We’re going to know the winner of the Bears’ quarterback competition before Sept. 13 after all.
Bears coach Matt Nagy cleared up some confusion Monday in saying yes, he will reveal his Week 1 starting quarterback next week, most likely Monday or Wednesday.
On Saturday, when Nagy was asked if he would publicly name Mitch Trubisky or Nick Foles his starting quarterback before the Bears’ opener against the Detroit Lions, he said: “That won’t be happening before that game.”
The NFL will require teams to publish depth charts by Sept. 7, at which point 53-man rosters and 16-player practice squads will be locked in. Theoretically, the Bears could use a time-honored media relations trick of listing QB1 as Trubisky “OR” Foles, allowing them to obfuscate for “gamesmanship” reasons until the season’s first snap at Ford Field.
But Nagy, as it turns out, will not take that well-worn-yet-generally-pointless approach.
“What I meant by that, to keep it real simple, was that there was not going to be a quarterback named this week that we’re in right now, up until that first week,” Nagy said. “… There will be no waiting until the middle of (next) week or the end of the week for that to happen. That wouldn’t be fair to our team and it wouldn’t be fair to the quarterbacks.”
Plenty of football coaches, though, are drawn to the veneer of competitive advantages like moths are drawn to lamps. But the thought of “tricking” an opposing team into preparing for two quarterbacks – in this case, Trubisky or Foles – generally doesn’t make much of an impact on a defense, unless it’s two completely different quarterbacks who significantly change the offense when they’re in (think Lamar Jackson/Joe Flacco here).
Trubisky and Foles, while different, are not so different that two different offenses need to be installed for them. And the Bears’ defense encountered similar situations in years past and brushed them off as non-factors.
“We have to go out there and play our football, and everything will be all right,” safety Eddie Jackson said in 2017 in response to a question about preparing for then-Vikings quarterbacks Sam Bradford “OR” Case Keenum.
Or ex-defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, on the possibility of facing Ryan Fitzpatrick “OR” Jameis Winston in 2018: “They run the same offense with both guys. … I don't think their offense changes a whole lot with either guy."
The point is: It doesn’t matter, so the Bears aren’t losing any edge by revealing Trubisky or Foles as their starter to the public. The Bears have to make a decision soon on who wins the job – once gameweek rolls around, a No. 1 quarterback has to be in place.
And, at some point after Trubisky and Foles are informed of the outcome, we will be, too.