Arkush: If you think you know who will be the Bears' starting QB, you're kidding yourself
If I bump into one more person who discovers what I do for a living and their first question isn't "Who's going to be starting at quarterback for the Bears on opening day, Mitch or Foles?", they'll be the first.
You can keep on asking, guys, but whether you want to believe it or not, right now nobody knows.
There is a narrative being pushed by some analysts and media -- and embraced by a significant portion of Bears fans -- that Ryan Pace traded for Nick Foles because he and head coach Matt Nagy have had it with Mitch Trubisky and are ready to move on.
That is absolutely false.
There can be no dispute that the best possible thing for the Bears, Pace and Nagy would still be for Trubisky to emerge as the franchise quarterback Pace believed he would be when he drafted him.
I can also say with 99 percent certainty that at this moment neither Pace nor Nagy know for sure who their starter will be under center when opening day eventually gets here.
I'm sure Nagy has some preconceived notions about what might happen, and perhaps subconsciously he'll lean in one direction or the other, but here's his reality:
Foles is clearly better suited than Trubisky to run Nagy's passing game at the moment, but he's much more limited as an athlete than Mitch and not necessarily better suited to run Nagy's offense.
Trubisky has had more than enough flashes to show there is still a chance he could excel in Nagy's offense, but on the final day of last season he was still too limited as a field general and a passer to unlock all Nagy believes his scheme has to offer.
Foles was brought here, first and foremost, to compete with and try to push Trubisky; secondly, to be a huge upgrade over Chase Daniel, which he is; and third to continue to try and help develop Trubisky by both competing with and mentoring him.
The real problem Nagy and Pace face is that while under normal conditions the competition might be half over already, due to the current public health crisis it hasn't even started yet.
What Nagy did tell us last week is how he will be judging it once the competition can begin.
"To me, you can sense it, you feel it, the efficiency, the productivity within the special situations that you have," Nagy said. "Is it base first or second down, are you making the correct adjustments at the line of scrimmage to pick up a blitz? How accurate are you on specific throws? Are you playing smart in the red zone?
"What's your mentality, what's your communication like at the line of scrimmage with the wide receivers when you're going two-minute, no huddle, and then how are you handling the coaching, right? Probably the most challenging part with where we're at with losing out on the offseason is, is there improvement?
"Like I said, preseason games, reps, playing more, creating more reps, having the ability to have both those quarterbacks play with the same wide receivers and tight ends against the same defenses, that's going to be important."
Another factor Nagy will have to address -- and for which there is just no way to measure yet -- is how the rest of the offense reacts to each of his QBs.
Asked what he needs to see out of the QB competition, the Bears' No. 1 receiver, Allen Robinson, said, "To be quite honest, I think that I feel confident regardless.
"I think it's on the staff on what they want to see, because it doesn't really come down to me, as Allen Robinson. You know, it's a person who has to lead a whole group of men, that has to lead the offense, has to lead the team. For me personally, as a player, for those guys to just go out there and compete is enough."
There are things Trubisky can do that Foles never will, and there are critical things Foles does right now that Mitch hasn't learned yet.
How much Trubisky can close his gap with Foles between now and the opener will dictate who gets the start.