When Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains says, “The eyes and the feet are attached,” it doesn’t mean he needs a lesson in anatomy.
Loggains was discussing a key component in the development of rookie Mitch Trubisky and all young quarterbacks.
The more a quarterback sees something live on the field, in real time, and processes where the ball needs to go, the less he feels as if the action is moving too fast.
“Once the game starts to slow down for them, you start to see their feet slow down because the eyes and the feet are attached,” Loggains said.
“When (Trubisky) is starting to see things and process the information a little quicker, (when) he’s seen more, and his library of coverages grows, you’ll see his feet start to slow down.
“It starts with his eyes and goes down. When you watch the Peyton Mannings and Tom Bradys and Aaron Rodgers of the world, they always look very under control because they know exactly what they’re looking at.”
At the NFL level, it’s not just being able to recognize different defenses. There’s also the matter of footwork and other mechanics, which are easier to maintain when a quarterback isn’t conflicted or confused as he surveys the field.
“It all ties together,” Trubisky said. “When your footwork and eyes are in the right spot, you’re usually going to be on time (delivering the ball) and throwing with really great accuracy.”
It’s not as if Trubisky had bad mechanics at North Carolina, where he completed 68 percent of his passes in his final year and threw for 30 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions.
But it’s rare that any rookie quarterback can’t benefit from a tweak here or a refinement there. Any bad habits, even subtle ones, have to be corrected.
“If (my) muscle memory goes back to my old drops or if I go back to my own stuff, usually the timing is a little off within the play,” Trubisky said. “But, if I just do exactly what I’m coached, then we’ll be right on, we’ll be fine.
“It’s just repetition. Keep doing it. We’re installing new stuff every week. It’s just trying to rep that stuff, get it down, so by the time we get to the game, it’s second nature.”
Practice reps help, but there is no better way for a quarterback to learn how to decipher a defense and maintain his mechanics than by doing it in live game action.
“There’s no way to manufacture that,” Loggains said.
That was a problem for Trubisky in his first four starts because until then he was a clear-cut backup.
Plan A was to bring him along slowly behind Mike Glennon for at least a full year, if necessary. As a result, the rookie got a small fraction of the No. 1 reps the veteran received the first four weeks of the season.
“The way we chose to go about this quarterback thing, (Trubisky) wasn’t competing for a job,” Loggains said. “He was taking (No.) 3 reps and moving up the depth chart that way.
“So there’s a lot of growth that’s going to take place with him, and a lot of it is because he was playing with the 2s and the 3s and obviously he wasn’t getting starter reps.
“The best way to grow through this process is just go out and play.”
Trubisky’s on-the-job training continues Sunday against the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field.
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