It says something, and not something good, that the thought of Mitch Trubisky back in the Bears’ starting lineup puts a slight spring in the step. It does so not because he’s good but because he’s not Nick Foles. You’ll recall that the big appeal of Foles was that he wasn’t Trubisky.
Variety is not the goal in the NFL. Good is. The Bears’ offense hasn’t been good in two seasons or, if you’re really being honest with yourself, three. The 2018 version, known for coach Matt Nagy’s gadget plays, finished 21st out of 32 teams in passing yards and 27th in rushing yards. The 2020 version likely isn’t going to be good in the last six games of the season, starting Sunday night with the Packers. Call it a hunch.
We don’t know who the quarterback will be at Lambeau Field, only that it’s going to be either Trubisky, coming off a shoulder injury, or Foles, coming off a hip/backside injury. Trubisky practiced Wednesday; Foles didn’t. Afterward, most of Nagy’s answers to reporters’ questions about Trubisky were expansive and full of praise, which might point to Mitch’s return to the lineup. But does it matter who’s under center? No, it doesn’t.
Foles was ineffective in his seven-game stint as the starter, just as Trubisky was ineffective in his three-game whatever-that-was to start the season. Maybe Foles is a little more hurt than Trubisky is. Rock beats scissors, which actually might be how a decision will be made.
“We’ve just got to try to see how it goes throughout the week,’’ Nagy said.
When you know all the lines to the movie, it’s probably time to find something else to watch. That’s the problem, of course. This isn’t a movie, or if it is, it’s rated execrable. And there’s nowhere else to turn for ardent Bears fans.
The Bears have yet to name a starting quarterback, and the Packers’ starting quarterback is named Aaron Rodgers. That’s really all you need to know. If Nagy is holding off on naming a starter to make Green Bay have to prepare for either quarterback, it’s hard to see the Packers losing sleep. And if he’s worried about Foles’ feelings, he shouldn’t be.
But it sure sounds as if it’s going to be Trubisky on Sunday.
“I have all the confidence in the world in him,’’ Nagy said.
Well, if you did . . .
These are dark times for anyone who has had the misfortune of watching the Bears’ offense. On Wednesday, the Jaguars named Mike Glennon their starting quarterback, which almost makes me want to live out the rest of my days in a cave. Glennon was so bad in the first four games of the 2017 season that the Bears pushed rookie Trubisky into service far earlier than they had planned. More noteworthy was that Bears general manager Ryan Pace had given Glennon $18.5 million in guaranteed money. Somehow, Glennon has resurfaced. The dearth of good quarterbacks is one of the gravest threats to our planet.
But worry not, Bears fans. During the bye week, Nagy came to the conclusion that the team’s running game is a big part of the offense’s problems. He could have figured that out by looking at the rankings. The Bears are last in the league in rushing yards and touchdowns. They’re also 25th in passing yards, so it’s not as if the ground “attack” is the sole reason for all the badness.
“The run game has to get better,’’ Nagy declared.
That’s like a smokestack complaining about air quality. Nagy has been the guy calling the plays most of the season, and he’s the reason the Bears are 31st in rushing attempts. A similar situation is playing out with rookie tight end Cole Kmet. I have no idea if he’s any good, but week after week, Nagy says the kid needs to get the ball more. Game after game, Kmet is nowhere in the stat sheet. He’s a parked car. Remind me — who has the keys to the offense?
But forget about that. It’s time to get excited about the possibility of a new guy at quarterback, even if he isn’t new at all. In a season that’s going downhill fast, it’s apparently all the viewing audience has in the way of offensive hope. Trubisky would give the Bears a threat as a runner, we’re told. We’ve been told that for four years, with little in the way of results. There’s no doubt he’s more mobile than the inert Foles. Would Nagy allow him to run against the Packers? It’s a mystery.
If we can’t have good or productive, we’ll take cryptic.
Still, it’s hard to shake the feeling that things wouldn’t change much with Trubisky at quarterback.
Same dunk tank, different victim. Again.