The long-awaited quarterback competition between Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles is officially underway.
And while the winner might not be decided for a while (more on that in a moment), both players had an opportunity to leave a good first impression as padded practices began. The early results? Ehhhh … not great, but it was to be expected as we hit a bit of a feeling-out period.
Let’s follow along.
• There is no shortage of opinions as to who will ultimately win the gig. Trubisky has his backers. As does Foles. But as far as I’m concerned, the winner should be whomever operates best within the offense. Good luck to those responsible for figuring out who that will be before Week 1!
In the meantime, this Stacey Dales report does a good job explaining how close the QB derby figures to be:
There’s a chunk of noteworthy information from Dales in this 1-minute, 29-second clip. But I can’t help but highlight this particular segment:
“Just an observation, man, Nick Foles already looks comfortable. He knows this offense. He throws the prettiest football. And Mitch Trubisky, of course, has continued to delve into the playbook.”
Remember, Nagy expressed his desire for Trubisky to become a master of the offense and understanding defenses this offseason. So the nugget from Dales that Trubisky “has continued to delve into the playbook” is notable. Meanwhile, Foles is already comfortable in the scheme and was complimented for throwing “the prettiest football.” It’s long been a safe bet that Foles would feel comfortable in the offense. HOWEVER, that he is already looking good passes is a notable compliment.
• Then again, yesterday wasn’t all roses:
Neither QB distinguished himself at #Bears camp today. Mitch Trubisky had one throw he'd like back. There were some drops. There is a heavy focus on the QBs' decision-making right now, Nagy said.
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) August 17, 2020
Deon Bush was impressive today. Made a really good play on a throw by Trubisky and almost picked it off. #Bears
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) August 17, 2020
It didn’t sound as if either quarterback set themselves apart after the first practice. In fact, Nagy made sure not to draw a conclusion after Monday’s practice. That’s smart. This was never going to be decided right away, but I found it interesting when Nagy said: “We try not to rush or get too crazy over any dropped passes right now, whether it’s on the offensive or the defensive side with the dropped interception. We really look right now for the decision making.”
Ahhh, yes. Decision-making. That thing.
It’s likely *THE THING* that will ultimately decide who starts in Week 1. So whichever quarterback processes things better — and not necessarily the one who has better practice stats — could have the edge when it’s all said and done. Let’s keep this in mind as this evolves and keep our ears open to see if Nagy drops any subtle clues about the value of process over results.
• It was eye-opening to see Cordarrelle Patterson speak glowingly about Trubisky after Tuesday’s practice.
However, Matt Nagy isn’t ready to go that far just yet:
Matt Nagy tells us he needs more time to determine whether Mitchell Trubisky is a better QB now compared to the past couple seasons (which seems to be the key issue here), but Nagy says “so far, so good” when discussing Trubisky’s play thus far.
— Jeff Dickerson (@DickersonESPN) August 18, 2020
I don’t know who to believe!
• The folks at NBC Sports Chicago have a graphic to accompany words from Adam Hoge:
— Bears Talk (@NBCSBears) August 18, 2020
Hoge’s ruling after Day 2: “The last two days have confirmed my suspicions about this competition: it’s Trubisky’s to win or lose. When he has good days, he looks more like a playmaker than Foles, who is an even-keeled facilitator.”
Ultimately, this brings me back to square one of the competition. The battle between Trubisky and Foles is as old school as it gets. This pits Trubisky’s athleticism, skills, and the upside that comes with that package against Foles’ veteran know-how and ability to get it done. In the end, coming to a right answer isn’t going to be easy. Both sides have their merits. Trubisky’s ability to make something out of nothing because of his mobility is nothing to sneeze at in this competition. Meanwhile, Foles has been there, done that, and won a ring because of his ability to distribute like a point guard within this offense.
I don’t expect a winner to be declared after Day 3. But for the time being, I fully believe we’ll see more back-and-forth from Trubisky and Foles until someone eventually breaks free from the pack.