For the third time this season but first after a victory, the Bears assistant coaches met the media Monday.
A look at some of the more interesting takeaways, followed by Bears Insider’s interpretations because coach speak is real, even coming off a win.
Quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone on Mitch Trubisky’s big-time throws Sunday, when Trubisky threw three touchdowns and logged a 131 passer rating, the third highest of his career: “What I saw is great anticipation,” he said of Trubisky’s third TD toss, a 24-yard corner route to Taylor Gabriel. “That’s another one when you watch on the coaches’ copy, he had just come out of the break. It wasn’t like he was wide. ... And right there, you start to [put] a couple of throws together, and look at ’em – the [Ben] Braunecker and the Allen Robinson [throws]. Those three throws to me are three throws – especially since I’ve been here, obviously the whole time with him – those are some of the better throws, especially the Robinson throw, I’ve seen since I’ve been with him.”
Bears Insider interpretation: Those throws provided an important reminder of Trubisky’s ceiling, and coming from Ragone – who has seen up close every one of Trubisky’s 663 attempts – it’s notable that he’d lump three from Sunday in the total ledger in Year 3. More importantly, of course, over the final seven games is that Trubisky continues to flash what his ceiling can be while providing far fewer reminders of his floor.
Outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino on Khalil Mack’s quiet spell spanning the previous five games, when his star pupil has managed only one sack and zero forced fumbles: “It takes time. You keep grinding away at it. Eventually you finish a play. Maybe you work your way through a double-team and finish a play, and then your confidence raises a little bit. And then maybe you finish another one the same week or the next week. ... I don’t think this is a slump. I think this is a situation where … I know that if I got locked in a room, I’d have a hard time getting out of it. And that’s a hard thing for him right now.”
Bears Insider interpretation: We know confidence is an issue for Trubisky, not Mack, making this quote fascinating. Does Mack need to experience a bit of success himself right now? It seems unlikely, but it’s his position coach’s words, not ours. His pressure rate of 3.4 a game is in line with last season, according to Pro Football Reference. Still, we don’t have a way of quantifying how frequently he’s being double- or triple-teamed, nor can we say exactly how often he’s being held.
Wide receivers coach Mike Furrey on how his group avoids getting frustrated by inconsistent quarterbacking and overall production on offense: “I’ve never seen quarterbacks go 100% completion percentage in a game – they’re going to miss throws. The question is, like [Sunday], Turbo (Taylor Gabriel) hit the deep cross on the deep over, big third-down play early in the game, dropped the ball. That’s not Mitch’s fault; that’s our fault. But listen, you’re about to come back, you’re about to run this route again on third down, and you’re going to score a touchdown. So that’s the mindset that you have to have – especially playing wideout. You have to have as short of a memory as DBs do when they get beat when you’re not getting the football. You better get lined back up because if you’re sitting there pouting, ‘I’m not getting the football,’ and that football comes to you, you’re not being the player we want you to be. So I think they’re all doing a really good job of that right now.”
Bears Insider’s interpretation: The Bears’ pass-catching corps is among the league leaders in drops, so credit Furrey for deflecting from Trubisky to his group and citing a specific example of Gabriel’s bad miss Sunday – but also how they went back to him and he flourished. As Matt Nagy, his staff and players continue preaching the importance of not letting negative plays snowball, this point rings especially true. We expect to have more on this subject this week and specifically the dynamic between Allen Robinson and Trubisky.
Defensive line coach Jay Rodgers on the daily presence of Akiem Hicks despite his best player being on injured reserve: “Well, Akiem is out there. He’s on the sidelines. He’s celebrating with the guys. He’s telling the guys, ‘Hey, this is what happened.’ He checks the screens just as much as I do. He’s coaching those guys as much as I am out there. He brings the energy to meeting rooms, out there on the field. He’s just not out there between the lines – that’s the only thing he’s not. But the contributions that he’s giving right now [have] been tremendous.”
Bears Insider’s interpretation: Remember, Hicks has never dealt with a long-term injury before this one, so it’s encouraging to hear that he’s trying to make it as constructive an experience as possible. His continued daily presence also might soon loom even larger with the unit’s other vocal leader, Danny Trevathan, likely to soon join him on IR. We can’t imagine the Bears risking activating Hicks off IR in Week 15 if they’re not still playing for something, but it sounds as if his passion hasn’t wavered. It also sounds as if coaching could be in his future.