At the start of the offseason, one of the Chicago Bears‘ priorities was to improve the quarterback play. Mitchell Trubisky regressed from his 2018 play. Sure, his line did as well, but there are plenty of quarterbacks who played with worse offensive lines who performed well (look at the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans).
At his end of the season press conference, general manager Ryan Pace reiterated his support for Trubisky. He gave up plenty of draft capital to move up one spot to grab Trubisky with the second overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. He said that the Bears still have confidence in him and would start the season with Trubisky as the starting quarterback.
After that, Pace went out and traded for Nick Foles. Foles has a history of stepping up from his backup spot to succeed. He took over the starting spot when he was with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017 and he won the Super Bowl and the Super Bowl MVP.
Foles spent 2019 with the Jacksonville Jaguars but was inconsistent and suffered a shoulder injury. The Jaguars ultimately decided to part ways with him.
Even though he struggled with Jacksonville, you shouldn’t judge him on that. Jacksonville is in disarray and plenty of players gave up on the franchise last season.
The thought with Foles is that he is just good enough to push Trubisky to make him play better, but not good enough to beat him.
That might not be the case, however.
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune wrote about how he feels the Foles trade wasn’t to push Trubisky but to replace him.
If Trubisky were the guy, the Bears would have kept the draft pick and earmarked that money for other needs. This isn’t the kind of investment a team makes for a QB2. Follow the money and put the pieces together. This move was made to get a starting quarterback for the start of the 2020 season. That’s my takeaway.
Biggs has a point. Even though Pace said he had confidence in Trubisky, actions speak louder than words. Since he invested so much in Trubisky in the first place, he knows his job is on the line. That means if he sees that Trubisky is failing he needs to fix the situation.
Trubisky will begin the preseason as the starter in name only. Both he and Foles will split time with the number ones. Foles will eventually take over, though. While Trubisky is a better athlete, Foles reads defenses better. Also, he processes plays quicker. One of Trubisky’s problems is that he just took too long to make a play. The offensive line can’t block forever so eventually Trubisky had to run or take a sack. Foles looks at the defense and makes the call quickly. Additionally, he is familiar with the Chicago Bears coaches and their system so it won’t be difficult for him to run it.
In the end, Foles will be the starter in 2020. The thinking about the Chicago Bears is that if they get decent play from the quarterback they could be title contenders. The defense, despite suffering multiple injuries, still finished fourth in points allowed in 2019. Pace improved the pass rush with his signing of Robert Quinn so the defense could return to their 2018 elite level (or even be better).
Foles can be good enough to not lose games for the Bears. He’ll make quick, decisive throws that sustain drives and finish with scoring points. That keeps the defense fresh at the end of games.
If the offense averaged 21 points per game they would have ranked 21st in the league in 2019. The season would be completely different. Hopefully, Foles can improve the offense by 3.5 points per game. They averaged 17.5 in 2019. Then Chicago Bears fans can celebrate many victories, some of them in the playoffs.