Nick Foles

If Bears decide to make a trade, which QBs could they look to pursue?

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If Bears decide to make a trade, which QBs could they look to pursue?

Week 6 of the 2019 NFL schedule will be highlighted by the showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans. Quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and DeShaun Watson will face off in what’s being dubbed as a showcase of the league’s best young quarterbacks.

Naturally, that’s a tough pill to swallow for Bears fans.

We all know the story by now. General manager Ryan Pace pushed all of his 2017 NFL draft chips to the center of the table when he traded up one spot from No. 3 overall to No. 2 in order to select Mitch Trubisky, a move that’s produced mixed results now three seasons in.

It’s unfair to call Trubisky a bust at this point, but it’s an honest assessment to say he’s a distant third in the pecking order behind Mahomes and Watson.

But none of that really matters moving forward. Quarterbacks who throw for incredible numbers don’t always win the Super Bowl, and while Trubisky doesn’t project as a guy who’s going to lead the league in any major passing category, he does have the work ethic and character to emerge as a leader who can take his team on a Super Bowl run.

He did, after all, lead the Bears to a 12-4 record and what should’ve been a game-winning drive in last year’s wild-card round.

There is one troubling theme bubbling under the surface with Trubisky. For the second year in a row, he’s missed starts due to a shoulder injury. He sat two games in 2018 and was sidelined for the Raiders game in London last week. His absence cost the Bears in the win column and it’s pretty clear that Chase Daniel isn’t the best backup plan in the long-term.

Normally, backup quarterbacks aren’t big-name guys who are fresh off of starting jobs, and if they are, they probably weren’t very good. But the Bears could have an opportunity over the next few weeks to trade for a better Plan B if Trubisky gets hurt again (note: the NFL trade deadline this season is Oct. 29).

Let’s start in Jacksonville, where the Jaguars are riding Minshew Mania to a better-than-expected start to their 2019 season. None of this was supposed to happen; instead, Nick Foles was signed to be their fearless leader who could finally complement a Super Bowl-worthy defense and lead Jacksonville on a playoff run.

Foles injured his collarbone in Week 1 and hasn’t taken a snap since. He’s expected to be out until Week 11. By then, the Jaguars should firmly be Gardner Minshew’s team. Foles can likely be had in a trade and his familiarity with an Andy Reid-style offense (he thrived under Doug Pederson in Philadelphia the last two seasons) would make him a perfect fit under Matt Nagy.

Then there’s the Cincinnati Bengals and Andy Dalton. The Bengals are in a two-horse race with the Miami Dolphins for Tua Tagovailoa and there’s virtually no chance they’ll re-sign Dalton this offseason. After a few more losses, would the Bengals consider shipping him out of town for some draft capital? It would certainly be worth exploring by Pace.

Dalton has enjoyed success as a passer in the NFL, including two seasons with more than 4,200 passing yards. However, he does have an injury history and has just 16 starts over the last two seasons. Still, he’s an accurate passer who would be a fantastic insurance policy in 2019 and potentially beyond.

If the Bears want to go the more traditional backup route, they could kick the tires on Giants veteran Eli Manning. Prying the two-time Super Bowl champ away from Big Blue is probably the least likely scenario considering Manning’s no-trade clause, but Manning has enough left in the tank to give Chicago a chance to win games if Trubisky is out of the lineup. Maybe it’s more accurate to say he’d give the Bears a better chance than Daniel.

And then there’s always Josh Rosen, who the Miami Dolphins appear to be auditioning to trade away this offseason when they land their quarterback of the future in the 2020 NFL draft. He’d be the most controversial addition because of his status as a young former first-rounder who doesn’t project as a one-year rental (unless you’re the Dolphins). Rosen’s growth, much like Trubisky’s, has been stunted by his less-than-ideal first-year setting more than his natural talent.

The most likely approach, however, is that Pace will do nothing. He’ll roll the dice on Trubisky’s toughness and Daniel’s veteran experience (although that seems contradictory considering his limited number of starts over his 11 years in the NFL).

But if the Bears are serious about going on a Super Bowl run in 2019, they’ll need to do something to protect the team against a devastating turn of events at quarterback.

