he last time Mitchell Trubisky moved from one season to the next as a starting quarterback running the same offense, he played for Steve Trivisonno at Mentor High School.
So it's easy to see why everyone associated with the Bears anticipates another big step for their starting quarterback, perhaps almost as huge as the one he made this past season when his passer rating improved from 77.5 to 95.4.
"By the end of the year, he was reading progressions, one, two, three, run, right?," Bears coach Matt Nagy said. "That he conquered. Now I think Level 2 next year is going to be him really recognizing presnap what he's about to see from these defenses.
"So last year, he was so focused in on what do we do on offense: 'Hell I've never run this offense before. What does that mean?' Now he knows. He knows it all. And now he can take that next step of figuring out, 'OK, here they come. They have got a saw blitz, cover zero, now I know what to do,' or 'I know how to check to protection.' All that. That's going to be the big one for him."
For years, the Bears envied the Green Bay Packers with Aaron Rodgers using the same offense year after year, while Jay Cutler and even Trubisky have switched offenses and offensive coordinators virtually every single season.
General manager Ryan Pace characterized the feeling as "... just the excitement about going into an off-season with the pieces in place around him and then Year 2 in the same offensive scheme and how much growth can take place. So I just felt like you saw him playing more with his instincts (at the end of 2018) because he was more comfortable in the system."
It's not only a matter of Trubisky knowing the offense better, but of knowing teammates within the system better and them knowing him as well as the offense better.
"I think it was just good to see the natural growth just in the offensive scheme as he gains more comfort and also more comfort with the players that are around him, that chemistry that developed," Pace said.
The other step of progress is the tie between Trubisky and Nagy. The closer the quarterback and his coach think alike, the more efficiently they operate.
"I think you can just feel the relationship between those two grow," Pace said. "You talk about important relationships in the building, the head coach play caller and the quarterback, that's pretty critical and we feel strong about that relationship."
By the end of last season, they saw Trubisky had developed enough to accomplish what they'd wondered if he could do all season. He took the team downfield in the final minute to what should have been routine field goal position for a playoff victory.
"I think anytime, especially, that position, you're looking for when they hit adversity and how they respond from that adversity," Pace said. "I think as most recent as the playoff game, you go down to the final drive and to see how he responded in that environment I think is really encouraging -- just his mental toughness to persevere through those things. And I think that bodes well for the future."
When Nagy brings it all together in the spring with organized team activities and minicamp, players from Trubisky to linemen and receivers will not be trying to figure out basics like where they line up, but can immediately begin thinking how they're going to beat a defense.
They went from 30th to 21st in offense, and now the goal is moving up into the league's upper echelon of attacks.
"So when we show up and those guys show up for OTAs now, now they are on to -- remember I kept saying, (Offense) 101, now we're on to 202," Nagy said. "And I hope, at least it's my job and our coaches' job, to make sure that that happens.
:And our guys are, from the exit interviews that we had, they are really excited to get back to that."