Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky still feels the Bears are his team, despite the fact Chicago general manager Ryan Pace announced in April that the team intends to hold an open preseason competition between Trubisky and veteran Nick Foles, whom the Bears acquired from Jacksonville at the onset of free agency.
"Yeah, it was kind of interesting to me [when the Bears traded for Foles]," Trubisky said on Zoom call with Chicago reporters on Friday -- the quarterback's first media availability in close to five and a half months.
"But that's the business we are in. I think I was kind of pissed off in a good way. I've been motivated ever since. I think it's going to be a good competition. Foles has had a crazy career as well, so it's been cool having him in our room talking ball. I know we're going to push each other. But I still feel like this is my team and I'm excited for the competition and just get back on the field with my guys and show everybody what I can still do and how hard I've been working this offseason to help the Bears win games this year."
Trubisky, the second overall pick in 2017, finished last season 28th in total QBR (39.4), tied for 27th in touchdown passes (17), 21st in passing yards (3,138), 32nd in yards gained per pass attempt (6.1) and 28th in traditional quarterback rating (83.0) -- numbers that compelled the Bears to send a fourth-round compensatory draft choice to Jacksonville for Foles, whose restructured contract pays him $12 million in total cash in 2020 and can be voided (by Foles) in 2021.
In May, the Bears declined Trubisky's $24.8 million fifth-year option, a decision Trubisky understood given the on-field problems he endured in 2019.
"I feel like the way I played last year didn't merit that, so I wasn't all that surprised," Trubisky said.
"...I think overall it [last year] had to do with health and then lack of details on offense. So, I think if we work on those two things -- obviously health comes down to a little bit of luck and having everybody's body right, ready to go for this season. And then, we just got to be more detailed. We've got to be more locked into our game plans week-in, week-out, everybody's got to be on the same page and when we get to Sunday it's gotta all be about execution.
"I felt like we lacked details overall on offense, myself included, especially; if we're on top of those this year and we just hold each other accountable to the standard we know we're capable of, then we'll have a lot more success and win more games. We definitely have the talent. I think it just comes down to being disciplined, playing smart football and everybody doing their jobs to perfection. Those are two of the main focuses that I came away with looking at last year."
The 25-year old quarterback played most of last year with a partially torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder. Trubisky underwent surgery in January to repair the shoulder and -- by all accounts -- appears to be healthy. The NFL has been forced to conduct a virtual offseason because of the coronavirus pandemic, but Trubisky has organized small, private workouts with teammates where the quarterback regularly throws to receivers.
In 2018, Matt Nagy's first season as head coach, the Bears went 12-4 as Trubisky passed for 3,223 yards, 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and rushed for 421 yards and three touchdowns.
"It's hard right now [to get a feel for where Mitch is at]," Nagy said on Wednesday. "I can tell by the questions that he's asked [and how he responds to them in virtual meetings]. But other than that, it's really hard, and that's why whatever he's doing right now to prepare himself for 2020, it's gonna show immediately when we get together. And that's the exciting part. So it's really hard. I'd be lying to you if I said I could tell a major difference. But what I can tell is he shows up every single day; he asks great questions; he's always involved heavily, and the same goes with Nick as well. Both of those guys have done a really good job with that."
Trubisky's future is the most discussed football topic in Chicago. For his part, Trubisky, who could be a free agent after 2020, insists that his sole focus is on the upcoming season -- and nothing beyond.
"I think all I can do is control what I can control this year and that's go out and try to have a hell of a year with my teammates," Trubisky said. "I love these guys to death and I'm excited about this year and whatever happens after that is out of my control. I just feel good about where I'm at right now, I feel good about this team and what we have been able to accomplish over these OTAs on Zoom meetings and stuff and throwing with guys in the area.
"I'm just excited. I don't know about the future, no one really does. I'm excited about the possibilities of what can happen and I feel good about it. I'm just confident about where my career is headed."