MONSTER’S MASH: Finally, the Bears’ new offense gets to show what they’re about
LAKE FOREST – From the minute that the Bears hired Matt Nagy, fans have eagerly awaited to see what his offense would look like with players in the blue and orange running it on the field.
Now it’s finally that time.
First up are the rival Green Bay Packers in the regular season, and it’s safe to say the offensive players can’t wait to show off what they’ve got.
“It’s like taking that first test in class, everyone’s just seeing how we’re going to do,” said running back Tarik Cohen of the offense. “Even the outside world wants to see how we’re going to do. We’re ready to show up and show out.”
That opportunity really didn’t come in the preseason, since the starters played sparingly in the second preseason game against the Bengals and then about a half against the Broncos. With the extra preseason work during practice because of the Hall of Fame game, Nagy gave the regulars the last two preseason games off.
It’s left a healthy amount of intrigue for the unit since many are wondering how a number of new acquisitions from the team are going to fare in an offense that nearly everyone is learning for the first time. Offseason free agent acquisitions along with the draft have brought some new weapons for Mitchell Trubisky to have at his disposal for 2018 – adding to the anticipation of the offense’s beginning on Sunday night.
“Just having me, Tarik, 12 (Allen Robinson), Jordan ‘Ground and Proud.’ The list – it gets long with playmakers we have here,” said receiver Taylor Gabriel, who will play his first game for the Bears against the Packers. “So I’m excited for Sunday.”
Mitch’s Job From The Start
If Ryan Pace’s dream had played out from the start, this Sunday night would have been the official start of the Mitchell Trubisky era.
You know how that worked out. Mike Glennon wasn’t able to keep the job past the fourth week, Trubisky was inserted as the starter in October, and remained there for the final 12 games of the 2017 season.
The trial under fire saw him complete 59.4 percent of his passes for 2,193 yards with seven touchdowns compared to seven interceptions, leading the Bears to four wins while dropping eight contests. Naturally after being anointed the future of the franchise in the 2017 NFL Draft by Pace, this would be the first time that Trubisky would be the scheduled starter from beginning to end.
However the quarterback will be a rookie, in a sense, since he will be running Nagy’s offense for the first time. He only threw 18 passes in the preseason and took around a full half a snaps in two games, so on-field reps were at a minimum.
Yet like his coach, Trubisky insists that the work in practice has himself and his offense amply prepared for the Packers.
“I have a really good idea of what this offense looks like, where we’re at, and how we just need to go about our business and execute our plays,” said Trubiksy. “The more the mystery is what they’re going to run on defense. I’m sure they haven’t shown a bunch in the preseason but we know what the defensive coordinator has done in the past so you just tried to be prepared as much as possible and expect to execute your plays correctly and make the defense adjust to us.
“That’s what we’re trying to do and I feel pretty good with where we’re at.”
So, How Much Will Khalil Play?
If you want to talk about lack of prep time, you only need to look on the other side of the ball.
Khalil Mack joined the Bears eight days before the opener after holding out the entire preseason while with the Raiders. He took part in workouts with the Bears throughout the week, but won’t see any live action until he takes to the turf at Lambeau Field on Sunday evening.
The linebacker has insisted that he’s ready for the challenge, crediting his continued conditioning work during his holdout and the help of Bears’ coaches to get him educated on the system.
Now the question is how many plays is Vic Fangio going to be able to use him for on Sunday. When asked about it during his news conference on Thursday, the defensive coordinator referenced Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald’s workout load in his first game of 2017 after a lengthy holdout.
“I know everybody’s a little different, the game is a little different. Aaron Donald was in that same predicament last year, signing right before the first game that he played with a new defense. He played 48 plays, some other guys have played in the 20s,” said Fangio. “I think everybody’s individual, but it’s something we’re going to have to manage and keep an eye on.”
STAT OF THE WEEK – 12
The number of years it has been since the Bears have beaten the Packers in a season opener.
That came in 2006 – the last time the Bears won the NFC Championship – as they knocked off their rivals at Lambeau Field 26-0.
Since then, the Bears lost the 2009 opener in Green Bay and then the 2015 first contest at Soldier Field.