By Chris Emma—
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (CBS) – Long after many practices come to an end, Bears rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky remains on the field, heaving football after football.
He’s often at Halas Hall late after the day of work ends, combing through his playbook and studying film on his iPad. The virtual reality technology now available provides yet another way for Trubisky to prepare as an NFL quarterback.
Ever since his arrival with the Bears, Trubisky has been driven to lead as the starting quarterback. The team sees the great lengths to which he will go.
“It says a lot about his character and the kind of player he is,” rookie receiver Tanner Gentry said of Trubisky. “Very easily, guys can get drafted that high and come in and think they’ve already made it and don’t have to work hard. But that’s what the great players do — they continue to work hard and get better.”
Trubisky was officially named the Bears’ backup quarterback on Wednesday at Halas Hall, moving him ahead of veteran Mark Sanchez and one spot behind starter Mike Glennon on the depth chart. Should Glennon go down with an injury or struggle in his first season leading the Bears, it will be Trubisky called upon to lead.
More than just an update to the depth chart, Wednesday’s word of Trubisky’s promotion was a proclamation that the second overall selection in April’s NFL Draft is indeed ready to take the field.
“Every day, there’s something he’s doing, there’s new things he’s seeing, there’s new experiencing that he’s having, which will just continue,” Bears general manager Ryan Pace said. “That’s what has us excited. It’s consistent, steady growth for Mitch all along the way.
“I’m just proud of where Mitch is at right now and just him continuing that progress.”
Ever since getting Trubisky into rookie mini-camp in May, the Bears have tested him in a variety of ways. They first evaluated how he could command a huddle, handle pre-snap reads and process coverages. He looked ready.
They put Trubisky into his first preseason game and watched how he could handle a two-minute drill situation. He led the Bears right to the end zone on a six-play, 50-yard drive.
The most recent challenge was when Trubisky was elevated to reps with the first-team offense on Aug. 23. Once again, he passed the test.
When the Bears made the bold decision to move up to the second pick for Trubisky, they knew he was a talented young quarterback with the tools to succeed. What they didn’t realize was how well he could absorb this next level.
“Physically, he has all the tools, so we knew that wouldn’t be an issue,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “It was getting up to speed as fast as possible with the passing game, the protections, the NFL coverages. I think that was the biggest growth he had.
“This kid never gets rattled. No matter how much you throw at him, no matter how hard you coach him, he’s the same guy every day.”
Added coach John Fox: “Everybody was pretty impressed with how fast he picked things up.”
Fox made it clear that Glennon, too, has earned his place. He remains the starting quarterback, despite Trubisky displaying the readiness for action. To his credit, Glennon has said all the right things while being thrust into an uncomfortable situation.
With the Bears now backing Trubisky as being ready, the pressure is on Glennon to hold down his starting job. Can he hold off the rising rookie?
The Bears will be watching to see if — perhaps, when — Trubisky is ready to lead as the starter. He has earned everything to this point.
“Every one of these steps has been exciting to see,” Pace said. “We just couldn’t be happier with his progress.”