TOO SOON TO TELL TOO MUCH

Change in Mitch gets one team­mate’s at­ten­tion, but Nagy has adopted a more mea­sured tone

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS - PA­TRICK FIN­LEY pfin­ley@sun­times.com | @patrick­fin­ley

It’s easy to look at re­turn man/re­ceiver/ run­ning back Cordarrell­e Pat­ter­son’s an­swer to a sim­ple ques­tion — whether quar­ter­back Mitch Tru­bisky looks dif­fer­ent than he did last sea­son — and dream about the Bears.

‘‘He ac­tu­ally looks like a whole new player this year, man,’’ Pat­ter­son said after prac­tice Tues­day. ‘‘I just see it in his eyes. Each and every day, he’s got that fire in him. That’s what we need out of our quar­ter­backs. That com­pe­ti­tion, it brings the best out of ev­ery­body. So I’m ex­cited.’’

It’s far more telling, how­ever, to lis­ten to coach Matt Nagy. And he said some­thing far dif­fer­ent when asked whether Tru­bisky was better this year.

‘‘So far, I think so,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘We don’t have enough right now. I wish I could tell you . . . we had enough, but there’s just not enough with where we’re at. We need to see more. I can’t give you a fair state­ment or opin­ion with that.’’

Nagy knows better.

He knows Tru­bisky al­ways has been a

good prac­tice player — even last sea­son, when he played so poorly on Sun­days that the Bears felt ob­li­gated to trade for Nick Foles dur­ing the off­sea­son.

He knows that at­ti­tude, edge and a glint in a quar­ter­back’s eye aren’t in­di­ca­tors of suc­cess — but film is.

And right now, the Bears have two whole days of prac­tice film to ex­am­ine.

‘‘I’m ex­cited to see some more team pe­ri­ods,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘Maybe a lit­tle more red-zone, some two-minute, four-minute, si­t­u­a­tional foot­ball to truly say that. I’d ask for a lit­tle bit more time on that with him. But, again, the men­tal side of it, de­ci­sion-mak­ing, where he’s go­ing — so far, so good.’’

Tru­bisky has looked slightly better than Foles. He had a run­ning start, how­ever, throw­ing with team­mates in his down­time while Foles and his wife awaited a baby in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

‘‘I think I’m just bring­ing a lit­tle more edge to the of­fense, a lit­tle more sense of ur­gency,’’ Tru­bisky said.

He built up his at­ti­tude dur­ing the off­sea­son. He saw the Bears de­cline his fifthyear op­tion and trade for Foles. He had surgery to re­pair his left shoul­der and went through train­ing to fix his foot­work.

‘‘I think it’s a com­bi­na­tion of every­thing, just re­al­iz­ing this is the last year of my con­tract,’’ Tru­bisky said. ‘‘Be­ing hurt last year and not play­ing up to my own ex­pec­ta­tions. I think go­ing 8-8, hav­ing a quar­ter­back com­pe­ti­tion and just the de­sire to want to go out to con­tinue to chase great­ness . . . .

‘‘I’m try­ing to bring that edge. You’re just play­ing each play like it’s your last. So I think hav­ing that sense of ur­gency and try­ing to max­i­mize your po­ten­tial day in and day out, I think that’s where that edge is com­ing from.’’

In prais­ing Tru­bisky, Pat­ter­son knocked the way he car­ried him­self last sea­son.

‘‘I feel he’s been more of a leader,’’ Pat­ter­son said. ‘‘Last year, I didn’t feel like he was that guy. This year, he’s tak­ing over. He wants ev­ery­body to know that he’s that guy and we can come to him when we need some­thing.’’

Tru­bisky’s re­sponse was ma­ture. He said he needs to make sure he’s de­vel­op­ing re­la­tion­ships with all his team­mates.

‘‘I think me and Cordarrell­e are a lot closer this year than we were last year,’’ he said. ‘‘As far as lead­er­ship, for me, I have to make sure I’m reach­ing every sin­gle guy in this of­fense.’’

If Tru­bisky is a whole new player, how­ever, he’ll reach his team­mates with a pass.

Un­til then, Bears fans would be wise to lis­ten to Nagy: Tru­bisky hasn’t had the time — or the snaps — to show whether he truly has changed.

‘‘HE AC­TU­ALLY LOOKS LIKE A WHOLE NEW PLAYER THIS YEAR, MAN. I JUST SEE IT IN HIS EYES. EACH AND EVERY DAY, HE’S GOT THAT FIRE IN HIM. THAT’S WHAT WE NEED OUT OF OUR QUAR­TER­BACKS. THAT COM­PE­TI­TION, IT BRINGS THE BEST OUT OF EV­ERY­BODY. SO I’M EX­CITED.’’ CORDARRELL­E PAT­TER­SON, on Mitch Tru­bisky

NAM Y. HUH/AP

Bears quar­ter­back Mitch Tru­bisky says he’s try­ing to add ‘‘a lit­tle more sense of ur­gency’’ to the of­fense.

MORRY GASH/AP

Tru­bisky says it’s im­por­tant for him to cre­ate re­la­tion­ships with all his team­mates.

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