Between a new playbook and a slew of new pass-catching targets, the Chicago Bears’ passing offense in 2018 was bound to look better than it did last year. But before Mitch Trubisky was going to benefit from all the new and shiny gadgetry around him, he needed to let go of the past.
Let’s allow Head Coach Matt Nagy to explain: “We threw a lot at him at training camp and he handled it really well. The success – because there were some failures in the learning process – was there and I was alright with that. There were some interceptions, we were trying to teach him how to be aggressive and throw downfield. But I think we broke that pattern and now he’s good there.” Wait a minute … stop it right there!
Nagy has essentially admitted what many of us had long assumed (and kinda feared): Trubisky needed to unlearn what he had learned under the previous regime. Because while ball security and making safe decisions can be valuable to winning football games, there’s a risk calculus that the coaching from the old regime never developed in Trubisky. That left Nagy and the new coaching staff with the difficult task of re-programing their young QB, which doesn’t sound like a walk in the park.
So, how does one go about teaching something a previous instructor never did? “When you’re teaching it, you’re showing it on tape and you’re also reminding him all the time that if there’s a play called with a shot involved go ahead and take. This went back to training camp where the risk isn’t as big for going downfield and having an interception in practice because you’re testing it out. You’re seeing what wide receivers can you trust that it’s not going to be an interception and you’re testing out where you are with your timing in your drop to them. That part is actually easy as a coach because as a quarterback, when you’re being told to throw the ball down field and test it, most quarterbacks want to do it and he’s one of them so it’s just a matter of doing it.”
This isn’t the first time someone close to Trubisky has shared these sentiments.
Back in June, backup Chase Daniel said flushing the old offense out of Trubisky’s system would be a challenge, but that he had seen growth in the Bears starting quarterback, as he started to gain knowledge of the new offense. Clearly, part of that was unlearning the unhelpful habits that were coached into him during his rookie season. But if Nagy is spot on and Trubisky has tossed the garbage from his system, there will be more development to come.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) November 7, 2018