Like each of the NFL’s other 31 teams, the Chicago Bears are powering through life, while under the restrictions of COVID-19. But unlike a chunk of NFL teams, the Bears are going to do so while pushing forward with an open quarterback competition.
In an appearance on Bears All-Access, Head Coach Matt Nagy discusses the upcoming showdown between Mitch Trubisky (the 2017 NFL Draft’s second overall pick and incumbent starter) and Nick Foles (a Super Bowl winning quarterback, well-versed in Nagy’s system). I have taken the liberty to highlight some passages, while also adding some commentary of my own. Soak it all in, friends.
Foles vs. Trubisky. Trubisky vs. Foles. The Competition is on!
There is a line of thinking that Foles was brought in this offseason to be The Guy in Chicago, but there is also a belief from some that Trubisky is the hands-down QB1, while Foles is here only to put up a façade that a camp battle will take place. Either way, Nagy insists that an honest-to-goodness competition is going down.
“You’re going to see how open and transparent we are in this thing. There’s no agendas. We’re going to go out there and we’re going to give them every equal opportunity to go out there and win the job, and we’re going to be honest and open with them. I think that’s the only way you do it. It should be healthy, and it should make the Chicago Bears better.”
An Offseason of “Scheme Evaluation”
Any QB-related move that isn’t done with the desire to make the Bears better now and in the future is a wasted maneuver. Period. That includes re-working the playbook.
Nagy would go on to make a point to say that, in addition to bringing in new players on the offensive side o the ball, that he and his staff have been working through self-evaluation of the offense. Smart thinking. Because, ultimately, great players can fail in a system that simply doesn’t work.
“We’ve spent this whole offseason looking at scheme evaluation and just taking a look at the why part behind our offense and why it was so sluggish. “It’s not just one reason. There are several reasons. The beauty is for us we think we know what some of those answers are. Some of it is players, some if it scheme, some of it is execution. But what’s good for us is that we know we can get a lot better.”
As things stand, the Bears have brought in two new tight ends (Jimmy Graham, Demetrius Harris), one new offensive lineman (Germain Ifedi), and a new quarterback (Foles). The team still needs a starting caliber wide receiver to line up opposite of Allen Robinson, depth at running back behind David Montgomery and ahead of Tarik Cohen, and more competition for the starting right guard position vacated by Kyle Long’s retirement. With that being said, I hope Nagy and company are going hard at making changes to the playbook.
Mitch is All-in on Competition
I can’t imagine the awkward conversation Nagy and Trubisky had to have when the coach told his quarterback that he would have to battle for a job that had been his since early in the 2017 season. But when things fall off the table as they did in 2019, everything needs to be under the microscope — even a player who was the first quarterback taken in his draft class.
How Trubisky handles the challenge from Foles will be *THE* storyline to watch as this year develops. In the meantime, the only thing we know about how Trubisky is handling it is through Nagy, who relayed the vibe of their conversation.
“To us, we look at this, we’re trying to make this the best situation possible for Mitch, and then also for Nick. And it’s going to be a good situation for us. When we talked with Mitch, just the excitement, determination, and fire that he had knowing this is going to be an open competition, that’s who he his. Him being in this offense, and kind of knowing where the bones are buried in certain plays, and at the same time, he knows there’s certain areas he can get better at. He knows that.”
Sure, Foles has known the system for a good while and has familiarity with the top three coaches. But Trubisky has played in the system more recently, knows the players operating within the scheme, and should have a grasp of the grand offensive plan. If only he could process defenses to his coach’s liking.
For more from Nagy, you can check out Bears All-Access embedded in the video below: