Several times over the course of the offseason, Chicago Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy has offered up a mea culpa regarding not playing his regulars during preseasons past. In fact, he’s even evolved to say regulars will see ample preseason snaps moving forward, which feels particularly sensible, seeing as the Bears are set to have a full-blown quarterback competition between Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles on their hands.
HOWEVER, Nagy’s plans could be thrown for a loop if this from NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero comes to fruition:
The NFL and NFLPA are discussing the possibility of shortening the 2020 preseason, per sources.
Nothing finalized or imminent, but multiple team executives informed of talks currently believe they could end up playing two preseason games, rather than four.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) June 10, 2020
Pelissero tweets that the NFL and NFLPA are talking about cutting the preseason in half from four games to two. And while Pelissero was quick to point out in his tweet that nothing is imminent, he clearly felt the conversations – from multiple team executives – were serious enough to share.
Locally, a shortened preseason would leave the Bears in a bit of a pickle.
Chicago had been planning on using the preseason to get its players sharp, focused, and prepared for the early part of the regular season. I don’t know if the Bears finished 8-8 solely because they didn’t play regulars in the preseason, but I do remember there were several key moments of sloppy play that could have been easily attributed to rust that comes with a lack of playing reps and familiarity. Clearly, Nagy didn’t like what he saw either. Hence, changing his tune regarding preseason.
More importantly, the Bears were set to use the preseason to figure out who would be their quarterback in Week 1. Foles knows the offense better and has performed better on bigger stages when in the scheme. Meanwhile, Trubisky has more experience with this cast of playmakers and the particulars of this specific scheme. Watching this play out in preseason was going to be THE THING in Bears camp. It wasn’t going to be the only thing, mind you. But it was going to be the most important thing.
Remember, there are other positions that need to be sorted out this summer. What’s going to happen at tight end behind Jimmy Graham, Cole Kmet, and Demetrius Harris? Is Ted Ginn Jr. taking over the WR2 slot vacated by Taylor Gabriel? Is Jaylon Johnson prepared to be a rookie starter, or will an incumbent such as Kevin Toliver II or upstart CFL standout Tre Roberson snag the gig early? What’s up with right guard? Is it going to be Rashaad Coward again? Or will Germain Ifedi (or even Alex Bars) take over the position? Every team has their own position battles that need to be won this summer. It’s just that when I put on my Bears-shaded goggles, the ones at home seem outsized and that much more important.
In any case, it sure does look like this isn’t a great time to have a full-scale quarterback derby and battles at positions that could very well help decide who the winner will be.