Despite a slow start as starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears, Nick Foles is showing that he deserves to keep the job.
When Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy pulled starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in Week 3, he knew that this would cause controversy. There are many fans who still feel Trubisky is the Bears’ future at the position. Benching him could destroy the young quarterback’s confidence. If Foles struggled or got injured (a real possibility), could Trubisky go back in and succeed?
When Trubisky’s replacement, Nick Foles, started struggling in his first game as a starter in Week 4, scoring just 11 points. Furthermore, he started struggling to start his second game in Week 5, falling into a 13-0 deficit early. Nagy’s worst nightmare was coming to fruition. The calls for Trubisky’s return were loud and now there was a split on who should be the starter.
Then Foles got hot. He went on a drive late in the second quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in which he completed seven consecutive passes. That drive ended with a David Montgomery touchdown run.
The defense then helped Foles and the offense, forcing a turnover deep in Tampa territory. Foles ended that drive with a touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham. After looking so bad for most of the first half, Foles and the Bears found themselves with a 14-13 lead at halftime. Foles continued to make big plays in the second half and ultimately led the team to a big win against Tom Brady and the Bucs.
Despite his slow start, turning to Foles as the starting quarterback was a great decision by Nagy. Here are some reasons why:
Foles has the confidence to second-guess the head coach
One of the snippets caught by the network coverage of the game on Thursday night was of Foles and Nagy having an animated conversation on the sideline early in the fourth quarter. Foles apparently saw something in the Bucs’ defense that he felt he could exploit. He changed a play and handed the ball to Montgomery for a seven-yard gain. He then decided to go no-huddle and completed a pass to Allen Robinson for an eight-yard gain. Suddenly, the Bears were on Tampa’s 15-yard line.
Foles wanted to continue the no-huddle but Nagy wanted to run a play the offense practiced during the week. It was supposed to be a pass to Cordarrelle Patterson in the end zone. However, he had to go into a huddle to make the proper substitutions. Foles was not happy and it showed. The result of the play was a sack and Foles fumbled the ball. The Bears recovered but that derailed the drive and the team settled for a field goal and a one-point lead instead of a touchdown and a five-point lead.
A few plays before Foles went no-huddle, the offensive line lost guard James Daniels. Alex Bars came in and promptly gave up a sack. The Bucs defensive front was starting to take over and Foles felt it (literally and figuratively). He felt by going no-huddle the Bucs couldn’t substitute and would be on their heels. Foles wanted to take advantage of that. Nagy prevented him from doing that and Foles was upset. On the sideline, he let Nagy know his feelings.
This is a great thing and something that wouldn’t happen with Trubisky at the helm.
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Foles’ experience allowed him to be vehement with his feeling. Nagy might be the coach but Foles has a better understanding of what’s happening on the field and the momentum going on. Nagy has received criticism over his playcalling. Part of the problem is maybe not understanding the flow of the game. Yes, his calls ended up with wide-open receivers all over the field, but getting the ball to them is dependent on what the quarterback can do. Patterson was wide open on that play but Foles had no time to get the throw off. He felt how much the line was struggling at the moment and wanted to do something to ease the pressure off of the linemen. Nagy didn’t understand that. Trubisky would never even bring that up.
I need a lip reader on this pic.twitter.com/Y7I2k8cTwS
— Vikings Blogger (@firstandskol) October 9, 2020
After the game, Nagy didn’t seem upset about what Foles did. In fact, after Foles explained to him what he saw and felt, Nagy understood and actually agreed with him.
In that situation right there, I think that’s where you guys will start seeing with Nick and I, when we start growing in this thing — and I agree with him, like once you get going and you’re in a little bit of a tempo, we kind of had them on their heels.
This is how a coach-quarterback relationship should be. Nagy challenges Foles to go out and make plays and Foles challenges Nagy to understand the flow of the game to improve his playcalling. Nagy wants and needs a vocal quarterback so he could be better.
Foles’ ability to read the defense won the game
Another example of Foles reading the defense to help the Bears came on the drive that resulted in the game-winning field goal. The Bears had a second-and-11 on the Bucs’ 43. It was too far for a field goal so Foles needed one more big play. Shaq Barrett looked like he was blitzing, but gave a signal that he wasn’t. Foles recognized that and called Montgomery to move next to him. Then he signaled to Charles Leno Jr. to not worry about Barrett.
Foles then called for Robinson to “rub” on the play. That means to get in the way of Barrett (without moving) to open up some space for the receiver, in this case, Montgomery. It worked and Foles floated a beautiful pass into Montgomery’s hands to set up the game-winning field goal. The Bears just didn’t get that from Trubisky.
Dear fans, #NFL football is so much more than physical ability.
— Emmanuel Acho (@EmmanuelAcho) October 9, 2020
Once Foles got whatever he had that kept him from performing out of his system he made some big throws. The touchdown to Graham, a couple of them to Robinson, a big third-down call to Anthony Miller, and the floater to Montgomery all showed why Foles is here to stay as the Chicago Bears starting quarterback in 2020.