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It's Way Too Early to Be All in on a New Mitchell Trubisky

A great proponent of Mitchell Trubisky in the past, Bears coach Matt Nagy refuses to get caught leaning too soon in one direction in this battle

There is plenty of talk coming from Bears coaches and some players about a different Mitchell Trubisky.

Most of it centers around competitiveness and leadership, or even knowledge of the offensive system.

"There's times where you see that fire and you feel him on the field," Bears quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo said.

There never has been a dispute about Trubisky's competitiveness, even if he hasn't had to actually compete for his job in the past. The desire to compete always was there since John Fox and Dowell Loggains were calling the shots in 2017.

Cordarrelle Patterson called it a fire burning somewhere close to or within Trubisky.

"He actually looks like a whole new player this year, man," Patterson said. "I just see it in his eyes. Each and every day, he's got that fire on him."

Allen Robinson noticed the same.

Trubisky said he's made a conscious effort to make strides as the leader by being personal with players like Patterson.

"I’m always looking at how I can be a better leader and what I need to improve on," Trubisky said. "So just having those conversations with the guys and talking to every single one of them, there are always things you can improve on with your leadership.

"So to hear that from them and having those conversations, I know in what ways I can step up and make a difference, and that's just taking more control, being more vocal and being more talkative with guys. So I think it’s been positive so far."

More important for Trubisky than competitiveness and leadership skills which everyone already concedes he possesses is assessing defenses, knowing his own offense well enough, making the right decision on where to go with the ball, and then properly executing a pass.

DeFilippo had to agree Wednesday with a media member's assessment that Trubisky had a better decision-making day on Day 2 of padded practices Tuesday than on opening day.

"I would agree with that statement," DeFilippo said. "It's just the decision-making piece of it is knowing the offense. And it's obviously easier to make quick decisions when you know the offense."

Does it mean he's improving, or that from day to day his decision making fluctuates and is unsteady? 

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Trubisky's passing execution also was better Tuesday than Monday, and this didn't just go with throws downfield or a touchdown pass he threw to Jimmy Graham.

His best pass of Tuesday might have been a simple screen pass. The pass rush had caused chaos all around and somehow Trubisky found a way to dump it between bodies with perfect loft to David Montgomery, who was in position to get outside to the sideline and go to the end zone.  

It drew some "wows" from both offensive and defensive players and even a few media members lumped together in the northwest edge of the field.

In the past too often, Trubisky's unsteady feet seemed to keep him from executing that tiny flick through the arms of defenders just like it would prevent the completion of a 40-yard downfield throw.

Nagy was asked his assessment of Trubisky's growth, and he went into all the leadership qualities.

"I was telling (GM) Ryan (Pace) the other day that my observations of the times that I'm watching Mitch from afar, or whether we're in meeting rooms observations or out to practice or walking to the weight room, whatever he's doing, there's just a great intention for him right now to play quarterback the best that he can and not worry about anything else," Nagy said. "On top of that, being a good teammate with not only the players on offense and the rest of the defense but being a good teammate for Nick as well."

Nagy credited his two new offensive assistants, DeFilippo and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, as well as passing game coordinator Dave Ragone with helping Trubisky make strides.

"Mitch right now is in a place mentally that I really just feel like is really good," Nagy said.

A year ago Nagy was all in on Trubisky, but his praise this time stops just short of last preseason's ringing endorsement.

"Now that we're able to start stacking practices, that's going to be a big part of the process," Nagy said. "We have a way to evaluate that we as offensive coaches feel really good about. We're just going to let them play it out, roll the ball out, have no agenda and let the best man win."

Fooled once, Nagy knows more than to be fooled twice. He's going to need more substantial proof and will take this competition as long as he can to get it.

Without preseason games as evidence, this one is going to be a leap of faith for Bears fans if Trubisky is the choice for Sept. 13.

All the praise from teammates and assistants won't help when the pass rush heat gets turned up, and defensive backs are trying to bait Trubisky into a poor decision when it actually matters.

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