guy?

I don’t know. I just didn’t want to — it seems like everyone picks Mario and Luigi so I wanted to go for someone that nobody ever picks. 

Matt Nagy’s talked so much about Year 2 in this offense and how much growth there can be. Do you have a sense of how much better this offense can be now that you have a full year of experience in it?

Yeah, definitely. I think throughout last year, you saw kind of flashes of what this offense could be, and now we’re just looking for that consistency every drive, every snap, every play that I know exactly where to go with the football, guys are in the right places at the right time and we’re just keeping the defense off balance and continue the creativeness on this side of the ball and use all of our playmakers. We got even more of them this year and when everyone’s healthy, back and we’re rolling, the execution has to be there across the board because we’re another year in this offense, we’re way more experienced, it’s my Year 3 and we’re Year 2 in this offense. So there’s no excuse for this offense to not be high flying, high powered and one of the best in the league. 

You’ve got people lined up who’ve been waiting to see you since midnight over there (on Clark Street). 

No way. 

Yeah! Do you have a sense of your profile in this city? Are you able to come out and enjoy Chicago without having to deal with throngs of people constantly coming up to you and trying to talk to you?

Yeah, I like to — I haven’t been able to do it as much as I’d like to because I live north out by the facility. But it’s awesome coming downtown. I don’t think I fully understand the profile of my position but I’m blessed and privileged to be where I am, and I love the city of Chicago and how big of a sports town it is and how everybody embraces it. But I love meeting people, I love talking to them as long as they’re not — as long as they treat me like a person, because I’m just like everyone else. I’m just like everyone else. I want to spend time, go out to to eat, hang out with my family, and I love talking to and meeting new people. But I’m just a person. I’m not some figure, I’m not bigger or more special than anybody else, but I’m definitely blessed to be in the position I am and I’m embracing it and embracing this city, because I love it. 

As a normal person, then: Do you watch Game of Thrones?

I do. I actually — so my position’s a little different, I just finished Season 7. I was like, the new season’s coming out and I didn’t watch it, but I started about a month and a half ago. When I was done with training throughout the day I would just rip Game of Thrones episodes, got through the seventh season and I gotta watch the three new episodes from this last season and then I’ll be ready for Sunday, the new episode coming out.

So you’ve avoided spoilers?

I’ve avoided spoilers. I’ve heard it’s all good. Even the guys on the team, when we get into the locker room they’ll be talking about it, and I’m like yo, can’t talk about it around me. I’m just now getting into it. I’m a little behind but I’ll be ready for this Sunday. 

Has there been a more shocking moment in your career than the Red Wedding?

No. That was heartbreaking. That was up there with the playoff loss last year for sure. 

How much better can Anthony Miller be?

He can be scary good. There’s no limit on how good he could be, just how he runs routes, how he separates, and another year in this offense is going to help him along with everyone else just knowing where he needs to be and when, staying on my timing, and really setting up his routes and knowing when he can get the ball and when he’s going to open someone else up with his routes. The way he runs routes and how strong his hands are, he’s such a tough guy to cover. We just gotta continue to find ways to get him the ball and he’s going to make a lot of big plays and score a lot of touchdowns in this offense. 

Akiem Hicks said you were his favorite to win his (charity softball) home run derby, obviously excluding himself because he thinks he’s going to win it. How good a baseball player are you?

I haven’t played in a while. I got a pretty good swing. I was taking some batting practice this summer with Eloy (Jimenez) from the White Sox — he’s in our agency so we kind of share the same agents. I haven’t swung a bat in a while. I think I could surprise some people. I think I’m the favorite for the home run derby for sure. 

So Akiem Hicks said he and (defensive line coach) Jay Rodgers go together like Jack and Coke. What do you and Matt Nagy go together like?

Peanut butter and jelly. It’s gotta be peanut butter and jelly. There’s no better combination. 

