Mike Sando recently polled 50 NFL coaches and talent evaluators to place 35 quarterbacks into a tiered ranking. Understanding the results is as easy as scanning from the best (Tier 1) to the worst (Tier 5). But if you were looking for positive vibes regarding the Bears’ situation from eyes around the league, then prepare to start squinting.
There’s not much here to enjoy:
🚨 NOW LIVE: @SandoNFL‘s 2020 QB Tiers 🚨
🏈 Mahomes and Wilson are the only unanimous Tier 1 QBs
🏈 Tom Brady slips to Tier 2 for the first time
🏈 Kyler Murray is already climbing
Full list ⤵️
— The Athletic NFL (@TheAthleticNFL) July 27, 2020
Trubisky finds himself in Tier 4.
This group features unproven players with upside and veterans who seem likely best used as a backup. Last year, by contrast, Trubisky was in Tier 3 — which spotlights legitimate starters who need to play in optimal situations. As one might expect, Trubisky was polarizing among voters. Because while a majority placed him in Tier 4, eight actually lumped him into Tier 5 – a sparsely used group reserved for players who should NOT be considered for starting roles.
On the other hand, 10 voters who placed Trubisky among the legit starters in Tier 3. But the 32 “Tier 4” votes cemented him in a less-than desirable place.
Then again, it’s not all bad for Trubisky. One head coach said “He had a legitimate skillset enough to be drafted in the first round. I don’t think anybody will deny that.” Additionally, an anonymous general manager told The Athletic: “I think he can function. Is he great? No. But is he as bad as the media portrays him? No.”
However, a dark cloud certainly persists: “You just saw things on tape, saw some things live where it wasn’t getting better, and the Bears saw that, too,” said the head coach who also underscored Trubisky’s prospect pedigree.
One defensive coordinator’s assessment was far harsher:
“I don’t see any elite trait. Trubisky doesn’t have a great arm. Josh Allen has a freak-show arm. Trubisky is an OK athlete, but he is not this super-dynamic athlete. Usually, the guys like that who make it are mentally ahead of everyone else, but I didn’t get that from him, either. I did not see him diagnosing, getting the ball out in 1.5 seconds, knowing where to go with it. We caught him on a couple disguises. I’m like, what does this guy do? What is is his X-Man ability?”
A majority of voters listed Foles among the Tier 3 quarterbacks, which, again, is supposed to include quarterbacks who will be acceptable starters, but shouldn’t necessarily be relied upon as volume throwers for teams hoping to win.
“You can win with him, but everything has to be right and you have to play his type of offense,” a personnel director said of Foles. But … they could have said that of Trubisky and I probably would have nodded in agreement. And it gets nightmarish: “As bad as Trubisky is, I know Foles is even worse,” said a different coordinator, “just watching him in Jacksonville last year.”
That seems like a minority assessment, but it can’t be wholly ignored, either.
Ultimately, if the offensive line plays well, running game operates efficiently, passing attack is multi-dimensional, and defense remains stout, Trubisky can manage a game (and even win). But perhaps the key here is playing Foles’ type of offense. Trubisky is at his best when he is making plays off-schedule. Foles showed in Philly that he can manage (and even look good) when put in a RPO-heavy, read-option style offense.
In any case, there are a few conclusions to be drawn here. First, either of the Bears quarterbacks could conceivably lead the team to a prosperous season – Trubisky with his athleticism and work ethic, Foles with his know-how within this offensive system and a strong support staff around him. Second, we can also conclude that no defenses are shaking in their cleats when either lines up to take snaps. And finally, Chicago needs to find a long-term solution at the position. Preferably one who eventually ranks in the upper tiers of this group. But I think you already knew that.