Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy seems to have had a change of heart when it comes to the running game.
But if things get tough for his quarterback on Sunday, don’t expect for him to change course and ditch Mitch Trubisky:
Matt Nagy was asked about his philosophy of sticking with a starting QB within/throughout a game: “You’re committed. This is where we’re at. With Mitch right now, we’re giving him every opportunity to be that leader and go out there and make plays.” Emphasized not blaming 1 guy.
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) October 25, 2019
Matt Nagy says he wouldn't consider changing quarterbacks in the middle of a game based on performance. Says "you're committed" to a guy going into a game, and that putting blame on one position would not be fair.
— JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) October 25, 2019
Matt Nagy says essentially that an in-game quarterback change isn’t going to be on the table. When he goes into a game with Trubisky, he’s committed.
— Jason Lieser (@JasonLieser) October 25, 2019
Despite his flaws and short-comings, the Bears are going to ride with Trubisky through thick and thin. Considering the Bears gave up mid-round picks to draft Trubisky in 2017, followed that move by hiring a quarterback-friendly head coach to tutor him a year later, then making significant financial (and draft) investments to surround him with play-making talent, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
So while I’m doing everything in my power to avoid hyperbole, I cannot escape the idea that their commitment to Trubisky being strong despite the team skating on thin ice makes this feel like this is Trubisky’s last stand.
And with that in mind, there are some things to keep an eye on:
— Patrick Finley (@patrickfinley) October 26, 2019
Where do the #Bears turn if Mitch Trubisky can't turn it around?
GM Ryan Pace will have multiple avenues. None of them appear to be super appealing at this point.https://t.co/5F6w7xqb8G
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) October 26, 2019
Patrick Finley of the Sun-Times and Brad Biggs of the Tribune each have interesting pieces regarding the future of the Bears’ quarterback position if Trubisky can’t turn it around and lead the team toward a better immediate future. Both pieces are worth your time to read and I would advise you to give them your time when available.
Knowing that the Bears have often operated with a “no regrets” mindset when making moves aimed at maximizing what was believed to be a window of contention, Finley wonders about a rent-a-quarterback scenario that would prove to be the latest example of GM Ryan Pace’s mantra. And there are some interesting short-term possibilities who are intriguing.
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has a no-trade clause, but could waive it if he views Chicago as a best-case scenario to get to an elusive Super Bowl. Rivers is a free agent at the end of this season. Marcus Mariota (whose recent benching caught our eye) is a free agent as season’s end, too. Finley goes as far to offer up the idea of a Bears-Chargers-Titans three-team trade that would land Rivers in Nashville (which is hours from his hometown in Athens, Alabama), Mariota in Chicago, and picks going to Los Angeles. Like Finley, I also believe it is worth it to place a phone call to both teams — even if it seems far-fetched.
Washington’s Case Keenum is a name that hasn’t been on our radar before, but he also fits the bill as a short-term solution that would allow the Bears to save their season before it spirals, while also keeping Trubisky as part of the future.
Cam Newton and Nick Foles are long-shot trade targets (both of whom we discussed earlier in the week) who are most intriguing, but both have red flags. Newton has been bitten by the injury bug in recent years and his $21.1 million cap charge would necessitate moves to keep him on the team moving forward. Foles’ knowledge of the offense makes him an ideal candidate, but his placement on injured reserve means he won’t be ready until November 17, at the earliest.
Speaking of alternative long-term solutions, Biggs writes the draft is an unlikely source for the Bears to find an answer. Biggs cites Chicago having just two picks (both second-rounders) in the first three rounds as a reason that would stop them from going that route. Free-agent-to-be include Teddy Bridgewater is a name offered up by Biggs. After watching Bridgewater game-manage the Saints to a win at Soldier Field, that name would likely get a smattering of applause from fans who want change.
In the end, it all circles back to the Bears being at a crossroads with Trubisky. Ideally, the coaching staff that was brought in to get the most out of a quarterback deemed good enough to trade up to draft gets the most out of him and the remaining 2.5 years of his rookie deal. A team that by Football Outsiders’ DVOA standards has the sixth-best defense and top overall special teams unit is being held back by a quarterback who has regressed mightily in Year 3.
More than likely, the Bears are going to ride it out with Trubisky. But after that … the possibilities are open-ended.