Mitchell Trubisky will get a shot at redemption on Sunday.
The fourth-year quarterback, whose struggles caused him to lose his starting job in Week 3, will get another opportunity to helm the Bears offense after Nick Foles missed the entire week of practice with a hip injury. Coach Matt Nagy confirmed what had been widely suspected all week: Trubisky will start on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
"More than anything, I was caught off guard," said Trubisky. "I think at the beginning of the season, I was just starting to build some momentum, and then it kinda felt like a blindside, and then I had to embrace a new role. The first couple days, it sucked being in that [backup] role, but I was trying to just continue to keep perspective and think long term."
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Trubisky's main goal was a long career in the NFL. To accomplish that, he would have to learn to exist in a world where the entire franchise wasn't invested in his development. With the team appearing to move on from him, Trubisky doubled his resolve.
"At that point, I just changed my mindset to embrace practice," said Trubisky. "I was doing my job on the scout team, just trying to give the defense a good look, taking a lot of pride in that and preparing them for weeks, and the defense has been playing really, really well, and I feel like I was a part of that being on the scout team and just leading those guys on scout team and giving them good looks."
Trubisky spent the next eight weeks largely free of the scrutiny that had accompanied his three previous seasons in Chicago. Coaches referenced his team-first attitude and positive handling of the situation, but the only game action he would see was a designed run against the New Orleans Saints that left him with an injured shoulder.
Trubisky has experienced shoulder injuries in the past and came to the conclusion that his injury would not keep him out long term.
"The first day I was worried," said Trubisky, "but then the next couple days I had a good feeling that I could come back pretty quickly from it. And it was just taking it one day at a time, and really, you hate to hear it as a player, but sometimes you just need time to assess where your shoulder is at and how your body can respond from something like that."
Trubisky didn't feel any ill will toward the coaching staff after his first experiment as a wildcat option ended with a three-yard gain and a three-week injury.
"As far as going out there and running that play, I was excited," said Trubisky. "I wasn't angry. I feel like that play could have worked even better and got even more yards. It was just unfortunate that I landed the way I did and landed on my shoulder. But we're here now. It's over with."
The injury is in the past after Trubisky spent the entire week practicing without limits.
"I'm at a point where it's back to 100 percent," said Trubisky. "I'm feeling good. I had a great week of practice throwing. No soreness. No pain. And it feels like normal. So, yeah, I'm feeling good about that. The recovery process was just taking it one day at a time and just seeing how over time it responded, and it came back pretty quickly."
Trubisky comes back to an offense that has changed during his time as a backup. The offensive line has shuffled due to injuries, and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor is now the primary play-caller. Trubisky said that he was comfortable working in the new setup.
"I just want to make sure that these coaches are hearing what I have to say," said Trubisky, "and take in the factor [of] the input that I want to have in this offense coming back, and just running things that I'm comfortable with and things that I feel like will have success this weekend."
Trubisky's tenure as a backup may have given him the opportunity to reinvent himself to an extent. After taking over as starting quarterback in Week 5 of his rookie season, Trubisky has never had as much space to experiment and challenge himself.
"I did feel during those few weeks that I got better as a player," said Trubisky, "just testing different throws, leading the offense and seeing a lot of good looks from our defense and going against them. It was tough, it was an adjustment, but I was always hopeful for another opportunity."