Matt Nagy said this week he’s not thinking about how short Mitch Trubisky’s leash may be as the Bears’ starting quarterback. And why would he be? Entering a season thinking “well, we can always go to Nick Foles” is no way to coach a football team.
But since we’re in the predictions business, and this is a space for one bold prediction about the 2020 Bears, I’m here to tell you…
…Nagy will change his starting quarterback five times this season.
If you’re wondering, “hey, isn’t that a lot?” It sure is! Changing starting QBs twice during a season isn’t usually a problem – you go to the backup when the starter is injured, then put the starter back in when he’s healthy.
Three times usually portends bad news – either you’re down to a third-stringer, or you starter can’t hang on to the job.
But five times? That’s madness. It’s also not healthy for a team to do.
But here’s why the 2020 Bears, though, will make five changes to who their starting quarterback will be:
First, Nagy said a few days before naming Trubisky his starter that there was not a “clear-cut” winner of his quarterback competition. While the Bears genuinely are encouraged by some of the steps Trubisky took during training camp –avoiding bailing out of the pocket quickly, hitting throws across the middle, making better decisions, improving his footwork – he didn’t run away with this thing.
And without preseason games to test those improvements in a live setting, do we really know if they’ll consistently translate to the regular season?
Second: Trubisky missed three games over the last two years due to injuries. That’s not many, sure, but that’s meant three starts by Chase Daniel. Based on that trend, even if Trubisky has a firm grasp on the starting job, Foles will probably start at least a game or two this year.
But Trubisky’s last three seasons, until he proves otherwise, should outweigh improvements made behind the scenes in an orange jersey.
Third: Foles is, arguably, the greatest backup quarterback in NFL history.
Fourth: Nagy talked in February about needing to accelerate the timetable for finding an offensive identity. Usually it takes four, five, six weeks into the season for that to develop. But fixing an offense that was among the worst in the NFL in 2019 has to happen faster. And that might mean a quarterback change happens quickly if Trubisky isn’t cutting it.
Fifth: Foles, while a tremendous backup, has never started more than 11 games in a season. He started 13 games total from 2016-2019. If he takes over in the early or middle part of the season, history tells us he won’t hang on to the job for the long haul.
So my bold prediction is four quarterback changes. Here’s how I see it going down over the course of the Bears’ schedule:
Week 1 (at Lions): Trubisky
Week 2 (vs. Giants): Trubisky
Week 3 (at Falcons): Trubisky
Week 4 (vs. Colts): Foles
Week 5 (vs. Buccaneers): Foles
Week 6 (at Panthers): Foles
Week 7 (at Rams): Foles
Week 8 (vs. Saints): Trubisky
Week 9 (at Titans): Foles
Week 10 (vs. Vikings) Foles
Week 11 (OFF)
Week 12 (at Packers): Trubisky
Week 13 (vs. Lions): Trubisky
Week 14 (vs. Texans): Trubisky
Week 15 (at Vikings): Trubisky
Week 16 (vs. Jaguars): Foles
Week 17 (vs. Packers): Foles