Bill Belichick won’t rule out platooning Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham, the two quarterbacks he has competing to replace Tom Brady.
If arguably the greatest football coach of all time might consider a quarterback platoon, shouldn’t Matt Nagy do the same Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles?
We've actually seen Trubisky and Foles switch in and out on, sometimes, a play-to-play basis during practice. It wouldn't be surprising if the other 10 guys in the huddle don't know who's playing quarterback until they hear either Trubisky or Foles' voice. It's a good thing for practices, allowing coaches to have side-by-side comparisons of each quarterback and allowing other Bears starters to get used to both quarterbacks.
Mike Florio and Chris Simms talked about the idea of extending that rotation into the regular season on Pro Football Talk Wednesday, and it’s a smart discussion. Take a look here:
I get the reasoning for it. With no preseason games, it’s going to be difficult for any team in the midst of a quarterback competition to confidently pick a winner. So why not do what you’d do with uncertainty at wide receiver? Or what the Bears did at left guard two years ago, with James Daniels rotating in for Eric Kush on a series-by-series basis?
Well…because it’s actually a terrible idea for quarterbacks. I know from experience reporting on it.
My last year on the Notre Dame beat was 2016, when Brian Kelly pitted DeShone Kizer against Malik Zaire for the Irish starting quarterback gig. Except Kelly decided he couldn’t pick a winner, so instead decided on having Kizer and Zaire split series to begin the season.
Both quarterbacks hated the idea of platooning with one another.
“My whole goal is to turn chicken crap into chicken salad,” a clearly annoyed Zaire said.
It didn’t take long for Kizer to grab hold of the No. 1 job, but the few series Zaire did play hurt Notre Dame in a 50-47 loss.
Simms, by the way, had to deal with a quarterback platoon while in college, too. You’ll notice a similar word in the quote below as the quote above.
“It was the dumbest crap ever,” he said.
Yep. It is the dumbest crap ever.
It’s just not feasible for a quarterbacks to switch in an out of a game and actually have it be a good thing. It’s a position designed for The Guy, not Two Guys. What if Trubisky leads a scoring drive to open the game? Does he immediately sit out the next series because coaches planned on giving it to Foles? How is either quarterback supposed to get into a rhythm with his receivers and against an opposing defense?
If the Bears can’t decide between Trubisky and Foles by Sept. 13, the solution is not to play both of them. The solution is to name a starter but give him a short leash.
That doesn’t necessarily mean a quarterback change could come in the middle of the season opener. A short leash could mean a game, it could mean a month. Or it could mean two quarters – if Trubisky starts but the Bears go into halftime down 13-0 and look awful on offense, why not get Foles warming up?
That’s not a platoon. Platoons don’t light fires under quarterbacks. They only serve to frustrate everyone involved, and rarely result in a positive outcome.
So no, the Bears should not consider platooning Trubisky and Foles when the 2020 season starts. Because, too: Do we really think Belichick – Bill Belichick! – is giving any of his plans away right now?