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The Chicago Bears made a big move to acquire quarterback Nick Foles this offseason. They note only traded away a fourth-round pick to get him but restructured his contract too. The general thinking was that he would be the starting quarterback in Week 1 but the latest odds from FanDuel Sportsbook seem to indicate otherwise. Trubisky is actually a -140 favorite while Foles is a +100 underdog. Is that right or are the odds backward?
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The Case For Trubisky
The fact Mitchell Trubisky can’t run away from is that even though the Bears sacrificed a lot of assets to get him, two other quarterbacks from his same draft class – Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans and especially Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs – have become far better professional quarterbacks. Watson has reached the divisional playoffs and has carried the Texans a long way despite having a bad offensive line and an injured J.J. Watt. Watson has done as well as he reasonably could have been expected to do, despite the limitations he has in Houston. Mahomes, meanwhile, has won a league MVP award and a Super Bowl championship in his very young career. Mahomes is poised to become the quarterback of the 2020s, the next huge superstar in the league while Tom Brady moves closer to retirement. This weighs on Trubisky, whether or not he might disclose it in public.
Quarterbacks in particular and high-profile athletes, in general, are very aware of how they stack up to their peers, and Trubisky knows he hasn’t made the cut. This realization exists in addition to the fact that he is fighting for his career, and more precisely, to the starting job in Chicago. Foles was brought in as the direct competition for him. Trubisky knows the Bears need him to be a lot better, and he knows the Bears are sending a message: prove yourself so that you can put an end to the uncertainty and take this franchise to a higher level. The challenge here is whether he’s good enough.
One thing that has to be realized is the Bears basically hid him in the offense last year and tried to avoid relying upon him. Teams figured that out quickly and when they stacked the box and forced Trubisky to beat them, he couldn’t do so consistently. He finished 28th in QBR and was 27th in touchdown passes. He’s mistake-prone, takes bad sacks, and lacks confidence. Maybe the acquisition of Foles lights a fire under him, though.
The Case For Foles
The tricky aspect of Foles’ situation is that last year in Jacksonville was a failure. Foles was injured, but when he did play, he wasn’t especially sharp. Was he a product of the good situation he had in Philadelphia, specifically his offensive coaches? Maybe Chicago head coach Matt Nagy, who was an assistant of Andy Reid with the Kansas City Chiefs, can give Foles a fresh start for his own career in the Windy City.
The key here is the Bears need to win games. That dreamy, wonderful 2018 season has long been forgotten due to botched drafts, a ridiculous kicking competition, and all sorts of other shaky decisions (signing Jimmy Graham?). It would look really bad on the Bears if they paid a fourth-rounder for Foles and paid him his gaudy salary to sit on the bench behind a player they had.
A lot of people seem to think that the Foles acquisition will bring the best out of Trubisky. Sorry, I’m not buying it. Trubisky was already benched for journeyman backup Chase Daniel; that didn’t help Trubisky improve.
The challenge here is Trubisky is mentally frail. The team knows they’re going nowhere with him and that means Foles has to get the first shot in Week 1. Going back to Trubisky before trying Foles will demoralize the team – a team that’s supposed to contend for a playoff spot in 2020.