Matt Nagy: Time Crunch Is Big Enemy for Nick Foles
The Chicago Bears quarterback battle might be wide open but in one way coach Matt Nagy acknowledges much depends on whether Nick Foles has enough time to make an impact with no preseason games, only the last few weeks in pads and no offseason work.
It's definite not new for Foles to be facing a disadvantage in terms of lack of practice reps. After all, he won a Super Bowl that way.
In his first teleconference since players started reporting for COVID-19 testing, Bears coach Matt Nagy on Wednesday admitted to the advantage Mitchell Trubisky owns in the starting quarterback battle due to the pandemic's effect on the offseason as well as training camp.
"I think for sure it's more of a disadvantage not having what he could have had just building the relationship and probably more specifically is the timing with the wide receivers that you get in the OTAs where you can run route after route after route," Nagy said. "You get to see and feel how guys time up their motions. So for sure that will be a disadvantage. It's something that he could have had that he doesn;t have. But those guys know that. He understands that."
The relationships include the knowledge of how receivers run their patterns and where they're at their best with routes and going for the football.
"Because that time got crunched ... Nick knows that," Nagy said. "He's a smart guy. But at the same time I think he'll be hungry to get back out there and just prove it on the field and try to build those relationships up that he lost."
Trubisky has essentially two years of a head start in this offense with his key receivers, although both rookie Darnell Mooney and veteran Ted Ginn Jr. are additions this year as are all three top tight ends.
Nagy sees both Foles and Trubisky as understanding of his plan for picking a quarterback and comfortable with how open he plans to be about how the process is going for both.
"So both those guys are wired the right way and when you're open with them and you explain that stuff and you don't hide anything, you just tell them how it is, it's pretty simple," Nagy said. "Now it's just a matter of having a feel and knowing and we'll have a nice little plan of how we'll want to evaluate here in training camp and then also how do we evaluate fairly during the season in the game?"
"As we're going through this thing, if one of the quarterbacks is stinking it up and he's playing like crap we're going to tell you you're playing like crap."
Nagy said the evaluation process begins as soon as the competition on the field starts.
"When we get a chance to go out there, we're evaluating those quarterbacks with every single play," Nagy said. "Not just throw, but every single check that they make at the line of scrimmage, every bit of leadership that they show in and out of the huddle, we're there watching how they react to a specific play in practice.
"That got squeezed down a little bit. But with that said, our coordinators are doing a heck of a job right now as we sit here of figuring out ways to maximize those competitive plays and periods. And we feel confident that we believe it'll all play itself out. It'll be completely open and we're just going to take it day by day. And we're excited to see that happen."
GM Ryan Pace expressed confidence in the process outlined for him for the battle, and described how he will be involved.
"It's understanding there are going to be ebbs and flows of the evaluation and it's going to be an evaluation of the entire process, not just each practice," Pace said. "And I think it's letting it play our naturally, letting it come to us. And the good thing with Matt is it's constant dialogue, constant communication, constant collaboration between him and I and his coaching staff and the personnel staff.
"So like everything we do, it'll be a collaborative decision. And I think what makes it easy is just the constant communication that Matt and I Have."
Nagy pointed out the process will be even-handed even if the time allotment for passing to receivers hasn't been due to COVID-19. And the openness might lead to brutal honesty at times.
"As we're going through this thing, if one of the quarterbacks is stinking it up and he's playing like crap we're going to tell you you're playing like crap," Nagy said. 'And we're going to tell you that in front of the other one.
"They're both going to know when someone's playing good or someone's playing bad. They're going to know that. So when the time comes when we inevitably need to make a decision, trust me it's not going to be a surprise to them. That's where I think open communication helps."