Bears see more comfortable Trubisky emerging as leader
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By ANDREW SELIGMAN
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) As he prepares for his second season, Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky can sense the difference and so can his teammates.
It's the faith in him and the leadership he's showing.
"I love the position I'm in and the leadership role," Trubisky said Wednesday.
"I have to know the guys are looking at me. Come out every day and bring the energy and make sure I'm taking care of my business so that everyone else's job is easier around them, too. That's what I'm trying to do and I love the responsibility and I'm just very excited for the continuous opportunities to move forward and move this team."
How far the Bears go largely hinges on the development of their quarterback.
General manager Ryan Pace banked on a big payoff when he traded up a spot with San Francisco last year to draft Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick. He then largely designed the offseason game plan around his young quarterback.
The Bears hired the offensive-minded Matt Nagy off Andy Reid's staff in Kansas City to replace the fired John Fox and overhauled their receiving group, with Allen Robinson the most notable addition.
They also added some potential difference makers in the draft, taking Iowa lineman James Daniels and Memphis receiver Anthony Miller in the second round.
More than anything, they believe they surrounded Trubisky with the pieces he needs to reach his potential and invigorate a struggling franchise.
The Bears have four straight last-place finishes in the NFC North and just one playoff appearance since the 2006 team reached the Super Bowl.
Along with the new additions, the Bears are seeing a more comfortable and confident Trubisky.
"He is in more control now," running back Tarik Cohen said. "He knows the players. He can really call us out. When you're a rookie, you're hesitant to really jump on guys. He's taken over more of the reins. He's in the driver's seat now."
It's a different feeling for a quarterback who wasn't even supposed to play last season. With just 13 college starts at North Carolina, the Bears planned to have him watch from the sideline.
Instead, Mike Glennon struggled and Trubisky started the final 12 games. It was a tough spot for a raw but talented rookie.
And though he showed some promise, he clearly had room to grow. It didn't help that he was working with a struggling receiving group hit hard by injuries.
It all added up to an offense that ranked 30th overall and finished in the bottom half for the third time in four years.
But whether it's the new system and pieces around him or just the fact that he's no longer a rookie, Trubisky is more comfortable. He's embracing the responsibility that comes with his role, and he can sense the mounting faith in him.
"Nothing gives me more confidence than when my teammates believe in me," Trubisky said.
He's still facing a steep learning curve. The same goes for his teammates and the coaches. They're all adjusting.
"That's part of being out here, too, with these guys, the nuances of things, the year-to-year editing that you do," new offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich said.
The system is "100 percent" Nagy's, Helfrich said.
As for Trubisky?
"I really like his mindset," Helfrich said.
He sees a quarterback who's not afraid to ask questions as he grows into the job.
"I think we all see through his eyes on a lot of things and through his brain and how he thinks through things," Helfrich said.
"That's a big part of it, too is just learning how that guy sees things and being able to talk and teach to that. Today he made some mistakes, today he corrected some guys, but he'll throw that away and build from the good stuff and continue to kind of add a little bit more each day."
NOTES: WR Kevin White said the conversation with general manager Ryan Pace was "clean cut and smooth" when he found out the Bears weren't picking up his fifth-year option. He also said he is feeling "really good" as he works his way back from a broken shoulder. Drafted seventh overall in 2015 and Pace's first pick as a general manager, White has been limited to five games because of leg and shoulder injuries.
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Updated May 23, 2018