MONSTER’S MASH: The growth continues for Mitch and Matt
LAKE FOREST – For those hoping for an explosive offense right from the start, one that would be taking shots down the field early and often, you might have to wait.
As much as fans would have hoped the offense would be the start of the 2018 Chicago Bears, the truth is that the building under Matt Nagy’s new complicated system is going to take some time. Especially with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who is still learning his way around the schemes while also building his own NFL repertoire.
Hence the first two games have seen good and bad from the quarterback. There are back-to-open long, 10-play opening drives to start the first two games with touchdowns. But there was the second half slowdown against the Packers and two interceptions against the Seahawks, plus the lack of long plays has some already wondering if Trubisky is the one to lead the Bears to the promise land.
Naturally the chatter continues this week as the Bears enter their third game of the season against the Cardinals in Arizona. It will be the quarterback’s third full game in the system after two games that featured both the positive and the negative.
For his part, Trubisky seems to be aware of the chatter on this play during his weekly news conference at Halas Hall, but he continues to focus on a critical factor in his development: Building a solid on-field relationship with Nagy.
“Were getting closer and closer. It’s going to be a process and the more time we can spend together, I think the closer we’ll definitely be. The communication between coach Nagy has been awesome,” said Trubisky. “Watching film together, talking through the plays, telling him what I’m comfortable with, what I like, what plays he really loves, how he’s seeing the defense as well. Just the communication, trying to become one brain wavelength.
“Just thinking the same thing and going through the same thought processes. It’s a work in progress but it’s going really well and he’s been a great help for sure.”
Yet the success of this offense, according to Nagy, has a lot to do with the coach’s own growth in his ability to call a game. The coach admitted that his own flow of play calls is still a work in progress, just like Trubisky’s grasp of the scheme.
“Everyone is talking about Mitch right now and him growing in the offense, so there is also the other side of it, which is with me being the playcaller,” said Nagy. “When you can get into a rhythm, whether it’s in Kansas City with the offense we had there with Coach (Andy) Reid and him getting into a rhythm or myself when I started calling plays. We’re gonna have different plays that fit our offense, so I’m learning that too.
“They’re might be some plays that were just bread and butter in Kansas City that aren’t bread and butter here. That’s OK, so I’m learning that, and once I start myself figuring that out and then the quarterback starts figuring that out and the players around him, the wide receivers start molding it all together like a piece of clay, then it will start coming to fruition.”
ALLEN’S GOT MITCH’S BACK
Mitch’s favorite target so far with the Bears has been the man who many expect to catch some of those deep passes once they find their way into the play calling.
Allen Robinson has been targeted 21 times during the first two games, including 14 on Monday night against the Seahawks. He managed to catch ten of those passes at Soldier Field, his first double-digit catch game since December of 2015.
He’s heard some of the rumblings about Trubisky and some wondering about his handling of the offense, but he was quick to come to his quarterback’s defense.
“I think he’s handled everything tremendously well. Again there is a lot on his plate, and like I said before, I think he’s done well,” said Robinson on Trubisky. “We do a lot of different things on the offensive side of the ball. Like I said, it’s not always been great at times on offense, but in certain situations, as far as Week 1 or Week 2 in a game, when we’ve needed points, when we’ve needed drives, when we need to move the ball, we’ve were able to do that.”
STAT OF THE WEEK – 20
The number of years since the Bears last dropped a game to the Cardinals in Arizona.
That was on October 11, 1998, when the hosts beat the Bears 20-7 at Sun Devil Stadium. Former Bears head coach Marc Trestman was the offensive coordinator for the Cardinals team that would make the playoffs as a Wild Card and advance to the Divisional Round.