The idea that Mitchell Trubisky can “raise all boats,” in John Fox parlance, was a theory about the No. 2 overall pick during offseason workouts and training camp. On Monday night, that theory became based in reality: Bears players felt like Trubisky made them better, though it didn’t lead to necessarily cleaner play.
But how Tre McBride III, who got his first significant action (43 offensive snaps) on Monday, described what Trubisky brought to the team is telling:
“As far as I was concerned, I felt his confidence and I bought into that and it drove me to get my confidence where it needed to be,” McBride said. “And that’s really important as a quarterback, as a leader of the offense, that your confidence is able to be seen by your counterparts. That’s what I definitely recognize.”
McBride only recorded one catch on one official target, but he had a spectacular 26-yard reception — that would’ve moved the Bears to the Minnesota Vikings’ 9-yard line — that was wiped out by a Cody Whitehair holding penalty. He nearly reeled in a Trubisky deep ball in the second quarter, only to have offensive pass interference called against him (“it was the last thing I was expecting,” McBride said of that flag).
That energy Trubisky provided didn’t lead to a win or even a good stat line (12/25, 128 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT). But it’s part of the reason the Bears are confident in what Trubisky can do even as he works through some of the growing pains of being a rookie quarterback.
The first teaching point for Trubisky: He doesn’t need to make a big play when facing a first-and-10 deep in his own territory with the game tied late in the fourth quarter.
“He's got to play,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “And you have to understand situational football. It’s first-and-10, you don't need to make that play. You're on the edge and I do love the fact that he's aggressive, but it’s first-and-10, understand the situation, we're backed up, let's be smart, let's find a completion, let's get to our check down, let's run gets what we can and get out of bounds, that's really the biggest thing that you talk to him about.”
Trubisky still is learning how much tighter the windows are in the NFL compared to college and what plays he can and can’t make anymore. But the Bears also don’t want to coach the aggressiveness out of a quarterback who last week described himself as having a “gunslinger” mentality.
The good news: Trubisky doesn’t sound like someone who’s losing that aggressiveness anytime soon.
“You can’t be scared,” Trubisky said. “You’ve just got to think every time the ball’s in your hand that it’s going to be a completion, my guy’s going to come down with it, so when you’re extending plays you’re not thinking negatively. You’re being aggressive and you’re playing the game.”
Plays like the interception and the near-26-yard completion to McBride are all part of the learning process for Trubisky. As he continues to gain experience, the Bears are confident he’ll continue to show progress — all while elevating the play of everyone around him.
“He can create things, he can make people around him better and he’s only going to be able to keep doing that,” tight end Zach Miller said.