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Analyzing the Bears’ big issues with OTAs underway

Answering seven Bears questions as they begin organized team activities this week — albeit on Zoom and nowhere near the Halas Hall practice fields.

The Bears say there will be an “open competition’’ between newcomer Nick Foles (above) and Mitch Trubisky for their starting quarterback job.
The Bears say there will be an “open competition’’ between newcomer Nick Foles (above) and Mitch Trubisky for their starting quarterback job.
Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Answering seven Bears questions as they begin Organized Team Activities this week — albeit on Zoom and nowhere near the Halas Hall practice fields:

If the Bears had been able to hold OTAs, what’s one thing you’d be watching?

The quarterback — and the other quarterback. The Bears have until September, at the earliest, to determine whether Mitch Trubisky or Nick Foles will start. The production they get out of the position will, more than any other factor, determine their 2020 record and the direction of the franchise going forward. Their play this season will determine whether the Bears need front-office changes or if a team built to contend immediately actually gets that opportunity.

What, you thought I’d say placekicker?

Which player is most hurt by the lack of on-field work this offseason?

Foles. The Bears can tout his experience in similar offensive systems all they want, but there is no substitute for on-field experience with the Bears’ receivers, offensive line, assistant coaches and with Matt Nagy himself.

What is Mitch Trubisky’s biggest challenge during virtual OTAs?

To show his coaches he’s done his homework. At the NFL Scouting Combine, Nagy said he expected Trubisky to master the playbook during the offseason.

“He needs to know it better than me,” he said. “And that’s the goal. He’ll tell you that that wasn’t the case last year.”

How has Nick Foles impacted the Bears without playing a snap?

The Bears addressed their quarterback question by signing Foles — but have yet to prove that they solved it. Foles has started only 13 regular-season games the last four years.

I’m most interested to see what this new assistant can do for the Bears ...

Two-and-a-half years ago, John DeFilippo was such hot property that the Bears interviewed him for the head coaching job they gave to Nagy. Then he left the Eagles to be the offensive coordinator for the Vikings, who fired him midseason. He lasted one year with the Jaguars, too, before joining the Bears as the quarterbacks coach. Will he be the quarterback whisperer he was with Foles and Carson Wentz two years ago, or merely a coach on his fourth job in four years?

Will Matt Nagy’s play calling change?

We’ll see. Nagy is adaptable and has new voices as part of his offensive brain trust. Remember, though, that he struggled to run the ball consistently even during the magical 2018 season.

After Allen Robinson, who will be the Bears’ top playmaker?

Tarik Cohen — in a walk year — will bounce back and be the dynamic, sure-handed pass-catcher the Bears need to complement Robinson.