Bears receiver Taylor Gabriel took it a step further on Wednesday, calling Trubisky’s offseason transformation "drastic" as compared to this time last year, when the 24-year-old signal-caller was admittedly in the learning phases of head coach Matt Nagy’s offense.
“Mitch is confident back there,” Gabriel said. “He's confident in switching the playcalls. He's confident in, I mean, giving us a double move. We've got a lot of double moves out there. He's confident in what he's looking at. He's not just trying to figure out what the play is. Now, he gets to look up and look at the coverage. So I feel like, like I said, it's just a drastic change from last year.”
Trubisky thrived last year under Nagy, who rescued the team from the predictable and mundane offense that the Bears ran in Trubisky’s rookie season.
Nagy brought the Andy Reid system from the Kansas City Chiefs to Chicago, but he sprinkled in enough wrinkles in the weekly game plan to keep defenses off balance. The creative nature of Nagy’s playbook also afforded the opportunity to sometimes cover up for Trubisky, who started just one full season in college.
The Bears also added offensive firepower that did not exist under the previous regime, signing wide receivers Allen Robinson and Gabriel and tight end Trey Burton in free agency. Chicago later drafted promising Memphis wideout Anthony Miller in the second round, and it further expanded all-purpose threat Tarik Cohen’s role on offense.
Trubisky passed for 3,223 yards, 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and posted a 95.4 passer rating (he also rushed for 421 yards and three touchdowns) during Chicago’s ascension from worst to first in the NFC North to finish 12-4. The Bears lost a first-round home playoff game to the Philadelphia Eagles, but Trubisky’s overall sophomore campaign was a success.
The expectations for Trubisky will be even higher in Year 3, a reality he understands and embraces.
“I got a lot better grasp of the offense,” Trubisky said on Wednesday. “We’re way ahead as far as timing, operation, getting to the line of scrimmage, getting in and out, adjustment on all of our plays and just knowing where to go with the football, especially against all of these different looks that we’re seeing that the defense is throwing at us. So I feel like we’ve done really well. I feel like I have improved my game. We just have to keep getting better.
“But I think just knowing the offense a lot better, knowing the plays that we are already installing and just going back through them and becoming even more detailed with them, I think that gives you confidence as a player -- because when you know where to go with the football, you can kind of control the defense more with your eyes and rhythm and anticipate throws as opposed to reacting to throws. That is something I have been working on. It’s given me a lot of confidence, and just my guys believing in me gives me the most confidence.”