How Mitchell Trubisky Reacted to QB Job Battle

Gene Chamberlain

On one hand Bears coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace called the quarterback position an open battle between Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles.

On the other hand, Pace declined to mention in his conference call late last week whether the team would pick up the fifth-year option on Trubisky's contract.

It almost sounds as if they've made up their minds already, but both Nagy and Pace insist this will be a fair battle and Trubisky will get a shot.

How Trubisky feels exactly about the battle isn't known but Bears brain trust thinks he's all in and, really, he doesn't have much choice in the matter. 

Still, Pace had said after the season Trubisky would be the starter and another quarterback would be brought in, but then they made the trade and backtracked to call it an open competition between Trubisky and Foles.

That's quite a change, but one Trubisky had to expect after last season.

"Mitch is a competitor," Nagy said. "I think when you're built that way, competition brings out the best in you. Matt and I had that discussion with him, and you could feel that in him right away—kind of that, 'OK, hey, let's go, what's best for the team and this is gonna bring out the best in all of us.’

"I think the key word is just that he embraced the competition. I think they're both looking forward to it."

Nagy called it natural for any NFL quarterback to compete for a starting spot.

"We're all competitors," Nagy said. "These guys haven't made it to this point without being competitive guys and they've been that way their whole life. I don't care who you are. If you're a competitor and you care, right away you’re going to be fired up and you’re gonna be ready to go and you’re gonna be ready to go."

Trubisky last had to compete for a job when he was at North Carolina. He lost the starting battle as a sophomore to Marquise Williams, who went on to set records for the Tar Heels mostly as a running quarterback. 

Williams was an XFL backup before coronavirus shut down the league.

With the Bears, Trubisky had the job handed to him after Mike Glennon failed to live up to the challenge. Then Chase Daniel was brought in more to back up Trubisky and help him learn the offense.

Now it's different.

"There's a couple ways to look at it," Nagy said. "You either do that or you shy away from it.

"The competitor that Mitch is, the way that he was with us, was really neat to see because he embraced it. It wasn't about excuses, it wasn't about anything other than, 'OK, I understand that, I'm gonna give you everything that I’ve got. We're gonna compete, and you're gonna get that best that I've got.' "

It can't be easy to judge a battle between quarterbacks of two distinct styles. It's almost like in college when Trubisky had to go against a quarterback who did everything with his feet. Except now Trubisky is the one who runs more than Foles.

"When we look at that as coaches, that's all we can ask for is trying to make sure that we do everything we can possibly do on our end to make this completely fair, let them go out and play football and be the best quarterback that they can possibly be," Nagy said. "If that's the case and that happens, we're gonna be in a good place."

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Gene Chamberlain

Gene Chamberlain