LAKE FOREST – A significant and almost certainly disproportionate amount of the blame for the Bears’ offensive debacle last week has been laid at the feet of Mitch Trubisky, and meeting the media Wednesday for the first time since that Thursday night opener, he appeared perhaps a tad shell-shocked by it all.
“It was a long ,weird weekend after playing on Thursday and then just sitting on that for a couple days,” he said. “Got to think about it a lot and see what went wrong.”
The young quarterback seemed a bit quieter and more laid back Wednesday than he has been in the past, and perhaps maybe even a bit less scripted.
Which may be an interesting issue to delve into.
People keep asking, “What about Trubisky’s confidence; how is he going to bounce back?
“What are head coach Matt Nagy and QBs coach Dave Ragone doing to make sure he doesn’t get too down?”
Is that really the issue with Trubisky at this point? I’m not so sure.
Trubisky talks a lot about what he and his offense are capable of as a team and often has expressed excitement about what that might be. But I’ve never heard him in the same neighborhood with cocky or arrogant.
At the same time, he never has appeared timid, uncertain or worried about whether he can get the job done at quarterback.
What I do worry about, however, is how often he tends to sound like he’s reading from a script or answering questions with coach-speak that almost sounds rehearsed.
How well do we know the real Mitch Trubisky?
Do we know him at all?
Asked Wednesday if he was worried about facing Vic Fangio on Sunday because of how well he knows Trubisky and the Bears’ offense, Trubisky said, “We gotta mix it up a little bit.
“You gotta do some things that he won’t expect, and just try to keep him off balance.
“I think if all 11 guys in our offense are doing our jobs, then the game’s going to go the way that we want it.
“We want to dictate the tempo, how they’re reacting to us and just do things that he won’t expect, necessarily.”
OK, maybe I’m overthinking this, but does that sound like the answer you’d expect from one of the less experienced 25-year-old QBs in the league, or something he heard his coach say?
Pushing me further down this path is there were two occasions Wednesday during his 12 minutes with the media when he looked to a team staff member before answering questions.
I can’t remember ever seeing that from a Bears player before.
Getting inside a 25-year-old’s head is harder than playing quarterback in the NFL, and this much I’m sure of: Whatever may be holding Trubisky back isn’t physical.
Listen to Trubisky’s answer when asked what might have been good about last Thursday night.
“Yeah, um I feel good about the way I threw it and not all the decisions, but the ball felt great coming out of may hand,” he said.
Nagy pretty much echoed that Monday and Wednesday.
As the NFL’s second-leading rushing quarterback in 2018 while compiling a 95-plus passer rating, Trubisky has shown us he has all the physical tools necessary to succeed.
Clearly it is field generalship everyone is looking for from him now, and I can’t escape the feeling after observing him Wednesday that maybe instead of constantly picking apart what he needs to learn, what he needs to do better to take the next step, maybe it’s just time to let Mitch be Mitch.
Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace talk constantly about the culture they’ve built and are building, and the two things Nagy preaches more than anything else are “The game is supposed to be fun; we have to have fun,” and, of course, “Be you!”
Trubisky doesn’t appear to be having a lot of fun right now; in fact, maybe none at all.
Is it possible a big part of that is Nagy and Co. are so focused on conjuring a franchise quarterback in their quarterback lab that Trubisky isn’t being allowed to “be you?”
• Hub Arkush is executive editor of Pro Football Weekly. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter @Hub_Arkush.