Bears giving QB Nick Foles benefit of the doubt
Turns out, third-string quarterback Tyler Bray’s promotion from the practice squad Saturday had nothing to do with Mitch Trubisky and everything to do with Foles.
Turns out third-string quarterback Tyler Bray’s promotion from the practice squad Saturday had nothing to do with Mitch Trubisky and everything to do with new starter Nick Foles.
Because Bray was put on the roster and then made inactive for the game Sunday against the Colts, he was allowed to stand on the sideline and be a sounding board for Foles, with whom he played on the Chiefs in 2016.
‘‘They have a really good relationship,’’ Bears coach Matt Nagy said Monday. ‘‘You know, having him come up and just be a voice for [Foles], I think sometimes those are parts of the game that are nice to have.’’
How did that work out?
‘‘Obviously, we could all look back and say, ‘Well, we scored 11 points,’ ’’ Nagy said.
Let Foles, a former Super Bowl MVP, have his caddie. After not meeting his teammates in person until late July, he deserved a veteran courtesy in his first start with the Bears. Because new NFL rules meant Bray could be promoted without the Bears cutting anyone else, it was a case of no harm, no foul.
Still, could you imagine if Trubisky was given another sounding board — in addition to four Bears offensive coaches who are former quarterbacks — and went, as Foles did, 26-for-42 for 249 yards and a 76.4 passer rating in a 19-11 loss? It would be interpreted as a referendum on Trubisky’s ability on the field and his ability to process information off it.
With Foles, however, it’s just a blip. The Bears are giving him the benefit of the doubt that Trubisky, who was yanked after 10 quarters in 2020, no longer receives.
As he picked through the rubble of the loss, Nagy circled back to Foles’ history when he was asked why he had faith Foles would be better Thursday against the Buccaneers.
‘‘Just his experiences of ‘been there, done that,’ ’’ Nagy said. ‘‘It’s comforting to know that when you go through those situations . . . there’s no concern like: ‘Oh, no. Here’s an issue, here’s this or here’s that.’ We don’t have that. We really don’t.’’
Nagy framed the Bears’ issues as micro, not macro. With Trubisky last season — and this season — that wasn’t always the postgame vibe.
‘‘We have to find solutions on third down — like, what are the whys, you know?’’ Nagy said. ‘‘Is it execution? Is it schematics? When are they happening? Are there [tendencies]? Any of that stuff.
‘‘And then once you do that . . . that’s one of [Foles’] biggest strengths is he’s just got a lot of calmness to him and doesn’t get too panicked about any of that stuff. It permeates and spreads through the rest of the team.’’
Nagy said he never saw Foles sweat Sunday.
‘‘There really was no sense of panic at any time,’’ he said. ‘‘It wasn’t anybody being pissed off or angry because of the way things were going. . . .
‘‘So as long as you know you have players and coaches that care and that want to work together to find answers, then there’s no panic. There’s no get all concerned or up in arms. There’s none of that.’’
It’s hard to tell whether Bray had anything to do with that calm, but Nagy ruled out that his presence had anything to do with Trubisky, who was replaced a week earlier and, for the first time since the first month of his career, spent all week working with the second team.
‘‘Mitch had a really good week of practice; he was great all week long,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘You know, it was not an easy week for him. It’s different all week long, being in that role. And he handled it great. And Mitch was awesome on the sideline [Sunday].’’
The sideline is where Trubisky will remain Thursday, whether he has company or not.