5 CRITICAL NFL TRAINING CAMP BATTLES PART 3
BY ADAM GREENE
We move from the sunny confined of the West Coast to the Midwest for our third training camp battles installment. The stage was first set when the Chicago Bears declined the fifth-year option on quarterback Mitchell Trubisky’s rookie contract. It was made even clearer when Chicago traded a fourth round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for quarterback Nick Foles.
As the fax ink dried on the Foles trade at the NFL league office, a training camp battle was secured, whether anyone wanted it or not. The Bears’ fortunes would rest on the result of the upcoming Trubisky vs. Foles death match and, considering that pundits have written off not only the two quarterbacks, but the team as well, no one is paying attention to it.
But I am. And now you will too. So let’s talk about it.
NICK FOLES vs MITCHELL TRUBISKY
First off, let’s not just dismiss Trubisky outright as an NFL quarterback. His primary problem is that he was the first QB taken in a draft that included, arguably, two future Hall of Famers; Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. Not only have Mahomes and Watson shown that they were the two best QBs available in that draft, they are currently both Top Five QBs in the league. Mahomes is, unquestionably, the best QB in the NFL. I feel like Watson is no worse than No. 3 behind Russell Wilson.
But Trubisky isn’t horrible. He isn’t garbage as the talk radio fandom might want to claim. Since Matt Nagy became the head coach of the Bears, he’s 19-10 as a starter. Last year, he completed 63.2 percent of his passes for 3,138 yards, 17 touchdowns and 10 picks. It was the lowest TD to INT ratio of his career, 1.9, and even if he’s not a starting caliber quarterback (which is probably the case), he’s a guy that should enjoy a lengthy, Josh McCown-esque career in the NFL.
It’s not Trubisky’s fault that Chicago looked at Mahomes and Watson and decided he was their best option. He wasn’t in charge of their scout room or their general manager. The Bears screwed up, not Trubisky.
While Bears fans might have been rightly irked that the team didn’t make a serious move for Cam Newton, Nick Foles too is far from the scrap heap. Yes, his tenure with the Jacksonville Jaguars left lots to be desired. You should also mark out his 11 games with the St. Louis Rams as Jeff Fisher was a horrible coach and his offensive staff one of the worst in league history. Foles, when playing for competent playcallers (outside the Jags) was 23-13 with a Super Bowl title and Super Bowl MVP.
Foles is a guy that obviously can’t just play for anybody. He needs to suit up for Andy Reid or an Andy Reid guy. Luckily, Matt Nagy is an Andy Reid guy.
If we’d had a regular offseason, this would have already been set. Foles would have excelled under Nagy’s system and Trubisky would have remained the same QB, a legitimate solid NFL back up overdrafted as a rookie. But we haven’t had that thanks to a global pandemic.
So this will have to be settled the old fashioned way, in an old-school training camp environment, but make no mistake. Trubisky isn’t horrible, he’s just not the guy. With Nagy as the head coach, Foles probably is and that’s where the Bears’ fortunes lie as we embark upon what will surely be the weirdest season in NFL history.