LAKE FOREST – At last, Matt Nagy is approaching a time where he can finally start his 2020 quarterback competition. It’s one that Nick Foles has been through a number of times before, but never during a pandemic.
He’s had to fight for playing time in St. Louis, Kansas City, Philadelphia, and most recently in Jacksonville. Foles will do so again with the Bears in 2020.
“This is going on Year 9, and it’s been a crazy career, and it just keeps getting crazier” said Foles.
Yet the veteran isn’t trying to stress the situation that he faces: A straight-up quarterback competition with incombent Mitchell Trubisky, with the winner getting the right to start Week 1 against the Lions on September 13th.
Maybe it’s the nearly decade in the game that has given Foles a worldly approach to the competition that finally begins with the start of a most unusual panedemic training camp at Halas Hall. During his first meeting with reporters on Friday, Foles laid out his wide-ranging, team focused objectives for the next month.
“I’m just going out there, and if I’m working the second team, third team, first team, let’s just play ball, man. I love this offense,” said Foles. “I love the verbiage, I’ve been in this offense, I know what I can do in this offense. But all that stuff gives me is wisdom; wisdom to go out and help my teammates, to help Mitch, to help Tyler.”
It’s the first name he mentions that’s so interesting, since its Trubisky who is fighting to get back the spot that once belonged to him. An inconsistent 2019 forced general manager Ryan Pace to decline the 2017 second-overall pick’s fifth-year option after first bringing in Foles to compete with him.
Trubisky expressed his motivation to win his starting job back this fall on Friday, yet Foles stopped short of that, saying that the competition will be one of cooperation as well.
“I’m not keeping secrets from Mitch. I want to help Mitch. So a play that I’ve ran a lot, and I know a lot, I’m gonna give him that information, just like I know he will with me because we’re working to help each other,” said Foles. “When he makes a great throw I’m going to be right there to slap him a five, and then they’ll probably sanitize our hands, but I’m gonna do it.”
One thing that Trubisky will have on Foles is a rapport with the current Bears’ offense. He’s been with some members of the group since 2017, and the challenger didn’t have time to learn more about them when in-person OTA workouts became virtual due to the pandemic.
Is that a major disadvantage in the eyes of Foles?
“I wouldn’t say disadvantage is the right word. I say ‘You know what, that’s the situation,'” said Foles. “The situation is what it is. My focus is acclimating to being in Chicago, getting to meet a lot of people at this facility, trying my best to memorize names, which is impossible with so many people but I’m working on it.
“Looking forward to getting to know my teammates, I’m enjoying the QB room. I know quarterback competition, I know you’re going to ask me about it. The big thing is that we help each other improve in the QB room, not only as players but as people. That will help our team.”
It’s something that Foles has learned to embrace after quarterback competitions of the past in a most unsual nine-year career that continues in a pandemic in Chicago.