It’s incredible to think how different the Chicago Bears’ plans were for 2020 way back in January. The world had a semblance of normalcy back then. There was no reason to think the NFL wouldn’t continue as usual. Then COVID-19 hit. Suddenly a modern society began to experience what a true pandemic is like for the first time. Still, the team moved ahead with their goals. They traded for Nick Foles and overhauled the coaching staff. Matt Nagy knew what he wanted.
A quarterback competition.
He wasn’t going to just give Mitch Trubisky a little nudge. A loud warning that he better improve this year. This is a full-on signal that his job is on the line. Foles isn’t insurance. He is a challenger. Their competition in training camp would be wide open. May the best man win.
Yet as time has passed, there is a growing concern that the battle may not be as even as hoped. Not because Nagy is showing favoritism. More because of just how drastically the virus has impacted the NFL offseason.
Minicamps and OTAs were already canceled. Now the preseason has followed. Suddenly the Bears have just a month of training camp practice, 14 of them padded, to make an evaluation of the two. All while Foles has yet to throw a single pass to any of the Bears receivers.
Nagy admitted this isn’t a small issue. Former quarterback Chris Simms elaborated on just how big of a hurdle this will be to clear on Pro Football Talk with Mike Florio.
Nick Foles will have to make up ground in other areas
People often gloss over just how intricate a passing game can be. It requires 11 men to act in full cohesion to function at a high level. The quarterback must trust his protection while simultaneously understanding every single route his receivers will run. Not only that but he must have a sense for how those receivers will run their routes because as Simms said they’re all not the same.
The reality is it takes a lot of practice reps before a quarterback truly finds a rhythm with the receivers like that. Asking Foles to do that in one month is tough. This is why he may have to overcome the disadvantage in other ways. Namely showcasing his leadership along with his noted intelligence and savvy at the line of scrimmage.
If he can at least avoid too many interceptions or bad incompletions in practice, he should still have a shot to beat out Trubisky.