Mitch Trubisky could get one last shot to make something of his Bears career.
As coach Matt Nagy weighs Trubisky’s and Nick Foles’ health, as well as their performance, he’s open to going back to Trubisky for the Nov. 29 game against the Packers. While it’s almost certainly too late for Trubisky to convince the Bears to keep him beyond this season, it’s a six-game audition for the rest of the NFL.
“Regardless of when that opportunity comes, that chance to get back on the field — I know how much football means to him,” Bears pass game coordinator Dave Ragone said Wednesday. “I know how much
he’s put into it and I know how much he enjoys going out there and competing. Whenever that moment comes, we’ll embrace the moment.”
It’s an opportunity Trubisky probably thought he’d never get after being benched for Foles in Week 3. He threw an interception on a short pass against the Falcons, and the only thing hiding Nagy’s disgust was his face covering. He’d seen more than enough.
And after Foles rallied the Bears out of the mess Trubisky helped make, Nagy said he was committed to him as the starter indefinitely. That meant the former No. 2 overall draft pick would spend the rest of the season running the scout team in practice and listening on the headset during games — with the exception of an ill-fated experiment by Nagy to try him as a wildcat quarterback.
Some of that seemed to be sinking in for Trubisky as he watched Foles win the Atlanta game. He kept his helmet on, either out of forgetfulness or denial, as tight end Jimmy Graham, cornerback Kyle Fuller and others tried to cheer him up. At points, he had that thousand-yard stare as though he was grasping what this meant in his young career.
But after Foles went down in the final minute of the 19-13 loss to the Vikings, a door potentially opened for Trubisky. Foles’ hip and/or glute injury turned out to not be as bad as it looked Monday, but Nagy is thinking about more than just health. And he should be.
Trubisky’s injured throwing shoulder, suffered on his lone play out of the wildcat, is expected to be better by the Packers game. Foles might be good to go, too.
“It’s all on the table,” Nagy said.
The Bears might rationalize a quarterback change by saying Foles needs more recovery time in order to manage egos and avoid appearing flaky, but the truth is he hasn’t been enough of an upgrade over Trubisky to hold unshakeable job security. And Trubisky, who has averaged 5.7 yards per carry over his career, adds a running element that Foles doesn’t come close to matching.
“We want anybody who goes in there to go in and play well and execute the offense,” position coach John DeFilippo said. “It’s hypothetical for me to talk about how another player would go in and play, but our expectation level would be that [Trubisky] would go in there and play well.”
No one can ever say this with absolute certainty when it comes to the Bears, but their offense probably can’t get much worse by switching to Trubisky.
In Foles’ seven starts, he has completed 66% of his passes, thrown seven touchdowns and seven interceptions and compiled a 79.6 passer rating. Pro Football Reference says he has been on target on 76.6% of his passes, ranking 20th among qualifying quarterbacks.
Accuracy and decision-making are just as problematic, if not more so, for Trubisky, but his mobility is valuable considering the offensive line struggles and his 87.5 passer rating this season is well ahead of Foles’.
Neither of them has been good. That’s important to remember. But riding Foles hasn’t gotten the Bears anywhere, and giving Trubisky one more chance has become increasingly tempting.