Bears

Splitting up reps for Mitch Trubisky, Mike Glennon the ‘biggest challenge’ for Bears coaches

Splitting up reps for Mitch Trubisky, Mike Glennon the ‘biggest challenge’ for Bears coaches

Mitch Trubisky took part in his first practice at Halas Hall on Friday, running through drills and seven-on-seven work as the Bears began the development process for the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. 

An unpadded practice with a roster of rookies and veterans on tryouts isn’t exactly the time for far-reaching analyses of how Trubisky will grow with the Bears — “I don’t know that we’re quite ready after one practice to define his career,” coach John Fox quipped. But this weekend’s rookie minicamp is an opportunity for Trubisky to take almost all of the reps at quarterback before Mike Glennon, Mark Sanchez and Connor Shaw join him for OTAs later this month and in June. 

Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said the “biggest challenge” coaches have will be dividing up practice reps between their starting quarterback (Glennon) and their quarterback of the future (Trubisky). Shaw, too, is the only returning quarterback from last year’s roster, though he suffered a season-ending injury in the preseason.

“We have to be really smart with our plan and how we practice, because it’s not just one guy, it’s two guys and there’s Mark and there’s Connor,” Loggains said. “So we need to make sure that we’re getting everyone ready to play.”

While Fox didn’t rule out Trubisky winning the starting job by Week 1, as Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz did last year, the Bears have been adamant that Glennon will be their starting quarterback in 2017. But developing Trubisky likely requires giving him more reps than a typical backup may typically receive. 

Loggains emphasized the Bears will be flexible with how those practice reps are divided once they get a better opportunity to assess Glennon and Trubisky. One option could be to run longer practices, though that could be risky for a team that was sunk in part by plenty of significant injuries a year ago. 

If there’s a silver lining to Trubisky only starting 13 games at North Carolina, it’s that he learned how to grow while being a backup during his first three years on campus. Figuring how to take “mental reps” while on the sidelines was an important part of his growth, which culminated in 3,748 yards and 30 touchdowns his senior year. 

“It’s about how good you want to be,” Trubisky said. “You could get better every play whether you’re in there or not. So when you’re on the side, just going through the call in your head, going through your progressions, what you have to do as a quarterback, and just take every single rep whether you’re out there or not.”

Matt Nagy, Bears may be facing ironic end to 2020 preseason plans

Matt Nagy, Bears may be facing ironic end to 2020 preseason plans

Just when Matt Nagy actually wants to play his starters in preseason games, there might not be a preseason. 

Ironic, right?  

On Wednesday, Pro Football Talk reported what’s been anticipated for weeks: The NFL will cut its preseason schedule from four to two games. But, per NFL Network, the NFLPA hasn’t signed off on that reduction just yet – potentially because they’re hoping to not play any preseason games at all in 2020. 

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Bears news and analysis.

And why would the players want those games? All it’d be is another opportunity for team-to-team transmission of the novel coronavirus that’s still raging across the United States. And the NFL has very little monetary incentive to play these games, too, which would happen in front of empty stadiums and presumably don’t bring in much TV revenue anyway. 

So if playing these games would risk COVID-19 exposure – which is way more important than the next words you’re about to read – and wouldn’t negatively affect anyone’s bottom line, why play them?

Some coaches will argue they’re critical for getting players ready for the regular season. Nagy, up until this year, wasn’t among those coaches. Remember these tweets from last August?

“My biggest thing is I’m trying to do what’s best for the Chicago Bears, and every team is different, and that’s okay,” Nagy said last summer. “… We love where we’re at right now in regards to our starters. We feel really good about it.”

All the NFLPA has to do to argue against preseason games is point to how Nagy – as well as Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay – viewed the importance of those in the past. If teams felt prepared for the regular season without playing their starters in the preseason, why should that change in the midst of a pandemic? 

Nagy has since switched his thinking – this after a truly awful start on offense to the 2019 season – and committed to playing his starters during 2020’s preseason. Not only does Nagy need as many preseason games as possible to evaluate Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles, but he needs it for the rest of his offense to find an identity and rhythm quicker than they did last year (if they ever found one at all). 

So that means having Anthony Miller catch passes from both Trubisky and Foles in preseason games. That means getting the interior of the offensive line – whether it includes Germain Ifedi or Rashaad Coward at right guard – reps together in live action. That means getting Cole Kmet’s feet wet before throwing him into the deep end of the “Y” tight end position in September. 

“As we talk, that's one of the things that I look back at from last year that I'm not happy about that I made a decision to do in the preseason," Nagy said on the Waddle & Silvy Show in May. "Number one, I think it's good for them to have it, but number two it sets the mentality. 

“So that's not going to happen this year."

Except it might not happen. And probably shouldn’t. 

 

SUBSCRIBE TO THE UNDER CENTER PODCAST FOR FREE.

Bears' Allen Robinson included in Big 10's All-Decade team

Bears' Allen Robinson included in Big 10's All-Decade team

Here's some fun news for your holiday weekend. 

Bears WR Allen Robinson has been named to the Big 10 All-Decade team: 

A two-time Big 10 receiver of the year, Robinson finished his three-year career at Penn State with 177 catches for 2479 yards and 17 touchdowns. Seven years after he went into the NFL, Robinson's name is still all over the Penn State record board. Currently, he's: 

- 3rd all time in receptions
- 1st in single season receptions (97 in '13)
- 3rd in single game receptions (12)
- 4th in receiving yards
- 1st in single season receiving yards (1432, '13)
- 2nd in single season TD's (11, '12) 

He's also one of two receivers in Nittany Lion history to catch three touchdowns in multiple games. Allen Robinson: underrated in the NFL, but now properly rated by the NCAA.