Rozner: Foles does things Trubisky can't as Bears beat Carolina

  • Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles (9) reaches for the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020.

    Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles (9) reaches for the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 10/18/2020 4:58 PM

The list of things Mitch Trubisky can't do on a football field is so long that the interwebs would run out of space before getting to all of them.

But all you need to watch is the Bears' first touchdown Sunday in their 23-16 win at Carolina to understand it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Not that the Trubisky apologists will ever accept it, but Nick Foles' throw for a TD after the Bears' defense set up the offense inside the 10 is a perfect example.

As Foles approached the line on third-and-9, he read the defense and communicated with rookie tight end Cole Kmet. When he dropped back under pressure, Foles saw the route, stepped into the throw with a hand in his face and split triple-coverage with a perfect pass.

The tight window did not bother him, nor did the coverage. If the receiver runs the route properly, the play should work.

And it did.

This isn't complicated stuff in a league -- and with a coach -- that tries every week to make the game harder than it is, but this is not a play Trubisky can make.

Foles had his bad moments the first couple games, to be expected given his limited time with the offense, but with 10 days off it appeared The Genius Formerly Known as Matt Nagy has found a little rhythm with a veteran quarterback who does not panic and doesn't look confused on every play.

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On the next possession, 2 more throws Trubisky couldn't make, hitting open receivers while putting the ball only in a spot where a guy wearing the same uniform could catch it.

This went on all day, save one poor throw on an interception that Foles called a "dumb" decision. Interesting that he didn't use the stock Trubisky line of needing to "look at the film" to know it was dumb, and he said more in four minutes postgame than Trubisky has said in four years.

"It's easy to be satisfied and say we're 5-1, but that's not what we're doing," Foles said. "We are not satisfied. We were sitting there after the game having discussions about how to get better. We're not complacent."

Up 10-6 near the end of the first half, Foles got the Bears another field goal in the 2-minute drill after Nagy had blown all 3 timeouts, including the last one just outside the 2-minute warning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Despite his physical limitations, Foles may be the best offensive coach the Bears have and he should run the no-huddle as often as he can get away with it, but it doesn't mean he can fix Nagy.

Try as he might, it doesn't mean it will happen.

Nothing about Foles is great. In fact, mostly everything about him is average. The fact that he makes simple plays look simple and easy throws look easy should not be impressive.

It's not impressive. It's that Trubisky had more than three years -- an absurd amount of time in today's NFL -- to prove he could read a defense and make simple plays and he could not do it.

Poise at the position is also not special, just professional, and after so many years of Ryan Pace-imposed misery -- because he would not choose reality over a personal project -- it is comforting to watch an NFL quarterback in a Bears uniform.

With a defense this good, giving the offense consistent field position, all you need is a QB who can make the easy play and you can win a lot of games in a terrible league.

Foles was granted a pass after having little time with the offense, but now with 10 days off since the last game to confer with the Bears' magical offensive coach, Foles seems to be making progress on the field and in the meeting room.

There's work to be done, of course. The Bears are giving up too much on the ground defensively and the offense is barely better than it was under Trubisky.

They don't even try to establish the run, but if you're waiting for Nagy to commit to the run, you best not hold your breath.

It's just not who he is.

"At some point, we point we have to figure out what those answers are," Nagy said of the run game. "We got to fix it. We're doing enough right now to get the wins."

Nagy will never be a coach who keeps the ball on the ground, not even when the game situation or the clock dictates it, or at the risk of giving up the lead, his time management becoming the stuff of legend for a franchise with a history of terrible clock management.

Nevertheless, with a real quarterback in charge it's a lot easier to watch the locals and for the first time in 2020 the Bears weren't lucky to win a game.

They deserved this victory.

And unlike the feeling of a dread that accompanied each contest just a few weeks ago, the season suddenly has some promise.

That is a surprising and pleasant turn of events.

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