The Chicago Bears held a “scripted” scrimmage at Soldier Field today, with emphasis on the offense’s ability to perform in particular down-and-distance scenarios. This provided an opportunity for both quarterbacks Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles to run with the ones and twos, and provided the coaches and the beat writers with further insight into who will be the Bears’ starting quarterback in 2020. After practice, Coach Matt Nagy spoke with the media via Zoom, followed by Trubisky and then Foles.
Coach Nagy, wearing a white ball cap with the cursive “B” Bears logo, opened with a quick note about the team “pausing our football activities” this past Thursday. He credited players with their ability to use their voices and thanked the organization management, including chairman George McCaskey, president Ted Phillips, and GM Ryan Pace for their support. “We’re really pulling together in a powerful way.” He said there was intentionally nothing from the coaches, in order to let the players have their voice.
Nagy praised head athletic trainer Andre Tucker in “making sure we don’t get guys who cramp up too much, and we don’t come out of here with too many injuries” in response to the fact that the team did not sustain any injuries at practice today.
When asked about a progress report on Trubisky, coach Nagy praised his young quarterback’s “mentality of touchdown to check-down” saying “that’s been really good.” As a former college and Arena Football league quarterback, Nagy should know quarterback competitions as well as anyone. As criticism to point out, he stated that “both quarterbacks missed a couple deep balls over the middle...we have to correct that. I do like that we took some shots” while also letting them off the hook for some situations where the scripted practice got the better of the quarterbacks. “We scripted the entire day” so even after plays which would normally go for a first down, they still have their next down-and-distance planned. In news which you’ll see discussed at length in print, online, and social media, Nagy revealed that the decision on a starting quarterback “won’t be [publicly] happening before that day” of the Lions game.
Kyle Fuller intercepted Mitch Trubisky twice in practice today, and when asked about it, Nagy went into detail about both INTs. The first one was on an extended play which would likely have been a sack in a game, and in practice the coaches want to see the potential results of those plays extended, this one ending in a pick. The second ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage and Kyle Fuller was able to get under it. “We had a couple tipped balls...remember this, just as you’re taking notes on this kind of stuff. We are not allowed to ‘cut’ on offense” Nagy chalked that up to practice rules as well. He stated that at this time, the coaches don’t allow for offensive linemen to “cut” the defensive linemen to fight against tipped balls.
Eddy Pineiro did not kick today in practice, as he’s still nursing a groin injury which was part of the Bears’ decision to sign kicker Cairo Santos. Santos had a very productive day, making every kick he attempted.
After Nagy, incumbent starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky came up. Wearing a white t-shirt, with air pods in his ears to hear the reporter’s questions, Trubisky deflected the first question about the what’s left of the quarterback competition. Coaches have not given the quarterbacks a deadline for the decision, and he said “that would be a good conversation to have with coach.” Trubisky did say the best advice he’s been given this offseason is that “everybody goes through a process. You never know when you’re going to have a good year or a bad year. You just gotta work your tail off.” He called his support system “everything to me” and said the support of his family and friends is more important than any one piece of advice.
When asked about what he wants to show the coaches in regards to the competition for the starting job, he responded with how well he can run the offense. He said what he is bringing to 2020 that will be better than years prior is “improved throwing the ball downfield” and said he will “make better decisions” while also mentioning his improved accuracy and footwork.
Trubisky was seen wearing the championship belt which has been a feature of camp thus far this year. When asked how he got the belt, he said the the wide receivers won the one-on-ones that day, and wide receivers coach Mike Furrey gave him the belt after practice.
Trubisky was followed by the new challenger, former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles. Clad in a grey pullover top with a yellow hat with double-rim glasses, Foles spoke about the challenges of the matchup today. “It’s definitely different when it’s a scripted scrimmage” because certain down and distances are pre-determined. “It’s almost like a double battle. You’re playing the game and then you’re playing the script.”
Similar to Trubisky before, he was given the chance to answer about what he has to show to coaches in this competition. “I have to just be myself” was his response. Compared to Trubisky’s mindset of working his tail off, this would seem to be an argument that Foles’ resume should come into play in the decision. However, in regards to his Super Bowl MVP award, he said “your resume will only get you so far. It’s what you do day in and day out that matters.”
In regards to being familiar with the system, Foles said that this offense has similarities to what he’s done before. The challenge, though, is learning the terminology for familiar concepts. On the week one matchup with the Lions, and his familiarity with their defense, he referenced his Super Bowl game against the Patriots when Matt Patricia was New England’s defense coordinator.
On the timeline to name a starter, he followed Trubisky’s strategy of deflecting to the coaches. “All I can control is going out there, executing plays, and building relationships...No matter what happens, we’re all a part of the Chicago Bears”
Foles gave a quick snip of the team meeting Thursday, simply stating “What happens in that locker room stays in that locker room” although saying of the team:“We want change and we want to make an impact.”
Are there questions that you wish the players and coaches would answer in their press conferences? What are you missing most about Bears camp, as this year is closed to the public? Leave a comment with your thoughts!