Trubisky ready to make his debut as Bears take on Vikings
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Unfazed by all the hoopla surrounding his highly anticipated debut, Mitchell Trubisky insisted he is ready.
The prized rookie quarterback takes his spot under the spotlight when the Chicago Bears host the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night.
“I really don’t pay much attention to it, but I guess that’s pretty much the territory it comes with, being a high draft pick,” Trubisky said. “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.”
It’s something the Bears (1-3) haven’t done much of in recent years. They’re last in the NFC North after finishing at the bottom of the division a year ago, and their plan to have Trubisky mostly observe from the sideline this season got buried under a mountain of turnovers by Mike Glennon.
He committed eight in the first four games, and the Bears made the switch after a blowout loss at Green Bay. Coach John Fox informed Trubisky he was starting last Sunday night, and the team announced the move the following day.
“He is not a magic wand,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said.
But he is the most important player on the roster. His development could ultimately determine whether general manager Ryan Pace’s tenure is a success.
The two became linked when the Bears made a big move on draft night , trading up a spot with San Francisco to grab him with the No. 2 overall pick. Pace was convinced that Trubisky would not be available at No. 3, so he made the deal to get his QB.
Now, the Bears will start to see what they have — sooner than they anticipated.
“Everyone has different experiences,” Loggains said. “Sometimes the best thing is just to get out there and go do it; the best way to learn is to make mistakes and just don’t make the same mistake twice.”
The four quarterbacks taken in the top two in the two previous drafts — Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz — experienced some difficulties. And despite his mobility and strong arm, Trubisky comes with limited college experience.
He made 13 starts at North Carolina, all in a spectacular junior season in 2016 after backing up Marquise Williams for two years. He hasn’t played in a meaningful game since a loss to Stanford in the Sun Bowl.
Trubisky performed well enough in the preseason to land the No. 2 quarterback job over Mark Sanchez. But he did it against mostly fringe players.
The Vikings (2-2) won’t hold anything back. Not with an aggressive defense led by havoc-wreaking edge rushers in Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter and a top run-stopper in nose tackle Linval Joseph.
“You know, you just rush,” Griffen said. “You rush. You stop the run first and foremost. They’ve got a good running game: (Jordan) Howard, he’s a strong back. He likes to hit the hole downhill, a north and south runner. They’ve got some good wideouts that they can get the ball to, but at the end of the day we’ve got to stop the run because they’re going to run the ball against us, and they’re going to throw play actions, play-action passes. I don’t think they will give us drop-back passes at all, but who knows?”
Though the Bears have two productive running backs in Howard and Tarik Cohen, Trubisky is by no means in an easy spot. He’ll be working with a largely unproductive wide receivers group that has been hit hard by injuries, with Cameron Meredith and 2015 first-round pick Kevin White out.
But his ability to move in and out of the pocket and extend plays — skills Glennon lacked — could create opportunities downfield. Only four of Glennon’s 93 completions were for 20 or more yards, and Chicago’s wide receivers have just 39 receptions.
“I think with them putting Mitch in there, it’s kind of like hitting the reset button and starting over,” receiver Markus Wheaton said.
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