Should the Bears sign Philip Rivers to replace Mitch Trubisky?

Should the Bears sign Philip Rivers to replace Mitch Trubisky?

The Los Angeles Chargers have officially parted ways with Philip Rivers, their franchise quarterback of 15 years, just in time for the Bears to re-enter the quarterback market this offseason.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk on NBC Sports talked to Big Cat recently to discuss whether they believe Rivers would be a good fit for the Bears.

Big Cat doesn’t believe Rivers would necessarily be an upgrade over Trubisky. They both agreed that whatever team Rivers signs with, he will want to be the starting quarterback and not have to compete for the position. Ryan Pace has verbally committed to Trubisky as the Bears’ starter tirelessly despite his disappointing performance last year. 

It is still unclear how this offseason market will play out for the Bears and Rivers, but in a time of great uncertainty under center, it is good to know that Ryan Pace has a lot of options. 

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Chargers reportedly set to move on from Phillip Rivers after 16 seasons

Chargers reportedly set to move on from Phillip Rivers after 16 seasons

The Bears are deep in "offseason mode," likely poring over research from the 2020 Senior Bowl and, of course, going over their options to improve the roster amid what should be a very intriguing free agency period in less than two months. Among Bears fans, the anti-Trubisky crowd definitely is in support of the Bears adding a quality quarterback (or two for that matter) to challenge for the starting job and even the staunchest of Mitchell Trubisky supporters would admit it that it would be wise to add another quality backup quarterback to the Chicago roster.

As of Monday, it appears that another high-profile name is hitting the market.

The Los Angeles Chargers are reportedly "moving on" from quarterback Phillip Rivers — though NFL.com Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the Chargers would consider franchise-tagging him.

Rivers is the Chargers' franchise leader in passing yards (59,271), touchdowns (397), fourth quarter comebacks (27) and game-winning drives (32). Rivers' passing yards, passing touchdowns, and passer rating (95.1) all rank within the top-10 all-time. But while Rivers obviously has had a great career, last season was anything but "great" for the 38-year-old signal-caller. 

In the 2019 NFL regular season Rivers threw for 4,615 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 20 interceptions as the Chargers went 5-11, finishing dead-last in the AFC West. Rivers' numbers were disappointing last season, though his passing yards were an improvement over 2018. When you stack up 2019 Trubisky vs. Rivers, you notice that Rivers has Trubisky bested in every major passing category besides interceptions, where Rivers' 20 picks double up Trubisky's total from last season. 

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The only (and we repeat, only) way the Bears would be interested in bringing in Rivers was if they are truly convinced he can help put the 2020 Bears over the top. The Bears do have a strong support system for a quarterback right now, with a stellar defense that was in the top-10 in DVOA and a big-play receiver in Allen Robinson. The main issue in a hypothetical Rivers-in-Chicago scenario is: would he even have enough time in the pocket to make big plays?

The Bears ranked 25th in Pro Football Focus' offensive line rankings. That figure is obviously not great but actually ranked four spots ahead of the Chargers at 29th. So ultimately, along with a starting job, it would likely take a guarantee to make improvements along the O-line to bring Rivers onto the Bears. But the "Rivers-to-Chicago" door could be closed soon as it appears he does have legit interest around the league, particularly from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

With the Senior Bowl in the rearview mirror and free agency fast approaching, all of Bears faithful will be locked in on what the organization decides to do in terms of adding depth at quarterback. Is Rivers actually an option Ryan Pace and Co. would consider? And if they did go after and acquire Rivers, would he even be an upgrade over Trubisky?

Those questions will be answered soon but for now, Bears fans can simply enjoy the wait for the official start of NFL free agency (March 18) as more and more interesting quarterbacks hit the market.

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Tony Dungy to Matt Nagy: 'Have some confidence in your run game'

Tony Dungy to Matt Nagy: 'Have some confidence in your run game'

Bears head coach Matt Nagy is probably sick and tired of hearing about his approach to the running game. He did his best to silence the chatter around his unbalanced playcalling by feeding running back David Montgomery 27 times in what was the team's best rushing output of the year in Week 8, but the debate rages on. This time, it's not about the calls he made. Instead, this week's criticism will focus on the one he didn't.

With the Bears trailing 17-16 and the ball on the Chargers' 21-yard line with 43 seconds left to play, Nagy, instead of giving Montgomery a 28th carry to get kicker Eddy Pineiro a yard or two closer for his game-winning attempt, chose to take a knee and run the clock down to three seconds.

"Yeah, I'm not even going to get into that," Nagy said after the game. "I had zero thought of running the ball and taking the chance of fumbling the football. They know you're running the football, so you lose three, four yards, so that wasn't even in our process as coaches to think about that. We were in field goal range before the scramble, and then we got the scramble, so that didn't even cross my mind."

Pineiro's 41-yard kick sailed wide left. The Bears lost their third straight. And now, when confidence in the locker room and in the coaching staff is the most important element needed to get out of this funk, Nagy's decision to take a knee looks an awful lot like he was lacking in that department.

Former Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy suggested as much at halftime of Sunday night's Packers-Chiefs game.

"Matt Nagy, have some confidence in your run game," Dungy said. "You might not score, but you’ll get closer. Don’t rely on your field goal kicker.”

The Bears should know better than any team in the league that relying on your field goal kicker doesn't always work out. And while Pineiro has already proven this season that he has the moxie to connect on a game-winner (he split the uprights with time expiring against the Broncos in Week 2), the decision to not make his kick a little easier is one that Nagy will eventually regret.

"If there’s a fumble in that play, that’s the biggest risk," Nagy said. "We’re wasting our time right now talking about that."

Nagy doesn't like living in a world of what-ifs. But seven games into one of the most disappointing starts in recent franchise history, the foundation of this team is flooding with them. What if Ryan Pace selected Patrick Mahomes or DeShaun Watson over Mitch Trubisky. What if Nagy committed to the run game earlier this season in games that were winnable had a different strategy been deployed. And what if Pineiro was two yards closer on Sunday.

One thing seems certain: The Bears wouldn't be 3-4.