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Sports Talk Live Podcast: Olin Kruetz joins the panel to preview the Bears/Eagles Wild Card Matchup

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Sports Talk Live Podcast: Olin Kruetz joins the panel to preview the Bears/Eagles Wild Card Matchup

Hub Arkush, Laurence Holmes and Patrick Finley join Kap on the panel.

0:00- Former Bears All-Pro center Olin Kruetz joins the panel to preview the Bears/Eagles Wild Card Matchup. The guys discuss if Mitch Trubisky will struggle in his 1st playoff game and what it will take for the Bears defense to take the magic out of Nick Foles.

11:00- NBC Sports Philadelphia's Reuben Frank joins Kap for the latest on the Eagles. Is there really a quarterback controversy between Nick Foles and Carson Wentz? And what will it take for the underdog Eagles to pull off another playoff upset?

16:00- Wendell Carter, Jr. plays just 14 minutes in a blowout loss to the Magic. Jim Boylen says it was done so he could learn from the bench. What is going on? Plus the guys give their predictions for the Bears/Eagles game.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: 

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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Duly noted: Bears facing a QB “problem” with Eagles, a tougher ’19, and Fletcher Cox

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Duly noted: Bears facing a QB “problem” with Eagles, a tougher ’19, and Fletcher Cox

Hopping around the notebook as the Bears move onto final approach for Sunday’s wild-card get-together with the Philadelphia Eagles…

…the Philadelphia quarterback situation does and should concern the Bears even with their top-ranked defense. The obvious reason is that Nick Foles is an underrated, playoff-tested passer with four wins in five starts this year in place of Carson Wentz.

But it is not the quantity of Foles’ work that evokes concern; it’s the quality. Simply put, the bigger the game, the better the Foles.

He has a career 88.5 passer rating in regular seasons, with 61.5 percent completions and a respectable 2.1 interception percentage. But in four playoff games, including last year’s run to the Super Bowl, Foles jumps to a 113.2 rating that starts with a completion percentage that spikes to 71.9 and an interception rate that plummets to 0.9 (one INT in 139 playoff attempts).

But wait – there’s more…

The Bears lost just four games this past season. One of those – Miami – still rankles them the most, the game in which they admittedly got overconfident when they found out that Brock Osweiler would start in place of Ryan Tannehill.

A common thread through the other three losses, however, one that extends through Foles and the Eagles. The only quarterbacks to defeat the 2018 Bears all had Super Bowl rings: Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, Tom Brady in New England, Eli Manning in New York.

Foles, who annihilated the 2013 Bears in a Game 15 blowout, has one of those things…

…Not to look too far beyond the game and what’s left of the 2018 Bears season, 2019 already projects as a considerably rougher go than 2018, the latter being the fourth straight fourth-place schedule for the Bears.

Winning the NFC North steps the Bears up in opponent class. The Bears faced three 2018 playoff qualifiers: Seattle, Los Angeles and New England. Based on this year’s finish, and it’s a nice problem to have, next season they face six: the Rams, Chargers, Chiefs, Cowboys, Eagles and Saints. Plus two games against the ever-irritable Vikings, who missed this postseason because of their losses to the Bears.

Exactly half of the Bears’ 2019 games will be against teams finishing this season with winning records. For comparative purposes, that’s the same percentage as this season, when the Bears had eight games against teams coming off winning records in 2017… 

…Back to the situation at hand…

Setting aside the assumption that the Bears defense will match up favorably with the Philadelphia offense (the Bears allowed an average of 14.9 ppg. over the span of winning nine of their last 10 games), an obvious key to the Bears advancing to the divisional playoff round is how well they protect and take care of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

The Bears finished third in sack total (50) while the Eagles finished tied for eighth with 44. The linchpin in the Philadelphia defense is tackle Fletcher Cox, with only two fewer sacks (10.5) than Bears evolving-legend Khalil Mack despite his starting point as an interior lineman. Only Aaron Donald among defensive tackles had more 2018 sacks than Cox.

The task of contending with Cox and running mate Tim Jernigan falls to the G-C-G group of James Daniels-Cody Whitehair-Kyle Long. Daniels told NBC Sports Chicago that Donald has been the best he has faced in his rookie season, followed by San Francisco’s DeForest Buckner (two dramatically different body types), and Long knows what they are dealing with in Cox.

“He’s an elite player, he’s a special player,” Long said. “He’s somebody that you gotta be prepared for. He’s the total package.”