Emma: Broad View Of Bears Appears Promising

September 11, 2018 - 2:56 pm
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(670 The Score) A duo that's been tasked to lead the franchise, Bears coach Matt Nagy knows well the work ethic in 24-year-old quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

After their first loss together -- a heartbreaking 24-23 defeat served by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers on Sunday night -- Nagy expected Trubisky would be the first player breaking down the film and seeking improvements the next day. But Trubisky already had his mind there before the team bus even departed Lambeau Field.

He approached Nagy and asked: How can I get better?

"That's the best part about him and where we're at right now," Nagy said Monday afternoon.

The Bears boarded up from Green Bay and traveled back to Lake Forest with the broad view in mind. Though the season-opening loss seemed so crushing inside a disappointed locker room, many players seemed eager to be back on the practice field and build from where they left off.

For one half of football in primetime on a Sunday, the Bears were bullying their rival Packers. Their offense was flowing through Trubisky to a number of available targets, and the defense looked dominant against Rodgers. Khalil Mack made a big impression immediately with a sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery, interception and touchdown under his belt by halftime.

Green Bay won't soon forget the heroics of Rodgers, who hobbled out of the locker room for the second half ready to lead a comeback. Meanwhile, Chicago is ready to move on with a season that still holds great potential.

The positive from Trubisky's uneven performance was that his mistakes were all correctable. He was aware after the game of his "happy feet" in the pocket, which led to rushed decisions and ultimately stalled drives. Trubisky missed some reads and showed he still has work to do in mastering the timing of this offense. Simply put, he looked like an inexperienced quarterback still working in a new system.

Nagy had reminded all throughout the preseason that his offense -- specifically for Trubisky -- would be a work in progress early on. But the glimpses of potential showed in that first half should inspire confidence more than a shaky showing the rest of the way.

"It's only one game," Trubisky said. "You can't let one game dictate the rest of the season for us. We got a long way to go. There's a lot of room for improvement."

To his credit, Nagy was an open book Monday afternoon as he accepted some blame for the loss. Nagy was critical with some of his own play-calling, specifically with some failed screen passes and a pivotal third-and-1 play early in the fourth quarter that he wanted back when he called a pass instead of a run.

Nagy also admitted he won't be calling plays the Bears haven't proved to be comfortable in executing yet, which begs the question whether he was limited at all late in the game.

"Trust me, I'll be harder on myself more than anybody," Nagy said.

Both Nagy and Trubisky were among those tipping their caps to Rodgers for his latest Hall of Fame performance, one that put a damper on the performance of this defense. But it certainly was clear the Bears have something building there.

At times, Akiem Hicks looked unblockable by the Packers, who were often left to double- and often triple-team his rushes. Roy Robertson-Harris had success getting after Rodgers, in part because of the one-on-one opportunity that was provided by Hicks, Mack and Eddie Goldman drawing attention.

Then there was Mack, whom the Bears had planned to limit in reps after missing the preseason. Those plans were tossed out on Mack's first rush when he ran through Packers tackle Bryan Bulaga and forced Rodgers to throw away the football, according to outside linebackers coach Brandon Staley.

The Bears got a look at how Mack can make everybody on the defense better, creating opportunities for the rest of the defensive front and chances for takeaways in the secondary. He certainly put the league on notice in his Bears debut played before a national audience.

You can make a list of impressive moments from the Bears in that first half -- the methodical first drive executed by script, a great catch by Allen Robinson down the sidelines, the sack by Roquan Smith on his first NFL play at linebacker. 

In the end, they were blips left to be forgotten in a heartbreaking loss, but they still revealed hope for this 2018 season.

Like their leader in Trubisky, the Bears can only get better from here. 

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.​