The Sun-Times’ Mark Potash answers seven Bears questions as the team begins 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 quarterbacks. OTAs and mini-camps generally are rudimentary, boring, inconclusive and rife with false positives. Even if you can discern how Juan Castillo’s coaching style differs from Harry Hiestand’s or if Jaylon Johnson looks “NFL ready,” you won’t know until the bell rings. So the focus, as always, is the quarterbacks. Is Mitch Trubisky any more on point or accurate with Nick Foles next to him instead of Chase Daniel?
Which player is most hurt by the lack of on-field work this offseason?
Rookie tight end Cole Kmet. He’s expected to be a key contributor as a rookie, yet the tight end position in Nagy’s offense appears appears as nuanced as it is critical. While Kmet is not slow, he’s not exactly a burner — he’s going to have to learn all the tricks it takes to get open and be functional in this offense. Though his intellect is important, that’s still ultimately a reps thing.
What is Mitch Trubisky’s biggest challenge during virtual OTAs?
Patience. Trubisky needs to be on the field throwing passes to actual receivers and running actual plays in Nagy’s offense to use a key advantage over Nick Foles — familiarity and chemistry with most of the personnel in this offense. The only real challenge for Trubisky at this point is on the field.
How has Nick Foles impacted the Bears without playing a snap?
It’s overstating it to say the acquisition of Foles has made a difference before the Bears have even been on the field. It’s not like they signed Tom Brady, which would be invigorating on multiple levels. Foles gives the Bears two chances to find an NFL-quality quarterback where they previously had only one. It’s as simple as that.
I’m most interested to see what this new assistant can do for the Bears ...
Quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo. He’s done his best work in the NFL as a position coach. And if he can’t make things click for Trubisky, his familiarity with Foles figures to enhance Foles’ chances of regaining the magic he had in Doug Pederson’s offense.
Will Matt Nagy’s play calling change?
The first impression of Matt Nagy in two seasons as the Bears’ head coach is that he’s a momentum play-caller — outside-the-box inventive when things are going well (2018); and virtually hand-cuffed and discombobulated when things aren’t going well (2019). His play-calling doesn’t make a bad team good. It makes a good team better. So if the Bears block and run and throw and catch, Nagy’s play-calling will follow suit. It’s unlikely he has lost that touch.
After Allen Robinson, who will be the Bears’ top playmaker?
This could be a make-or-break year for Anthony Miller. The third-year wide receiver has shown glimpses of his potential as a playmaker, but has struggled with injuries and focus. If he can stay healthy, he’ll be a litmus test of the offense. If it’s good, Miller could have a break-out season.