Projected lineups for Eddie Jackson’s charity softball game

jackson-101.jpg
USA Today

Projected lineups for Eddie Jackson’s charity softball game

Eddie Jackson is hosting a charity softball game this Saturday, June 15th at Schamburg Boomers stadium at 5:05pm. It’ll be offense vs defense so let’s take an early look at what these lineups might look like for both teams.

Defense

1. Eddie Jackson

Has home run hitting ability in the leadoff spot and a flair for the dramatic. This rising star puts the pressure on the opposing pitcher from the very first pitch. Plus it’s his game, so of course he’s batting first.

2. Kyle Fuller

Tied for the NFL interception lead in 2018, Fuller’s combination of speed, instincts and film study  at the top of the lineup helps set the table for the big bats.

3. Akiem Hicks

As Ed O’Bradovich said at the 100 year celebration this past weekend, Khalil Mack “is a man-eater, but (Akiem Hicks) is the man who makes it happen.” It’s long been said you put your most important hitter in the 3-hole.

4. Khalil Mack

The quintessential cleanup hitter. Who else would you want in this spot?

5. Danny Trevathan

Provides world champion protection behind Mack in the likely event that the opponent tries to pitch around #52.

6. Roquan Smith

Just when an opponent think they’ve gotten thru the heart of the lineup, the 2018 rookie who came up just shy of Brian Urlacher’s franchise tackling mark is there to “break a man,” as he said right after his Bears intro press conference.

7. Ha-Ha Clinton Dix

Sliding this new addition into the 7-hole takes some of the pressure off of him to make an immediate impact, while also trapping pitchers into thinking they might get a break against a guy who has shown big play ability in the past.

8. Bilal Nichols

One of the most underrated players in the entire league is perfectly fine lurking at the bottom of the order. A second cleanup hitter, he’s happy consistently performing and making his teammates better. Everyone in this lineup knows how valuable he is.

9. Leonard Floyd

Still in a bit of a prove it spot, but if he consistently plays the way he’s shown shown flashes of, he could not only be dangerous in this spot, but he could climb up the lineup pretty quickly.

10. Prince Amukamara

Veteran who knows he’s there to do a job and turn the lineup over. His speed and ball skills make him a threat.

11. Buster Skrine

Another newcomer, let’s see what he’s got at the bottom of the order.

Offense

1. Taylor Gabriel   *Anthony Miller

We can all agree there’s no reason for Miller, a guy who dislocated his shoulder multiple times to be swinging a bat amiright?? Miller has the Willie Mayes Hayes swag you want from the leadoff man when healthy tho.

As for ‘Turbo’ Taylor Gabriel, of course you’re putting a guy who’s been clocked at 23 mph at the top of the lineup.

2. Tarik Cohen

Perfect spot for the swiss army knife of the offense. Could lay down a bunt and beat it out, move the runner, or even hit one to the gap and clear the bases.

3. Mitch Trubisky

The obvious spot for the leader of the offense and Akiem Hicks’ pick (outside himself) to win the home run derby part of this event. Let’s just hope he breaks out the punky QB headband and sunglasses look again this weekend.

4. Kyle Long

The most veteran member of the offensive line is there to protect the QB. Whether or not he’s even in the lineup, if anyone goes high and tight on # 10, better believe they’ll answer to #75.

5. Cody Whitehair

Some more muscle in the middle of the order. Has made it clear he’s good with moving around the lineup if the coaches think it’s best for the team.

6. Allen Robinson

Based on what we saw in the playoff game, he could be on his way to putting up big numbers anywhere in the batting order. Definitely a guy you want up late with the game on the line.

7. Charles Leno

Flies under the radar at one of the most important positions in football. If a pitcher thinks he’s in the clear after getting past Robinson, Leno will be there to throw a big block into that thinking.

8. Trey Burton / Adam Shaheen

When healthy, they provide some pop towards the bottom of the lineup. Let’s have Anthony Miller ready as the designated runner if these guys can get on base.

