Pace, Nagy say Bears QB position is now wide open

  • Both Bears GM Ryan Pace, right, and coach Matt Nagy described the quarterback competition as wide open between Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles.

    Both Bears GM Ryan Pace, right, and coach Matt Nagy described the quarterback competition as wide open between Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles. AP File Photo/July 2018

 
 
Updated 4/3/2020 6:05 PM

In the three months since the Chicago Bears 2019 season ended we had heard publicly from general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy just twice and not since a little over a month ago at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Of course we are all living in a different world now so let's not bury the real lead.

 

Both men and their families are healthy, safe, have had little or no up-close experience with the COVID-19 virus and are wishing the best for all of you and all of Bears Nation.

Now, what the heck were they thinking signing Jimmy Graham?

No, seriously, we'll get to the Bears newest tight end in a moment.

After telling us at both the season-ending presser and Combine that Mitch Trubisky was still their starting quarterback but they were looking for competition, Friday they were singing a new tune.

Both Pace and Nagy described the quarterback competition as wide open between Trubisky and Nick Foles.

To be absolutely clear, I asked them if Trubisky was still number one on the depth chart or if there is no depth chart at this point and here's what Nagy had to say.

"No. 1, what we're trying to do is what's best for the Chicago Bears, plain and simple.

"When we walk out on the first day, whenever it is, Mitch will be going first in the huddle, and those guys know that.

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"The one thing that you guys will realize about Nick Foles is that he's very aware. He understands what's going on. He understands the situation. Mitch is going to be out there.

"But at the same time it's going to be equal and we as coaches need to make sure we do the right thing in regard to equal reps and make sure they're playing with similar or the same players on offense and going against the same players on defense.

"I can promise you this: It's going to be completely fair, it's going to be extremely competitive in a good way. It's going to be a healthy competitiveness."

Forgive me for boiling down 15-to-18 minutes of QB talk to 12 lines but that is the essence of what it was all about.

Clearly not what we'd heard until now, but Trubisky still with the slightest of edges.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Next we get to Graham and when I asked Pace for his thinking on why the aging five-time Pro Bowler and his feelings on the crowded tight end room he told us, "With Jimmy Graham, I think it's a good example where we are all connected to a vision with a player on our team.

"I just think there are a lot of discussions on how to maximize Jimmy Graham in this offense and that's with Matt and all of our offensive coaches and our scouts.

"It was just a thorough process into how he fits.

"Look, we know we have a lot of tight ends on the roster now and that's something we are working through.

"We aren't there yet but we are definitely happy that Jimmy is in this offense."

Pace also handled the query on why Robert Quinn over Leonard Floyd.

"One of the first things that comes to mind as you strengthen your team is your pass rush affecting the opposing quarterback. We just feel like Quinn's a proven pass rusher.

"Look, Leonard's had some very good years here. I don't think acquiring Robert is necessarily a knock on Leonard, it's just doing what we feel is best for our team."

Pace also explained that newly acquired offensive tackle/offensive guard Germain Ifedi will be a right guard here to begin with creating more competition for Rashaad Coward and Alex Bars, and that new O-line coach Juan Castillo is very high on him.

But the biggest takeaway of all may have been news from Nagy that many Bears fans have longed to hear.

Circling back to the QB's and asked if they will compete in exhibition games Nagy told us, "Absolutely, they're going to play in preseason.

"It'll be equal reps and it'll be a good competition for them. And, again, that kind of goes in tune with what we're doing really with our whole team."

It is indeed a new world out there now, and at least for one morning on Friday it wasn't for all the wrong reasons.

• Hub Arkush, the executive editor of Pro Football Weekly, can be reached at harkush@profootballweekly.com or on Twitter @Hub_Arkush.

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