Maybe the Bears underwent all those extensive Halas Hall repairs just so they could double the size of the QB room.
After 2019's underwhelming 8-8 finish, change was clearly needed. Gone were OC Mark Helfrich, line coach Harry Hiestand, tight ends coach Kevin Gillbride, and Mitch Trubisky's job security. In came, respectively, Bill Lazor, Juan Castillo, Clancy Barone, and Nick Foles. QB coach Dave Ragone was promoted, and John DeFilippo was hired into Ragone's old position. Now, on any given day, the Bears' QB room may end up holding four or five coaches, three quarterbacks, and zero clear-cut starters. If it feels like a lot of cooks (you're right!), that's only because it's a pretty important kitchen.
"The first thing is, there is no agenda there with all of us," DeFilippo said on Wednesday morning. "I think we all know our roles. I mean, I was in a very similar situation in Philadelphia with [now Colts head coach] Frank Reich and Doug Pederson, so I know how to kind of operate in this atmosphere and it's a good atmosphere to have. I don't mean it in a negative way, its a very positive atmosphere in terms of there's a lot of ideas being thrown out there.
"You know if I throw an idea out there and Coach Lazor or Coach Nagy doesn't like it, there's no like, you know, no one's sticking their tail between their legs and taking their ball and going home. There's not a lot of sensitivity there. I think when everyone knows their role – whether you're in the locker room or the coaches' offices – and your roles are defined I think it's really, really a lot easier to operate in any atmosphere."
The new guys certainly have their work cut out for them. Trubisky, fresh of joining the infamous list of QBs not to have their 5th-year options picked up, is trying to save his career while Foles, looking to rebound after a disappointing stint as The Guy in Jacksonville, is looking to recover his. Realistically, it's an either/or situation. And while Trubisky may have the early advantage on the field, it's Foles who's more familiar with the QB staff's two newest additions.
"So I had a chance to watch him grow," Lazor said of his time spent with Foles in Philadelphia. "I thought he had a fantastic year statistically and led us to a whole lot of victories. I saw him grow as a teammate. Of course, that was a long time ago."
"I think the thing Nick needs to do is just come in here and embrace the situation he's in," DeFilippo added. "I mean he's in a really good situation again with people that he knows. He's in a situation where he's battling with a guy that's a fantastic player and a fantastic person so it’s not going to be one of those cutthroat competitions where it's going to be you know uncomfortable when we're back in the meeting room every day."
As for Trubisky, the incumbent will still get the optically-inspired honor of running with the 1's first. Throughout the day, both coaches spoke at length about how he can play a ' little bit tighter this year' while still wanting to allow him the space to 'determine the story.' What any of that means is still to be determined – though the Bears are more than happy to keep things vague. But behind their closed (and expanded) doors, it's clear that the quarterback battle has already taken shape.
"Yeah, this is as open of a competition as I've been involved with, for sure," DeFilippo said. "I would say yes."