When the Chicago Bears traded for Nick Foles, the goal was obvious. They wanted to improve their depth at quarterback, first and foremost. However, the real reason was to get the attention of Mitch Trubisky. While he wasn’t solely responsible for the offenses’ struggles in 2019, a lot of the issues stemmed from his regression as a passer and runner. Many of the same problems that plagued him as a rookie were still there.

The time had come to stop coddling him. The team had been more than patient. It was time to crank up the pressure. So they brought in Foles and declared the Bears starting job wide open. May the best man win. What they wanted to see was how Trubisky would respond to this new reality. Would he be woe-is-me and bitter or would he embrace the challenge?

GM Ryan Pace revealed on the Jahns & Hoge podcast what the first impressions he and the coaching staff got when the 25-year old QB arrived at training camp. Bears trainers and strength coaches reportedly came to him and Matt Nagy with glowing reviews of Trubisky’s physical condition. He appears to be in the best shape of his career.

“When he walked in the building and had a couple sessions with our strength coaches already? They approached Matt and I talking about just physically how good he looks. You can see it. Just his build right now, his physique right now. I think they were really encouraged, the strength coaches were just in the conditioning sessions and weightlifting sessions just where he’s at physically. It is very obvious that he’s been training very hard this summer.”

Mitch Trubisky has passed the first test. The hard part remains

This is good news. Trubisky being in top condition means he should be able to take full advantage of his athletic arsenal in training camp. That is his biggest advantage over Foles. That ability to move around and make plays off the cuff. Then again that isn’t what the Bears are waiting to see. They’ve always known he can do that. What truly will make or break him in this competition is where his grasp of the playbook is at.

Has he finally started to learn how to process plays quickly and apply them to what a defense shows him from snap to snap? Too many times last year Trubisky seemed confused and slow to react to what defenses were doing. This led to bad sacks, bad throws, and tons of missed opportunities. Defensive coaches have even come out and said that it was a bit too easy to fool him at times.

Did he attack the playbook with the same ferocity as he did the weight room? Based on how often he arranged throwing sessions with teammates and also put in work with QB specialist Jeff Christiansen? It is likely Trubisky left nothing to chance with his preparation ahead of camp. He aims to win this battle.