Why Bears Should Keep Starting QB Secret All Week
Modern day reporting and NFL communications have made it virtually impossible for a team to keep a secret.
The Bears have a golden opportunity to defy this standard and should milk it for all it's worth in order to maintain an edge over an opponent they rarely can beat even when they have about any edge possible.
The identity of the starting Bears quarterback for this week's game in Green Bay isn't yet known and if coach Matt Nagy wants to maintain some sort of an edge, psychological or otherwise, he'll keep this under wraps until just before the game.
The Bear have a practice scheduled for Monday and Nagy is tentatively slated to speak via Zoom to media, along with "a player."
Will that player be the starting quarterback? It's what everyone assumes. If they just made it someone else, and then didn't announce who the starting quarterback would be, then the Packers would have some other things to consider during the week of preparation.
Green Bay would need to be ready to face two different types of quarterbacks.
The cynic, of course, would point out the two types of quarterbacks are one who loses from inside the pocket and one who can get outside the pocket and loses.
Mitchell Trubisky can present the mobility factor if his right shoulder is healthy enough to allow for a start. While the Packers know Trubisky well and own a 4-1 record in games against him, Nick Foles is largely an unknown quantity to the Packers. They have faced him only twice in his career and not at all in Chicago.
So why not keep the Packers and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine guessing?
If Mitchell Trubisky starts, he might play more snaps under center and it could make for a more effective Bears running game. The passing game could more readily include movement by the passer, movement of the pocket and runs off the movement.
Then again, with Fole starting they might have better ability to use his experience to dissect the defense from within the shotgun.
It's two different approaches and whether one can be more effective or not, Pettine would have to prepare his defense for two different eventualities, which diminishes the amount of time they can have to prepare either way.
Former Bears coach Lovie Smith used to like this approach, and it's one the media doesn't like since it keeps everything unresolved.
In today's NFL, the relationship between agents and players and agents and media often results in an inability to keep any secrets. Word gets out.
If the Bears wanted to go this way, they tell everyone it's under a gag order and no one is to talk to agents or the media about it, players or coaches.
They don't talk to family members or friends about it.
Now, during normal NFL seasons a secret of this type might become apparent anyway.
For instance, at Halas Hall practices are closed normally except during the first 10 minutes or so , and all that occurs then for media to see are some individual drills. The team doesn't line up in a formation with the first team. So you can't see who is playing with the first team and are forced to rely only on the injury report or what the coach is willing to reveal.
Because of COVID-19, there are even fewer reporters than normal able to see those 10 minutes of meaningless drills and then they're all dispatched from the premises.
The Bears should easily be able to keep this a secret. About the only way it could leak out is if someone riding the commuter train running along their back practice field saw them out the train window practicing.
This is easily remedied by moving the practice to one of the fields next to Halas Hall.
The Bears have won only two of the last 13 games against the Packers, three of the last 19, four of their last 23. They've taken what once was a huge edge in the series to now being down four games overall to the Packers.
Yet, in that span they've been able to put up decent records against the Minnesota Vikings and control the Detroit Lions well.
They need every edge possible against the Packers and if Nagy know what's good for him he'll keep this a hushed-up secret until 90 minutes before game time.