Conducting his first press conference since being named Bears starting quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky exuded confidence and excitement Tuesday at Halas Hall.
The rookie first-round pick was informed that he would replace Mike Glennon Monday night against the Vikings via a phone call from coach John Fox on Sunday night.
“I feel like I’m ready,” Trubisky said. “We’ve got a whole week of preparation to get ready for Monday night. I’m excited. I’ll just continue day-to-day and just prepare as hard as I possibly can for every single look and situation we can get on Monday.
“I’m just going to be depending on my teammates a lot. My job is to get the ball to the playmakers and just be a distributor and manage the offense as best I can.”
The Bears traded up one spot in the draft to select Trubisky with the second pick, their highest choice since taking Notre Dame quarterback Bob Williams second in 1951.
The North Carolina product steadily improved throughout offseason practices and training camp. He then exceeded expectations in the preseason, completing 36 of 53 passes for 364 yards with three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 106.2 passer rating.
The performance earned Trubisky a promotion to the No. 2 spot on the depth chart behind Glennon and ahead of veteran Mark Sanchez entering the regular season.
“I thought he had an outstanding camp,” Fox said. “He got to play through four preseason games. We got to watch him in practice in preparation for the first four regular-season games. I thought he made great strides, even through camp, being new to our offense. I just felt like he was kind of ready for the next step.”
Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone have been impressed with how quickly Trubisky learned the offense and has been able to identify defenses and make the required adjustments in pass protection.
“I would say I’ve come a long way, just based on different defenses we see,” Trubisky said. “I see a lot more odd fronts than I did in college; that’s something I had to learn a lot about. I’ve come a long way in learning protections and knowing when you’re hot, when you need to change protections.”
Trubisky credits his coaches as well as veteran quarterbacks Glennon and Sanchez with aiding his development.
“Coach Ragone and coach Dowell Loggains have helped me a lot and Mike and Mark have been in my ear all the time sitting down with me and teaching me things,” Trubisky said. “There’s still a lot to learn, but I’ve come a long way for sure.”
Even though Trubisky didn’t get any reps in the first four regular season games, he feels that he improved while operating the scout team in practice.
“It was an interesting experience,” Trubisky said. “I’ve done it before in college. You get out of it what you put in, and that could go for a lot in life. You can get better as much as you want to improve at it.
“I attacked it like I did anything else I’ve been through; just try to get better every day, every single rep, and I think I did improve from it. You don’t necessarily see big strides, but hopefully you can take a little thing here and there that can help you down the road. I think it will help me be a better quarterback and person.”
Bears fans who’ve waited a lifetime for a franchise quarterback naturally are ecstatic about Trubisky making his first start. But the 23-year-old rookie insists that he isn’t affected by the hoopla.
“I really don’t pay much attention to it,” Trubisky said. “I guess that’s pretty much the territory it comes with, being a high draft pick. But that’s nothing I can control. I can only control how great of a teammate I am on a daily basis and what I can do for my teammates as a leader and on the field and just bring this team closer together and help win football games. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
While expectations for Trubisky are sky high, at least among fans and the media, the reality is that rookie quarterbacks typically experience peaks and valleys.
“It can be smooth, it can be rough like any player you throw out there,” Fox said. “There will be some ups and downs I’m sure. You go back to [rookie running back] Tarik Cohen. He’s had some successes and he probably has a few plays he’d like to have back. But like any player, they get to define that and we’re about to find out Monday night.”