When we last saw Mitchell Trubisky, it was obvious the quarterback position needed to be an open competition in 2020.
There was one. And it was won by Trubisky. Or was it “won”? Hmm. In either case, Trubisky gets the ball to start Week 1. How long he gets to run with it depends on his performance. We’ll see if offseason workouts with teammates and improved mechanics from working with the QB guru who mentored Patrick Mahomes and Jimmy Garoppolo paid off. If things go well, Trubisky will continue to roll with the starters. And if they don’t, Nick Foles is waiting in the wings to play the savior role he seems to cherish based on his time in Philadelphia.
Matt Nagy refused to talk about how short Trubisky’s leash is because everything is a secret these days. Frankly, I’m not sure if that was more of a show of newfound confidence in his starter or a sign that he has an idea of what that pitch-count looks like and doesn’t want to make it public. In the end, it’s Trubisky’s time for as long as he plays well.
“Never Tell Me The Odds”
The DraftKings SportsBook lists the Bears as 2.5-point underdogs against the Lions. The total is set at 43. Only three games project to score fewer combined points than Sunday’s Bears-Lions tilt.
The Bears lead the all-time series 101-74-5 and have won the last four with Matt Nagy at the helm.
Game Time, Broadcast Info, Officiating Crew:
Location: Ford Field, Detroit
Broadcast Info: Sunday, September 13 at noon CT on FOX-TV (Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Shannon Spake), WBBM-AM 780 and WCFS-FM 105.9 (Jeff Joniak, Tom Thayer, Mark Grote)
Referee: Alex Kemp
Expected Starters and Lineups:
Bears Expected Starters:
• QB Mitchell Trubisky
• RB David Montgomery
• WRs Allen Robinson II, Anthony Miller, Ted Ginn Jr.
• TE Jimmy Graham
• LT Charles Leno Jr., LG James Daniels, C Cody Whitehair, RG Germain Ifedi, RT Bobby Massie
• DT Akiem Hicks, NT Bilal Nichols, DE Roy Robertson-Harris
• OLBs Khalil Mack, Barkevious Mingo (Robert Quinn is doubtful because of an ankle injury)
• ILBs Roquan Smith, Danny Trevathan
• CBs Kyle Fuller, Jaylon Johnson
• FS Eddie Jackson
• SS Tashaun Gipson Sr.
• Cairo Santos (kicker), Pat O’Donnell (punter, holder), Patrick Sales (long snapper), Cordarrelle Patterson (kick returns), Tarik Cohen (punt returns)
Lions Expected Starters:
• QB Matthew Stafford
• RB Kerryon Johnson
• WRs Marvin Jones Jr., Danny Amendola, Quintez Cephus
• TE T.J. Hockenson
• LT Taylor Decker, LG Joe Dahl, C Frank Ragnow, RG Jonah Jackson, RT Tyrell Crosby
• LDE Trey Flowers, LDT Danny Shelton, RDT Nick Williams, RDE Da’Shawn Hand
• OLBs Christian Jones, Jamie Collins
• MLB Jarrad Davis
• CBs Desmond Trufant, Justin Coleman
• FS Tracy Walker
• SS Duron Harmon
• Matt Prater (kicker), Jack Fox (punter, holder), Don Mulbach (long snapper), Jamal Agnew (kick/punt returns)
Three Bears …
David Montgomery was a full participant in the last two practices, suggesting he is good to go for Sunday. Even still … I can’t help but wonder if Montgomery will be on a load-management plan. Montgomery will be just 18 days removed from suffering a groin injury that limited him in practice. If Montgomery is healthy, then he is an “X” factor. Last year, he showed flashes and proved that he was hard to take down. Finishing last year with a 100-yard rushing game against the Vikings left me feeling good about what is on the horizon in 2020.
Jaylon Johnson should expect to get picked early and often. Lions QB Matthew Stafford is a wily vet in what figures to be a pass-happy offense. In other words, rather than try two-time Pro Bowler Kyle Fuller, I expect Stafford to sling it in Johnson’s direction. If Johnson is as opportunistic as he was at Utah last year when he earned second-team All-American honors, the rookie could come up with his first career pick in his debut. Wouldn’t that be something? But to do so, he’ll probably have to get the best of Marvin Jones Jr., who will be Stafford’s top target if Kenny Golladay can’t play.
Cairo Santos has kicked poorly since 2017. In 19 games with the Chiefs, Bears, Bucs, Rams, and Titans, Santos has made just 22 of 32 field goals. That comes out to a woeful 68.8 percent. And in his most recent turn with the Titans in 2019, Santos missed more field goals (5) than he made (4). It’s become a tradition to worry about the Bears’ kicking game, one that becomes all the more nerve-wracking based on Santos’ recent history.