Chicago Bears

What you need to know from Mitch Trubisky’s near-perfect Thursday night

trubisky-810.jpg
AP

What you need to know from Mitch Trubisky’s near-perfect Thursday night

1. Mitch Trubisky was magnificent, but…

So, who’s ready to read way too much into preseason stats? After Mike Glennon struggled (more on that in a bit) and a brief, inconspicuous interlude from Mark Sanchez, Mitch Trubisky took over at the second quarter two-minute warning with the ball at midfield…and promptly marched the Bears into the end zone, completing all four of his passes. In just one series, Trubisky threw for more yards (24) than Glennon did in four (20), and his two-yard touchdown to Victor Cruz sent the Bears into halftime with some positivity.

What we saw from Trubisky during that two-minute stretch wasn’t any different than what we’ve seen during practice in Bourbonnais — the athleticism, arm strength and accuracy all showed up at Soldier Field Thursday night. And it continued into the second half.

The Bears scored their first possession of the second half — Trubisky nearly threw a touchdown to Rueben Randle, who was tackled just shy of the goal line — and after his first two drives, he was 9/9 for 74 yards with a quarterback rating of 138 (his QB rating actually went down after completing his 10th of 10 passes, a nine-yard gain).

Trubisky’s evening was breathtaking, but he’s had an up-and-down training camp in which he hasn’t been able to string good days together. Perhaps Thursday night can propel him to starting rolling good practices, which — if he’s able to do that — could mean he’ll enter the season as the Bears’ backup, instead of staying where he is now at No. 3 on the depth chart.

Still, here’s what Trubisky, earlier this week, said he hoped to accomplish from his first preseason game.

“Just play great situational football, control the game,” Trubisky said. “Each time I’m in there with my teammates just show command at the line of scrimmage, drive the ball down the field, be efficient, pick up first downs and hopefully finish in the end zone a couple times. It’s all about taking care of the football, going out there having fun and doing my job.”

Mission accomplished.

2. Mike Glennon didn’t help his narrative.

Throwing a pick-six on his first series as the Bears’ QB1 and ending his day with a quarterback rating of 0.0 was a pretty rough first impression for Mike Glennon. The Bears’ offense didn’t have any spark while he was quarterbacking it, outside of a handful of electric carries from Tarik Cohen. And Glennon couldn’t connect with Cam Meredith on a deep ball when it looked like the Berwyn native had separated a bit down the sideline.

Thursday was a stark reminder that, while Glennon remains in line to be the Bears’ starting quarterback Sept. 10, he still has plenty of developing to do. Glennon’s had both good and bad days since the Bears reported to training camp in late July, but this one was about as awful as possible and came on a much grander stage. How he — and his teammates — respond from it over the next few days of practice will be interesting to watch.

3. The defense showed some positive signs.

Maybe a little lost in the Glennon disappointment/Trubisky hype was that Vic Fangio’s defense had a solid day. Leonard Floyd sacked Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian on the Bears’ first defensive snap of the game, and we saw big plays from Bryce Callahan and Jonathan Bullard as well. It wasn’t until Isaiah McKenzie embarrassed the Bears’ third/fourth-string secondary midway through the fourth quarter that Denver’s offense scored a touchdown.

While reading into one preseason game is, of course, dangerous and foolish, a thought here: Some key players on that side of the ball have noted that they’re playing faster with a better knowledge of Fangio’s system. Defensive end Akiem Hicks is one of those second-year guys (as are Floyd and Bullard) in the defense, who explained the year-to-year improvement earlier this week.

 

“Through the things that we installed last year and being able to see those things again, you get just a little bit faster at them,” Hicks said. “You don’t have to look for as many keys. You say to yourself — OK, I got this. Now I see that, let’s go, rather than scanning the whole field. I think that happens when you’re in a scheme for more than a year, going into our second year.”

What you need to know from Bears practice: Kyle Long gets ankle checked out, expresses remorse for Monday fights

What you need to know from Bears practice: Kyle Long gets ankle checked out, expresses remorse for Monday fights

Coach John Fox said Kyle Long expressed “remorse” and was “embarrassed” after being kicked out of Monday’s final training camp practice in Bourbonnais for sparking a pair of skirmishes with teammates.

Long hasn’t been available to the media since his pair of physical outbursts on Monday, and wasn’t at practice Wednesday. Fox said Long was at a doctor’s appointment to get his surgically-repaired ankle checked out, but is expected to be back at practice on Thursday.

Long’s father, NFL on Fox analyst Howie Long, addressed his son’s practice ejection on the Rich Eisen Show on Tuesday.

“He’s gotta get it under control,” Long said. “It’s one of those things where you’re coming back from injury and you’re switching positions, maybe you’re not where you want to be right now.”

Fox said “everything’s fine” with Long after talking with him, and understood where he could be frustrated by slowly being eased back into full team activities during practice (and possibly not playing in any preseason games).

“I think any time a player's injured, they get something that they love taken away from them,” Fox said. “It's been a minute, there's some pain and suffering that goes along with it and I'm sure those are things. But we have a lot of resources here, Kyle knows he's loved here, by his teammates and by everyone in the building. He'll get through it and we talked about that and I think he feels confident in that.”

From the sick bay

Cornerback Prince Amukamara didn’t participate in practice Wednesday due to a strained hamstring and is day-to-day, Fox said. Wide receiver Markus Wheaton had surgery on his fractured pinkie, too, Fox said.

There was some good news for the Bears on Wednesday, though, with Jeremy Langford and Mark Sanchez both participating in practice. Langford isn’t quite back to full health after spraining his ankle during a walkthrough in July, but sounded confident he can get back to that level.

“I think my main thing is getting back to 100 percent and being the player that I am and can be, and the rest will take care of itself,” Langford said.

Mitch Trubisky isn't buying (or paying attention to) the hype around him

Mitch Trubisky isn't buying (or paying attention to) the hype around him

Mitch Trubisky has to at least be aware of the hype he created with his standout preseason debut last week, right? 

“I don’t know what hype you’re taking about,” Trubisky said. “I don’t pay attention to it.”

This is coming from a guy who earlier during training camp said he’s “so good” at tuning out the outside noise, whether it’s coming from social media or traditional media. But even if Trubisky was playing coy and is aware of what’s being said and debated about him, he didn’t sound like someone willing to buy into that hype.

“I think it’s just a small step in the right direction,” Trubisky said of his first preseason game. “I still got a lot of work to do. I was pleased with how I played, but plenty more mistakes are going on during practice for me that I need to work on and continue to improve in my game and make sure when I go out there that I’m doing my job to help other people do their job.”

The mistakes Trubisky identified he made in the Denver game are about what you’d expect from a rookie quarterback making the transition from a college spread offense to the NFL (like taking the wrong drop). The Broncos second/third/fourth-string defenses didn’t throw much at him, either, so a lot of his work on identifying blitzes and setting protections is having to happen in practice. 

So there is plenty on which for Trubisky to work during practices and the Bears’ remaining three preseason games. Like coach John Fox — who said after Thursday’s game he wouldn’t blow up the depth chart for one preseason game — Trubisky wasn’t putting a whole lot of emphasis on what he did against Denver, as good as it may have been. 

“I think it just showed me that I’m making progress, that I could go out there and lead and do my job like I wanted to show,” Trubisky said. “But it was just a small sample. It was the first game, and you just gotta continue to be consistent in reproducing it. that’s why we’re out here working and practicing.”