Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky still has to prove himself ready to Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy in practice this week.
It seems a mere formality, as the Bears appear to have their starting passer back just in time to face the NFC-leading Los Angeles Rams.
"Arm feels good," Trubisky said, after missing the last two games with a right shoulder injury. "I just gotta show coach that I can play.
"I’m feeling good about where I’m at. As long as I can show them that I can go out there every day and make all the throws and be the player that they know I am, I feel confident that I’ll be able to go."
Trubisky went through a full practice on Wednesday, after the Bears had their five-game winning streak snapped Sunday against the New York Giants without him. It appears the only way he's not playing is if soreness redevelops the rest of the week, or his passes lack zip.
There are issues about his readiness and ability to withstand a hit by Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald. But little else seems to be holding back Trubisky.
"I feel strong that he will play, but I've got to see more," Bears coach Matt Nagy said. "I feel good about it. I hope so. I'm anxious to get him out there and see him throw the ball around in practice with the guys, and then be able to evaluate him off that."
Nagy said the decision to go with Trubisky has nothing to do with a sense of urgency following the loss to the Giants, as the Bears try to protect a 1 1/2-game lead over the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North.
"I could care less about the loss with his urgency," Nagy said. "It’s all based on where he’s at. And so that’s where again day-to-day with him and I said it the other day, his arrow is up right now. I like that. I feel good about where he’s at."
Trubisky understands the safe approach the Bears have taken so far with his injury.
"It’s different than any other injury because it’s my throwing shoulder," Trubisky said. "It’s something that I’m gonna need for the rest of my career, obviously. Any time there’s any pain, I’m just communicating that and being smart about it.
"My pain tolerance has gone up over the years, just being able to know what you can play through and know when you just need to pull back a little bit. So it’s being smart, communicating to the staff and all that, and just really not trying to be a superhero, because you don’t want anything to linger the rest of this year, my career going forward."
Trubisky has said he has to slide better or more often when he scrambles or runs the read/option. Running and mobility has been a key part of Trubisky's game, as he's helped extend drives with 363 yards rushing.
"Anytime I pull it down, just being smart," Trubisky said. "Trying to slide properly, trying not to be so unorthodox. Picking up yardage and then just getting down when I need to get down. Getting out of bounds. And continue to stay aggressive, but like I said, I’m not going to go out there if I’m not 100 percent. I’m going to play my game. No reservations. Just go out there and do what I know how to do."
Possibly the biggest question facing Trubisky is whether he can simply pick up where he left off Nov. 18 in a 25-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings, or will need to clear away the proverbial cobwebs. Perhaps it wouldn't be as much of a concern with an older, veteran quarterback. But Trubisky is in his second season and its still his 23rd NFL start.
"He's had a lot of practice under his belt, I mean, we're deep into the season," quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone said. "Yeah, he has been off for a little bit but I don't expect too much of a drop-off in terms of getting him up and going.
"I have no negative thoughts about him going out there and not picking up where he left off and not feeling comfortable in the pocket and stuff like that."
There's always the issue of facing the potent Rams interior pass rush from Donald, who has 16 1/2 sacks, and Ndamukong Suh.
"We see the type of havoc he can cause week to week," Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson said.
There is a solution that doesn't involve Trubisky running for his life -- block it.
"We never want anybody to touch our quarterback," right tackle Bobby Massie said. "That's part of offensive line pride. We'll make sure he'll be upright so he's able to make his throws."
Easier said than done.
"Our guys, they’ve got to be up for the challenge and understand that you’ve got to do everything possible when you get a chance and you are one on one, you’ve got to win," Nagy said. "We’ll try to do everything we can schematically to help you out."