Joniak's Journal: Matt Nagy Confident In Direction Of Bears' Offense

Nagy has been pleased by how well Mitchell Trubisky has picked up the new system.

Jeff Joniak
August 28, 2018 - 6:28 pm
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. (WBBM Newsradio) -- The Bears were back at work in practice Tuesday ahead of hosting the Bills in their preseason finale Thursday. Here are the notes and observations of the day.

First impression

Bears coach Matt Nagy is making it clear while excited about the offense, it's unrealistic to expect it to be operating at peak efficiency immediately. Still, he's comfortable in what has been accomplished by quarterback Mitch Trubisky to this point in the process. 

"I know where he’s at, I know where our offense is at," Nagy said. "I feel good knowing this is the time we were given, (and) this is where I’m at. I do not expect to roll into this thing with five years’ worth of this offense. That’s unrealistic expectations. But with where we’re at and what we have, I’m very excited for our opportunities."

Trubisky is comfortable, Nagy said, and that's what matters most. He believes the timing with the new weapons like Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel is growing every day. Trubisky is a perfectionist. He knows it. Nagy knows it. So when rough patches hit, he must take solace in the fact that he will grow from failure.

"It’s a process," Trubisky said. "There’s going to be bumps in the road, but we are getting better. We are going in the right direction and for me, that’s the most important thing -- just knowing the process and working through that but also striving for big goals in the end."

The immediate goal is being ready for the Packers on Sept. 9.   

"Nothing is ever good enough," he said. "I think just having that mentality every day, coming to work and trying to make it as perfect as possible, but knowing it never will be, that just allows me to get better every single day and continue to grow and develop."

All quarterbacks and the offenses they run go through peaks and valleys in a season with stretches of difficulty, but the good ones respond with stretches of excellence. We will see both in 2018.

Second thought

Trubisky was clear when asked about not taking snaps against Kansas City last Saturday. He commended Nagy for going with his instincts despite knowing criticism was sure to follow.

"Especially with all the opinions on the outside and you know you are going to get a backlash and everybody writing about it and stuff," Trubisky said. "He still did what was best for this team, and I truly believe in that. For me, just being the competitor, I was always ready to play. I wanted to play and get those reps, but we’ve gotten a ton of reps in practice and we’re just going to continue to get ready for Week 1."

Trusbisky added that the Bears' game-specific planning is helping bring into focus how fast the offense can play and how fast it allows him to play as a quarterback.

Third degree

Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks is fine despite a sore knee. As a precaution, he has focused on treatment and conditioning and is quite sure he will be ready for the Packers in the season opener.

"You’ve got to be able to adjust on the run," Hicks said. "Things come at you, and you just have to be able to play through it, and I think that we’ve done a good job handling those things, especially as a coaching staff and upstairs. They have done a great job of making sure players are available when they need to be."

Three of the most important pieces to the defense who are slowed now are expected to be ready for the Packers -- Hicks, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd (hand) and rookie inside linebacker Roquan Smith (hamstring). 

Floyd expects to practice next week, and Smith is doing more every day. In the end, Smith will miss the entire preseason schedule. He's working to close the gap on time missed. The same is true for injured outside linebacker Aaron Lynch.

Hicks continues to promote the idea the Bears defense will be nasty, striving to be the best in the league in 2018. 

"No question," Hicks said. "Like I’ve said before, we’re shooting for the stars, so go get it." 

When asked how he wants the unit to play, Hickey focused on physicality.  

"Hard-hitting, aggressive, nasty," he said. "Every violent term you can think of, right? Just being a dominant, strong, feared defense."

Fourth-and-short

Tyler Bray will start at quarterback for the Bears on Thursday and play the entire game, barring injury. The Bears' roster cut to 53 players this Saturday will take into account the health at the linebacker position. At running back, Nagy feels there's strong depth with good players, so those decisions will be difficult. Overall, Nagy likes the depth of the roster.  

Jeff Joniak is the play-by-play announcer for the Bears broadcasts on WBBM Newsradio 780 & 105.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter @JeffJoniak.