9. Bobby Massie

The ultimate team guy as he showed by signing a team friendly deal to stay in Chicago much earlier in the offseason than he had to.

10. James Daniels

As the new man in the middle on the offensive line, the burden falls on him to turn the lineup over and set the table for the speedy top of the order.

11. Mike Davis

Good spot to start for this new addition. Could easily see him towards the top of the lineup if he produces the way Matt Nagy & company thinks he can.

The defense has been ahead of the offense for pretty much the entire Pace/Nagy regime. But if Matt Nagy is involved, there’s sure to be no shortage of hidden ball tricks, squeezes and other trick plays with awesome names, so I might have to give a slight edge to the offense in this game.

The Bears are on summer break for the next 5 weeks. So what exactly will they be up to?

The Bears are on summer break for the next 5 weeks. So what exactly will they be up to?

For the second time in 2019, a field goal attempt sent the Bears on vacation.  

This time it was off the feet of Eddy Pineiro and Elliot Fry, both hitting kicks that wrapped up the team’s three days of veteran minicamp. Don’t tell them there weren’t stakes, either.

“They both nailed two 40-yard’ers down the middle so our guys got out of gassers, which was nice,” said Matt Nagy. “So if you heard any cheering, that’s why. Our guys think I’m nice and that if they would’ve missed it, they weren’t going to run anyway. But they were going to run.” 

And now, the Bears go on vacation for the next five weeks -- as mandated by the NFL -- before heading down to Bourbonnais in late July to start the highly-anticipated Year 2. 

What happens next depends on who you ask. For the Bears’ outside corners, coincidence or not, it’s off to bask in the arid heat of southwestern summers. 

“I like to go down to Arizona, where I’m from, and train at my high school,” Prince Amukamara said. “I’m probably not going to do any traveling, but I’ll train and probably get my mind off it a little bit.” 

“I like to get away somewhere a little bit quieter,” Kyle Fuller added. “I go to Arizona ... I play a lot of golf. That’s really it.” 

If you can believe it, Fuller won’t be the only professional football player hitting the links during his down time. For wide receiver Taylor Gabriel, who just recently picked it up, the next month or will be all about tinkering his swing. 

“I'm going to do a lot of golfing this little break,” Gabriel said. “I'm decent, I'm not that good, not just yet. Just two months in, give me a little time.” 

The sense around Halas Hall (and realistically most of the NFL’s other halls) is that the next five weeks will act more as a mental break than a physical one. For example: defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano requested that his unit watch just one hour of film per day. After two weeks of practices in which, on more than one occasion, Nagy had to tell the team to dial back the intensity, the goal is now to find whatever mindset is needed before The Grind starts. For some, that means radio silence. 

“Right now I'm about to go into my shell and I'm going to be hard to reach and hard to talk to,” said Akiem Hicks. “The only person that gets through is Mom.” 

Not everyone will go MIA, though. Trey Burton will stick around Lake Forest while he continues to rehab and get treatment for a sports hernia surgery he underwent this offseason. Mitch Trubisky has no plans to take it easy, either. 

“I’m not thinking about going home, I’m thinking about getting out here to practice in a little bit,” he said. “This is what I love to do, this is what we look forward to do.

“For me, you get to relax and take care of your body for a little bit, but I’m always thinking about football.”

For others, it means soaking up the much-needed time around loved ones that can prove to be elusive for 8 months of the NFL year. Eddie Jackson goes home to Florida to train with “the guys I started with, from when I was little.” Matt Nagy eschews his Bears visor for his Dad Hat, which presumably is also a visor. 

“I personally think it’s important that I make sure I’m still a good dad, a good husband, and during the season you don’t get any of that,” Nagy said. “And that’s your obligation. We’ll be going some places with my family and I’ll put football aside for a little bit, because that’ll make me better if I do that, and better in the season.”