Talk is cheap … but it’s all we got.
Mitchell Trubisky, Nick Foles, and Matt Nagy all spoke as training camp opened late last week. And while the Bears’ QB competition won’t be decided by a Zoom conference call with teammates, in interviews with reporters, or by Madden ratings, comments by Chicago’s signal callers (and coaches) provide a window into what’s about to happen at Halas Hall.
With that in mind, I’ve pulled some comments and added my own commentary. Enjoy!
Trubisky Reading Coverages
Earlier in the offseason, Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy outlined a plan for Mitchell Trubisky’s offseason development. At its core, Nagy wanted Trubisky to become a master of reading defenses, which makes plenty of sense sense. After all, athletic ability will get you only so far in the NFL. And as we learned last season, Trubisky’s athleticism was easily neutralized by complex defenses that forced him to play within the pocket. When asked about the gains he made while studying opponents in the offseason, Trubisky let off an expanded answer.
I think, just seeing the mistakes I made last year and just knowing all of them are easily correctable, I think that gives me confidence going into the future. I watched a lot of ball over the summer, you see the mistakes, you see really good plays, you see some really bad plays, you see some dumb things that shouldn’t happen. … All the bad mistakes, they’re easily correctable and I think you just talk through those things, get on the same page with your guys, and for me, getting on the same page with coach Nagy and our other coaches to where I’m just going out there and playing fast and recognizing where I need to go with the football earlier and just making good decisions.
It’s paramount that Trubisky sees his mistakes. Otherwise, how can he learn what to correct? But it is also important Trubisky sees the good things he does, too. Beating someone over the head with what they do wrong all the time isn’t a productive part of the learning cycle. In fact, it could be counterproductive. There is always room for positive reinforcement. So with that being said, I hope Trubisky learned some things he can apply to his craft.
Nagy’s Tough Love
One message I get often from fans is that they wished Nagy was visibly tougher on Trubisky. Oftentimes, references to Mike Ditka’s relationship with Jim Harbaugh comes up in conversation. I’m not sure there is a correlation between being a loon on the sidelines and a good coach-quarterback relationship, but I can see where fans are coming from with their perspective. At its core, fans enjoy the visual of coach being hard on player, then player responding favorably.
Maybe we’ll get that this year. Because, at Nagy explains, this is quarterback competition is going to be a no-holds barred showdown:
“As we’re going through this thing, if one of the quarterbacks is stinking it up, and he’s playing like crap, we’re going to tell you ‘you’re playing like crap.’ … So when the time comes, when we inevitably need to make a decision, trust me it’s not going to be a surprise to them.”
Foles the Teacher
Don’t get it twisted. Nick Foles is here to win the QB1 spot. HOWEVER, Foles arrives in Chicago as a sage veteran wanting to pass on what he knows. And I’m all for it. I mean, if Foles isn’t going to win the quarterback derby, the least he could do is share the secrets of what it takes to function in this offense. Maybe his words will stick in a way that Chase Daniel’s didn’t?
OK, maybe I’m grasping at straws here. But in any case, I’m intrigued by Foles’ commentary:
“If I’m working the second team, first team, third team, let’s just play ball, man. I love this offense. I love the verbiage. I’ve been in this offense. I know what I an do in this offense. But all that stuff gives me is wisdom. Wisdom to go out there and help my teammates, to help Mitch, to help Tyler (Bray). I’m not keeping secrets from Mitch. I want to help Mitch. … When he makes a great throw, I’m going to be right there to slap him a five. And then they’ll probably have to sanitize our hands, but I’m gonna do it.”
I come away from reading those words wishing the Bears could scientifically place Foles’ brain in Trubisky’s body and see if it becomes the type of quarterback that could win a Super Bowl in Chicago.
For more from Trubisky, Nagy, and Foles, check out the embedded videos below: