A quarterback’s responsibilities are many – so much so, in fact, the best way to describe it might be with a cross-sport comparison.
Fittingly enough, Chicago Bears Quarterbacks Coach John DeFilippo has one that I think hits the mark:
Bears QB coach John DeFilippo says Nick Foles would be a great point guard: "He processes information at an unbelievable speed."
— Mark Grote (@markgrotesports) August 19, 2020
I found myself intrigued by DeFilippo’s comparison, in part, because I had a strange sense of déjà vu. It was almost as if DeFilippo was jarring an old memory from deep within the recesses of my Bears brain. I didn’t know exactly when and where I heard this terminology and comparison, but I knew I had heard it recently — and from the Bears.
And thanks to help from Johnathan Wood of Da Bears Blog, I know I’m not totally losing it upstairs.
In August 2019, Kevin Fishbain (The Athletic) wrote about how Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy emphasized the importance of playing the “point guard” role in this offense. And evidently, it was something Trubisky took to heart:
“I think we threw a lot at myself and the offense throughout training camp and whether it’s adding more new stuff or pulling back a little bit and keeping it simple, allowing the offense to play fast and he just wants me to go out there and be the point guard. Distribute the ball to our playmakers and that’s really all I’ve gotta do within this offense. Just stay on top of everything. Continue to master it, go through it, know what I’ve gotta do within my job and get the ball to the playmakers.”
See … I’m not losing it!
Think about what a good point guard does on the hardwood. Even in a world of position-less basketball, a lead guard balances scoring and distribution. They orchestrate the movement and flow of the offense, dictate tempo, and make the play that is best for the sake of the team. Sometimes, that comes at the expense of said player’s own stats. But so long as the team wins, everyone will be happy with their stats.
The Bears need a point guard running their offense. We’ve seen Foles do it in Philadelphia. And to an extent, we saw Trubisky do it when things were going well in 2018 (and even in parts of 2019). Whichever quarterback can play that role consistently won’t just win this competition, they might even win some games of consequence for the Bears in 2020.
No winner has been declared at this point of the Bears’ quarterback competition. Then again, having a winner at this point would’ve been wholly unexpected. But between what DeFilippo and Trubisky have said about what the quarterback needs to do in this offense for it to function, we have a better idea of what the Bears might be looking for in whomever starts in Week 1.
The ability to process information, read defenses, react, then distribute will likely decide who the Bears go with to start the year. Now, how they get to that point is going to be the challenge. Not having preseason games in which to judge Trubisky and Foles only amplifies the difficulty of the task. Maybe Chicago’s coaches will piece together scrimmages and game simulations between now and the start of the season. Even then, that might not be enough.
Sigh. We still have a long way to go in the next 22 days.