Madelyn Burke: The Chicago Bears quarterback room has taken on a new look in 2020 with the addition of Nick Foles, several new coaches, as well as some high stakes. Now, amidst the team's virtual offseason, the position group recently got a visit from a former quarterback with a background in the offense going back a couple decades. Joining me now is MMQB senior writer Albert Breer. And Albert, you recently wrote about this quarterback room. But first of all, I want to ask, are there too many cooks in this kitchen?
Albert Breer: Well, it's interesting, Madelyn, because a couple of primary people are still there. Matt Nagy is still the play-caller. Mitch Trubisky is going to still take the first snap of training camp. Outside of that, pretty much everything else has changed. Dave Ragone the quarterbacks coach last year has been promoted to pass game coordinator. They fired Mark Helfrich, his offensive coordinator, brought in Bill Lazor, and John DiFilipo has replaced Ragone as the quarterbacks coach. So you basically have your former Division 1 quarterbacks that all have their hands in that room. You've got Nick Foles now competing with Trubisky to be the starter. And so one of the things that Matt Nagy said to me, it was really important about the way that they set this up. Everything had to be clear. Everything had to be organized. They've tried to communicate to those quarterbacks loud and clear. And because they're on the Zoom meetings, it's actually a little easier to do that because you have to be so organized to make it work. And then on the coaching side, it's been important for them to define roles. And now you really use the 2017 Eagles that won the championship. As an example, one of the guys from that coaching staff, DiFilipo, is on the Bears coaching staff now. And really the way that coaching staff was set up that year with Doug Pederson, with Mike Rowe, with Frank Reich and with John DiFilipo. They split up different phases of the offense situationally. So one guy's responsible for third down and other guys responsible for the red zone. Another guy may be responsible for first and second down. They had different roles for each of the guys that were very well-defined. And now Nagy has done that with his guys there being so many of them in that quarterback room.
Madelyn Burke: And one of those guys in that quarterback room, Mitch Trubisky. He's been there for a minute. Matt Nagy recently compared him to Alex Smith. Did you see that comparison?
Albert Breer: Yeah. Well, you know, we we actually talked about that a little bit and I thought it was a really interesting one. Both of those guys drafted, you know, at the very top. Alex Smith, the first overall pick in 2005, Mitch Trubisky, the second overall pick in 2017. Both those guys struggled off-the-bat in their careers. Both those guys went through coaching changes earlier in their careers. And then the other thing that sort of exacerbated the issue for both: part of the problem for Alex Smith is he got into year four, year five, year six. He was being compared to the other guy in his class, and that was Aaron Rodgers. And that was always sort of the bar that he had to clear. A tough one to clear, of course. And Mitch Trubisky is now dealing with the same thing as he's struggled to start his career. Who is he being compared to? He's going to be compared to the other two guys who were drafted in the first round of 2017. That's the Deshaun Watson. That's Patrick Mahomes. So the bar is pretty high for him as well. And so I think if you are a betting man right now, you would bet that Nick Foles would be the week one starter. But Nagy was very much explaining the situation that that Trubisky has faced over the first three years of his career and saying that he's still very early in his development and that because of the other guys who were part of the draft equation in his draft year, he's sort of been held to a standard that's a lot higher than others.