Bears name QB Mitch Trubisky the starter — but for how long?
Matt Nagy spilled the worst-kept secret in the Chicago area Friday when he named Mitch Trubisky the Bears’ starting quarterback. But he wouldn’t answer the more compelling follow-up.
Coach Matt Nagy spilled the worst-kept secret in the Chicago area Friday when he named Mitch Trubisky the Bears’ starting quarterback. But he wouldn’t answer the more compelling follow-up: Does the change last beyond the Packers game Sunday?
Nick Foles, who didn’t practice all week because of the right hip injury he suffered against the Vikings, will travel with the team to Lambeau Field but is doubtful to play. Tyler Bray would serve as the second-stringer.
There’s no questioning the opportunity the game presents for Trubisky and Nagy, who was hired to mentor the 2017 No. 2 overall pick. Beating Aaron Rodgers and the rival Packers would be the most unlikely accomplishment of their tenure — at the perfect time.
“Now that he has an opportunity here, I think this kid is just excited to get back out there,” Nagy said. “And I don’t want to make any predictions, but I like the way that he’s practiced all week.”
The decision to start Trubisky isn’t as intriguing as whether he’ll keep the job for the rest of the season.
Almost four weeks after hurting his throwing shoulder, Trubisky is healthy — he didn’t appear on the injury report after returning to practice Monday. The Bears did an awkward dance all week, giving Trubisky every starting snap because of Foles’ injury and never addressing whether the Super Bowl LII MVP would have been benched on merit otherwise. The Bears’ bye week was spent looking at “our offense and then what we were doing with Nick,” Nagy said. But the injury meant he never had to present his verdict.
By postponing the decision until Friday, Nagy was able to use the injury report for his rationale. It gives Nagy cover no matter the outcome Sunday: If Trubisky plays well, he stays. If he doesn’t, Nagy simply restores a healthy Foles back to the starting spot.
“[Trubisky] has worked hard this time that he’s been the backup to be prepared for if and when this time does come — whether it’s through performance or whether it’s through availability or injury with Nick,” Nagy said. “And so as far as next week or following weeks, it’s hard for me to predict that right now just because I think the fairest thing for both guys is to just worry and focus for Green Bay. And I mean that.
“It’s easy to try to figure out, ‘OK, is this for the rest of the year or not?’ But we really have to focus on Mitch as the starter for Green Bay. And then who knows, health-wise, where Nick’s at and then where Mitch is at. We’ll play that course and play that decision next week when we get into that.”
Trubisky said it didn’t bother him that Nagy didn’t publicly name him the starter until Friday.
“I don’t care; I don’t pay attention to the public,” he said.
He was asked whether he noticed the same fans who wanted him benched earlier this season now, seemingly overwhelmingly, were hoping he’d replace Foles. If there’s irony there — or if Trubisky has an iota of “I told you so” in him — he wouldn’t say.
“I really focus on trying not to pay attention to it,” Trubisky said. “I’ve been here for four years. I’m still trying to figure it out.
“But I’ve got nothing but love in my heart for fans of the city of Chicago. I think if on offense, defense, special teams, if we can match the fans’ passion for this team . . . I think that’s how you go out there and play with a lot of will and passion and put a good product on the field that you’re proud of. Because that’s what we want. We want the fans to be proud.
“That’s all I’m trying to do, play football this weekend with great opportunities.”