The Chicago Bears reportedly made their decision on who starts the season at quarterback. Don’t expect the battle to be over just yet, however.

The great Chicago Bears quarterback battle of 2020 is finally over. Incumbent Mitchell Trubisky battled newcomer Nick Foles for the right to be called QB1. The coaches made a decision on who starts the regular season.

That player is Trubisky.

Reports have the Bears already informing both players of the decision. Neither quarterback left a distinguished mark in the battle, though. Both had their good days but neither one did anything to wow the coaching staff and make himself a definite choice over the other.

As I’ve written before, if Nick Foles didn’t do enough to separate himself from Trubisky or Trubisky falls on his face, the coaches will choose the incumbent. There’s this old boxing adage that says that in order to win the championship the challenger needs to rip the belt from the champ’s hands. That means the challenger needs to dominate and show he was the better fighter. If rounds are close, the champ receives the benefit of the doubt.

That’s what happened in this case. By most accounts, the media at camp acknowledge that Foles probably did enough to win but not convincingly. Again, the champ, in this case the incumbent starter, gets the benefit of the doubt.

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The Battle still not over

Trubisky might have won this battle but the war isn’t over just yet. Nagy will have a short leash on Trubisky. His real trouble comes in games when he has to make quick decisions. He takes too long to make a decision, resulting in unnecessary sacks (he took eight sacks in 2019 by stepping out of bounds before reaching the line of scrimmage untouched, resulting in sacks).

When practices in camp ramped up and the quarterbacks had to make quick decisions Trubisky started to struggle. It’s also when Foles started to look good.

If the same happens when the season begins Nagy has confidence that Foles can step in and do well. Remember, Foles did just that in 2017 and led the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl win and he won the Super Bowl MVP. He did it again in 2018 and not only got the Eagles to the playoffs but also beat the Bears in the first round.

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Remember, also, that Foles has experience in head coach Matt Nagy’s system when both were with the Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs. Additionally, he’s worked with offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, and offensive line coach Juan Castillo. He understands what each coach expects from him in the system.

Starting the season against the Detroit Lions in Week 1 helps Trubisky. After losing his first two career games against Detroit, he won the last three. His best numbers are against them. He completed 70 percent of his passes for 1,359 yards and 11 touchdowns and has a career passer rating of 106.3 against them. He could have a good start to the season, giving Nagy his first career win to open a season. That’ll be a good confidence booster.

What happens beyond that will determine how well the Chicago Bears do in 2020.

2 COMMENTS

  1. “By most accounts, the media at camp acknowledge that Foles probably did enough to win but not convincingly.”
    This would be the same media who saw Tolliver as a starter instead of a cut.
    Pretty shrewd judges of football-flesh, that bunch.

  2. Toliver was supposed to be a placeholder for Johnson, just like Burns was supposed to be before his injury. Without preseason games they wanted to ease the rookie in. Just like what happened to Trubisky, though, those plans crashed and burned.

    Johnson ended up having a great camp and Toliver struggled. By the end of camp, the media you like to bash didn’t predict Toliver as the starter. The thought, again trying to ease in the rookie, that Skrine would start on the outside. No one thought Toliver would be cut but the Bears surprised everyone with that move…

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