Bears

Nick Foles makes Bears better than Patriots in 2020, says one NFL analyst

Nick Foles makes Bears better than Patriots in 2020, says one NFL analyst

Good press has been hard to come by for the Bears this offseason, so take a nice long moment to soak this one in. 

Speaking on SportsTalk Live, Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran had this to say about the Bears, Nick Foles, and the Pats: 

Allen Robinson's still there, right? Tarik Cohen's back? He's (Foles) got better players around him, no matter how you slice and dice what the Patriots have offensively. I know what the Patriots have. They have Julian Edelman, who's a 33-year-old receiver who's still outstanding but you need to start getting some of the wear off him. N'Keal Harry, unproven. Marqise Lee has not been able to establish anything in the league. Damiere Byrd, a guy who's not been able to establish anything in the league. A lot of guys who have plenty to prove, and haven't proven anything. I think that Chicago has better players around (Nick Foles). I think that the Bears will be a better team than the Patriots in 2020.  

Spicy! Zesty! Poignant! This take contains multitudes. So there you have it, Bears fans. After 20 years, someone finally thinks they might be better than New England. 

Who is the Bears' biggest training camp sleeper?

Who is the Bears' biggest training camp sleeper?

NFL training camps are scheduled to kick off in two weeks, but with uncertainty surrounding the preseason and the league's safety protocols to combat COVID-19, it's anyone's guess whether practices will be delayed. But once they kick-off, the Bears will be banking on some of their younger players stepping up and assuming a larger role in 2020. Sleepers, if you will.

There are several players who fit this description, ranging from rookies like TE Cole Kmet and CB Jaylon Johnson to veterans like CB Artie Burns. But with such an emphasis on the Bears' passing game in 2020, second-year wide receiver Riley Ridley is trending toward being the sleeper to watch.

According to Bleacher Report, Ridley is a smart bet to step up as the third option for Nick Foles or Mitch Trubisky.

Take Riley Ridley, who barely saw the field as a rookie fourth-round pick in 2019 but caught three of the four passes thrown his way for 54 yards in the team's regular-season finale. It was a good sign for the Georgia product that Chicago again didn't spend a high draft pick on a receiver and an even better sign when wide receivers coach Mike Furrey pumped up Ridley's tires last month.

To be fair, the Bears did invest in the position during the 2020 draft when they spent a fifth-round pick on Tulane's Darnell Mooney. Considering that Ridley was a fourth-rounder in 2019, the investment is pretty even and the competition between the two will be fierce. And don't forget about Javon Wims, either. In fact, Wims is a more direct threat to Ridley's ability to see the field because of their similar profiles. Mooney, meanwhile, is a burner who might take a little longer to adjust to the physicality of the NFL game.

Still, the point about Ridley's possible jump from rookie-season afterthought to legitimate weapon in 2020 is real. He didn't provide enough of an on-field sample last year to feel overly confident it will happen, but wide receivers often take a bit longer to settle into the kind of pro they'll be long-term.

Anthony Miller will begin the season as the expected WR2 alongside Robinson, but much like Ridley, he hasn't done much through the first two years of his career to suggest his success is a guarantee. And if he fails, it'll be Ridley who has the best chance to fill in as a well-rounded complement to A-Rob.

Why Nick Foles, not Mitch Trubisky, will win Bears' quarterback competition

Why Nick Foles, not Mitch Trubisky, will win Bears' quarterback competition

Nick Foles will be the Bears’ Week 1 starting quarterback because of one simple reason.

He has less to do to win the job than Mitch Trubisky does.

Foles does not have to overcome three years of inconsistent tape. Foles does not need to show he’s a different quarterback than he’s been in the past. All Foles needs to prove is competence and he’ll win the job.

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Trubisky has to prove not only competence, but that whatever competence he shows in training camp practices isn’t a mirage ready to disappear when the snaps actually matter.

This is going to be a weird, unprecedented (and, probably, irresponsible!) training camp amid a dangerous, deadly pandemic still raging in the United States. The NFL and NFLPA still haven’t agreed on the number of preseason games that’ll be played – the NFL wants two, the NFLPA wants zero (there should be zero, by the way). Players are scheduled to report to Halas Hall July 28; with so much still unresolved between the NFL and NFLPA, it wouldn’t be surprising to see that date get pushed back – perhaps truncating training camp.

Fewer (or no) games benefits Foles, who, again, has less to prove. Fewer practices probably benefit Foles, too, even though he needs time to develop relationships with his offensive line and the guys he’ll be throwing to. Trubisky needs as many practices and games as possible to prove he's not the quarterback he was from 2017-2019. 

Foles isn’t walking into training camp blind, either. He has existing relationships with Nagy, offensive coordinator Bill Lazor and quarterbacks coach John DiFilippo. He’s played in versions of Nagy’s scheme with the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles, where he won a Super Bowl MVP, by the way. That gives him an important foundation as he embarks on this competition. 

And this is all based on an assumption that Trubisky won’t save his career during training camp. Three years of inconsistent tape – and a league-worst 5.9 yards per attempt average in 2019 – are a lot to overcome over a handful of practices.

The Bears’ best-case, though, is Foles pushes Trubisky but doesn’t beat him out for the starting job. Trubisky at his best gives the Bears a better chance of making a deep playoff run than Foles at his best.

And it’s not like Foles, even if he wins the job, is guaranteed to shepherd the Bears back into the postseason. He hasn’t started more than eight games since 2015, and only has 13 regular season starts over the last four seasons. There is a certain level of unknown to Foles when it comes to how he’d handle a full season of starting.

But then again, there’s a certain level of “known” to how Trubisky would. It’d be uneven, if the last three years are any indication. For every big game against Detroit or Dallas or Tampa Bay, there’ve been more duds against Green Bay or New Orleans or Philadelphia.  

MORE TRAINING CAMP QUESTIONS
- Which version of Nick Foles will Bears get?
- Can Mitch Trubisky save his career?

That’s what Trubisky has to overcome, in addition to the first true challenge to his job in Foles. Foles has to overcome not knowing his teammates and some of the wrinkles Nagy’s put into his branch of the Andy Reid offense.

Foles, then, has less to do to become the Bears’ opening day starting quarterback. That makes him the safest bet.

And that’s why I’m picking him to win. 

 

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