VERNON HILLS – It was a night to step back into the past for these professional players, yet at the same time getting a glimpse of what they’re immediate future will be like.
Certainly a practice at Vernon Hills High School brought back memories of past glory for Mitchell Trubisky and other Bears as they went under the “Friday Night Lights” on a Wednesday.
“I definitely never had anything, as a high school kid, having an NFL team come to practice,” said the quarterback, who played for Mentor High School in Ohio. “It’s nice to give back, and when we step on the field, it’s got to be business for us.”
Hence how this practice that harkens back to days of the past is critical to the team’s future, even if their game Saturday as Soldier Field is just an exhibition.
Now in the team’s fourth preseason game, the second-to-last before the regular season, new head coach Matt Nagy gets more of a chance to run his group through a real game week. Since a majority of the starters will see significant time against the Chiefs, the coaching staff is introducing a more structured plan of plays and scouting reports of the opponents.
This is as real as it can get before September 9th when the Bears open the season against the Packers in Green Bay, and Trubisky’s trying to take advantage.
“I get to know a lot more about my opponent, a lot more preparing going into it,” said Trubisky of getting a game plan for the week. “So it’s been fun learning how Coach Nagy game plans throughout the week and just preparing with the rest of the quarterbacks and just getting used to our schedule and how we’re going to be organized throughout the week. Just going through and get ready.
“It’s been really smooth and it’s going really well.”
As expected, the first game with Trubisky in for significant time in the preseason had it’s crests and valleys. The offense opened the game with a 51-yard drive, though it ended in a missed field goal. Later Trubisky led a 75-yard march that ended with a touchdown pass to Trey Burton. But there was a dropped snap that led to a safety and an interception, all part of the quarterback’s 9-of-14 day for 90 yard performance.
That was a little under a half of work for Trubisky, who’ll likely get some more on Saturday against the Chiefs.
“Be more efficient. Obviously scoring points is a bit emphasis in this offense and I think with us it just starts with positive plays and getting that first, first down within a series,” said Trubisky of his hopes for the fourth preseason game. “Just finish in the endzone and not beating ourselves – no penalties, no turnovers. That’s something we’ve been focused on.”
While there might be more structure to the preparation this week, don’t expect the layers of Nagy’s scheme to be completely pulled back. You’ll have to wait a bit for that.
“We’re holding a bunch in, then it will all come to fruition in the regular season,” said Trubisky. “We’ve got a lot of plans and a lot of high expectations for this offense, especially for myself so we just need to continue to get better and better and hopefully those exciting plays will come to life during the regular season.”
At least that time is getting a little closer by the day.