Chicago Bears rookie Mitchell Trubisky takes 'small step'

By The Sports Xchange  |  Aug. 17, 2017 at 1:05 PM
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky spoke tongue in cheek during his first press conference since the postgame press conference after last week's preseason, opener against Denver.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Trubisky said when asked about last week's hype over an 18-for-25 effort for 166 yards and a touchdown.

Trubisky put more weight on what he heard from family and friends.

"A couple more people texted me after the game - family congratulating me," Trubisky said. "I think it's just a small step in the right direction. I've still got a lot of work to do.

"I was pleased with how I played, but plenty more mistakes are going on during practice for me that I need to work on and continue to improve in my game and make sure when I go out there that I'm doing my job to help other people do their job."

On Saturday, he might show more of what he can do against a blitz in the game against the Cardinals. The Broncos did blitz Trubisky a handful of times and he made them pay twice. However, Arizona lives by the blitz on defense.

"It's tougher in practice than it was in the last game just because I don't think in the preseason they wanted to throw a lot at us or show a lot per se," Trubisky said. "But in practice, I'm seeing a lot of different blitzes and I think game-planning on a week-to-week basis will help picking up the blitzes and everything.

"But I'm doing a lot better job with the protection and getting it set, helping out my backs, making sure they're either in protection or I'm getting them out in a route to help in the progression of the play. It's all about getting set and getting the protection. So, I feel like I'm doing a lot better job of that."

While Trubisky's efforts made for some hysteria in Chicago, as if a long-awaited quarterback savior had finally arrived, it did something else for the Bears' first-round draft pick.

"I think it just showed me that I'm making progress, that I could go out there and lead and do my job like I wanted to show," Trubisky said. "But it was just a small sample; it was the first game; and you just gotta continue to be consistent in reproducing it. that's why we're out here working and practicing."

--It's been a long road back for running back Jeremy Langford, and now the Bears' running back situation looks like more of a real roster battle.

Langford left with an ankle injury after three games last year as the starting running back, returned less than 100 percent, failed to finish, and hadn't been seen on the field for any extent of time again until Wednesday's first practice back at Halas Hall.

"It's good to be back out there," Langford said. "I count the blessings and it's good to be back out there on the field with my pads on, with my teammates again."

Langford had appeared ready to play, but suffered his ankle sprain during a walk-through. He had ankle surgery at the end of last season and has been out ever since, leaving it for Jordan Howard to not only become the starter but one of the more highly rated running backs in the league.

"I guess I kind of was just worried about it too much and slipped and it got caught underneath me and sprained it," Langford said.

Now he'll compete with Ka'Deem Carey, Benny Cunningham and Tarik Cohen for what likely will be two or three roster spots.

"It's very competitive," Langford said. "It's no worse than last year, no better than last year, but all of us in there are competing. We got some good players in there, good running backs."

--Head coach John Fox labeled Kyle Long remorseful after the Pro-Bowl guard was involved in two fights at the final Bourbonnais camp practice Monday (Aug. 14).

"It was obvious there was some remorse there," Fox said. "He was embarrassed for himself and for the team. Those things happen. Our guys, we've got a bond and he's one of our family and he'll be treated as such, like any kind of thing that happens in a family.

"Guys adapt and respond and I think everything's fine."

Long had expressed frustration over being unable to practice at camp due to his recovery from extensive ankle surgery.

"I think any time a player's injured, they get something that they love taken away from them," Fox said. "There's some pain and suffering that goes along with it and I'm sure those are things. But we have a lot of resources here. Kyle knows he's loved here by his teammates and by everyone in the building.

"He'll get through it and we talked about that and I think he feels confident in that."

Long on Wednesday was sent to a doctor for examination of the ankle. At times, the Bears have given him one or two straight days off during camp because of the injury.

On Monday (Aug. 14), Long had expressed his frustration with watching while he was trying to learn a new guard spot on the left side.

"Well, I'll tell you, it sucks," Long said. "It sucks when you can't be out there every team rep when you're used to running off the field after a team period with the rest of the (first team) and I'm sitting over there in a hat watching. It sucks.

"I'm not going to sit here and lie to you. I love the game of football and when it's taken away from you and when you're limited to just practicing against other O-linemen during individual (work), it's tough.

"So, the more I can get on the field the better off I'll be and I think that will be the way it is until I'm done playing the game."

--Rookie running back Tarik Cohen is unique with his hands and ability to stop and start in the open field. But he isn't one of a kind. Cohen has a twin brother, Tyrell, who used to play football.

Tyrell and his young family came to see Tarik at North Carolina A&T after the Bears drafted him and Tyrell issued a challenge after Tarik did an interview.

"He was like, 'Man, I still think I'm faster than you,'" Cohen recalled.

Tyrell challenged Tarik to a race.

"And we just got on the field and took our shoes off, barefoot, just racing down the field," Tarik said. "Oh yeah, I won."

--The Bears' kicking battle is being billed as Connor Barth-Roberto Aguayo, the fight that should have been. Barth was cut by the Bucs last year three days after they drafted Aguayo in the second round without a camp battle.

But Aguayo missed 7-of-11 from 40 yards or longer last year and when he struggled in the first preseason game, the Bucs were willing to admit they'd made a mistake by trading up to take a kicker in Round 2.

Barth has been extremely sharp in practice since Aguayo signed and became his competition for a job.

"There's two ways you can take it," Barth said. "You can either have a mental breakdown and go into a hole and it's over, or you can step up and, like I've said, my parents have always said, 'Bring on the competition.' And that's what I've always done."

Barth insisted he had pressure anyway.

"It doesn't matter if he's here or not," Barth said. "If he wasn't here today, I still need to go out and make my kicks. At the end of the day, you've got to be 85 or 90 percent or better to stay in this league. So, you just have to go out there and make kicks."

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