Matt Nagy was never going to reveal much at his latest press conference on Tuesday. It was pretty much standard procedure. He was as frank as he could be on most questions. When it came to giving any serious information? He carefully sidestepped. However, he did make an interesting concession. He offered some insight into what he prioritizes when looking for quarterbacks.
While there are always variables, he broke it down into three things. One being versatility. An ability get creative at times, typically with their legs. It’s not a dealbreaker for them to be immobile but something they do look for. Another is decision-making. Do they protect the football and make the right reads? Finally is leadership. Can they command the huddle and elevate others around them?
Knowing these criteria and the fact Chicago is on the hunt for a new quarterback? This feels like a good time to whittle down the list of potential options. Here are several names that no longer qualify.
#Bears HC Matt Nagy on the 3 most important traits he looks for in a QB in running his system.
1) Leadership skills
2) Decision making
3) Athleticism is nice, but they could work around it
— Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. (@wiltfongjr) March 2, 2021
Don’t expect these QBs to suit up for Matt Nagy
Let’s just get this one out of the way now. Don’t be fooled by the doubletalk from the press conference. Trubisky isn’t coming back to Chicago. Nagy has seen him for three years now. He knows everything there is to know about the quarterback. He’s got the athleticism and the leadership traits but continues to be undone by his decision-making. Throwing more interceptable passes than his numbers show, not seeing open receivers enough, taking bad sacks, and so on. Trubisky has reached his ceiling in Chicago and there isn’t going any further.
People love to talk about Winston due in large part to two things. He’s a former #1 overall pick and he threw for 5,000 yards and 33 touchdowns the last time he was a starter. This glosses over the fact that he is also one of the worst decision-makers in recent memory. One of just 11 quarterbacks in league history to throw 30 interceptions in a single season. He has thrown 88 total in his career spanning 76 games. It’s hard to win in the NFL when the quarterback continues to gift the opposition with extra possessions like that.
Nobody can deny Fitzpatrick is always fun to watch. Few QBs in the past decade have proven better at pulling a rabbit out of their hat more often than “Fitzmagic.” That being said, there is a reason the longtime veteran hasn’t been able to hang onto a starting job. He can’t protect the football. Despite throwing 223 touchdowns in his career, he also has 169 interceptions. The folk hero nature of his career makes it easy to overlook how reckless he can be with the football. Far too much gunslinger in his game for somebody like Matt Nagy.
It was a surprise when the Bears decided not to sign Dalton last year despite him being a free agent. Now we know why. He doesn’t fit Nagy’s criteria. Leadership isn’t a problem. Teammates love him. It comes down to his general lack of mobility and his tendency to give the ball away too often. He has just 385 yards rushing in the past four seasons combined to go along with 45 interceptions in 51 games. He doesn’t generate enough positive plays to justify the negative. The inability to improvise only makes it worse.
The allure of Darnold is easy to understand. A former #3 overall pick in 2018, he’s still just 23-years old. Younger than Joe Burrow. He has very good mobility, able to go for long runs when given opportunities. The arm strength isn’t bad and from all accounts, he’s a good kid. Leadership though isn’t really certain at this point. Then there is the biggest red flag. In 38 career games, he has 39 interceptions and fails to complete 60% of his passes. That speaks of a quarterback who has questionable decision-making. A running theme throughout most of this list. It’s hard to imagine Matt Nagy being able to stomach his rollercoaster play long enough to see if he can be fixed.
Of the top college prospects coming out in the 2021 draft, the one who may not fit Nagy’s preferences is Trask. The Florida product has good size, a decent arm, and throws with timing and accuracy. It’s just unfortunate he’s a bit of a statue in the pocket. Trask is not known for his ability to move. He ran for just 50 yards in 12 games last season. This isn’t a quarterback who will take things beyond the design of the player. Very much a system guy. That can be fine if he lands in the right offense. Just probably not the Bears’.
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