Robert Griffin III’s résumé is legit. Heisman Trophy winner. Consensus All-American. NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Pro Bowler. Are we about to add NFL insider/news-breaker to it?
Sources say there will be no preseason this year
— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) July 7, 2020
According to Robert Griffin III’s sources, there will not be a preseason this summer. And it’s not like that’s a particularly bold statement – the league has already trimmed the preseason from four games to two, while the NFLPA has recommended playing no preseason games at all. This is a distinct possibility, but we’ll have to wait for a more official word.
If it does happen, however, I can’t help but think about how the Bears are disproportionally at a disadvantage.
Head Coach Matt Nagy has spent a chunk of the offseason offering up a mea culpa for not playing his regulars during last year’s preseason. He has even vowed that his regulars would play in this summer’s preseason games, citing the lessons he learned from last year’s call to hold out his guys (at least this would be an even playing field this year?).
But of course that likely matters less than the massive and open quarterback competition between Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles.
The 2020 preseason – shortened or not – was going to be THE opportunity to finalize a starter for Chicago. It would have been a chance to see how Foles handled being the new guy in the huddle. And it would have allowed Trubisky to prove the value of a rapport he’s built with his teammates over the last few years. To not have that chance hurts both quarterbacks, and thus the Bears, in a very big way.
Of course, this is where you might counter by saying do we really need to see how Trubisky looks or how Foles performs in exhibition games to make a decision on the Bears Week 1 QB1? To which I’d say: “It doesn’t matter if we need to see it, because I think the Bears wanted to see it.” That’s the distinction. And it’s worth discussing.
Trubisky was going to get the first snaps this summer. But does that still stand without preseason games? And what about the locker room aspect? Foles won’t get a chance to win over the locker room with his play on the field. Because even though players might like what they hear in a Zoom meeting or like what they have seen in film at previous stops, there is no substitution for on-field chemistry and performance and history.
Heck, there’s so much unresolved stuff at the QB position, it almost slipped my mind that there are other positions up for grabs that could have been decided in preseason.
Now, I’m worried about the Bears going into the regular season without knowing what they have into games that matter. Ick. That’s not ideal.
Remember, that early stretch of games looks to be advantageous for Chicago. The Bears’ first seven games are against teams that missed the playoffs last season. That includes six against teams that had losing records (although, one of those teams added Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and had a killer draft). So while predicting the future based on last year’s results can be a fool’s errand, that soft first half of the schedule was supposed to be a golden opportunity for the Bears were to build something. Instead, they could be trying to figure stuff out during games of consequence.