New coach Matt Nagy was brought in to install a QB-friendly offense. The Bears signed two backup quarterbacks, Chase Daniel and Tyler Bray, who have experience in Nagy's system and can help teach Trubisky. The signings of Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Trey Burton all immensely improved the QB's pass-catching targets. The Bears used two second-round picks on offense, receiver Anthony Miller -- who has a chance to earn a big role -- and guard James Daniels.
During Trubisky's rookie campaign, not only was Chicago's offense poorly equipped to buffer a young signal-caller, it was mind-numbingly uncreative, conservative, and didn't cater to the QB's skill set. For example, Trubisky conducted almost all his college plays out of the shotgun. During Trubisky's rookie season, the Bears ran 50 percent of their snaps from the formation last season, 13 percent below league average, per Warren Sharp.
"I'd say they took his training wheels off this spring," Long said. "I can only envision a 3-year-old Mitch Trubisky riding around on training wheels being pissed off because he wants to go over the jumps and he wants to do all the tricks like the big kids are doing. Because that's who Mitch is. He's a kid, but he can roll with the big guys. That's when he's going to do this [season], and be able to have some freedom and creativity. We really respect that about coach Nagy. He's really letting [Trubisky] fly his freak flag."
During his flashes as a rookie, Trubisky displayed above average accuracy and athleticism. His struggles came in reading the defense, reacting to pressure and getting help from his pass-catchers. With an overhauled offense and a creative mind in Nagy, Trubisky's true burgeoning potential should be on display during his sophomore season.
The optimism surrounding the Bears this offseason emanates from Halas Hall all the way down to Michigan Ave., out to Oak Park, cascades towards Bourbonnais and pours to the rest of state of Illinois.
"For the first time in my career I feel like we really have a shot to make a run at things," Long said entering his sixth NFL season. "All you can do is take it one day at a time. We're really lucky to have a guy like Mitch Trubisky there, the offensive captain, and somebody the entire team looks up to and has faith in. The addition of Matt Nagy and his offensive prowess is going to be really huge for us. [General manager] Ryan Pace has done a great job bringing guys in. And, obviously, Vic Fangio, being able to retain him on the defensive side of the ball, has been great for us."
In a competitive NFC North, the Bears need Trubisky to begin to take strides toward matching the other Pro Bowl quarterbacks in the division. Even baby steps would give QB-starved Bears fans hope for the future.