Nick Foles, Mitchell Trubisky to Have 'Open Competition' for Bears' Starting Job

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 3, 2020

Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky warms up before an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)
Andy Clayton-King/Associated Press

Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace announced Friday there will be an "open competition" between incumbent starter Mitchell Trubisky and trade acquisition Nick Foles for the team's starting quarterback job for the 2020 NFL season.

"Mitch is embracing [the competition]. He's has had an unbelievable personality throughout it. ... It's going to be a process," Bears head coach Matt Nagy told reporters.

Trubisky looked like a star on the rise in 2018. He completed 66.6 percent of his throws for 3,223 yards with 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 14 games. He added 421 rushing yards and three scores on the ground and ranked third in ESPN's Total QBR.

The 25-year-old UNC product failed to build on that success, though. His numbers dropped across the board in 2019, including just 17 touchdown passes in 15 starts, and he ranked 28th in Total QBR.

"Anytime you feel like you're not playing up to your potential, I think that drives you," Trubisky told reporters in December. "I've got a lot of just personal drive and fire within me that I know I haven't played to my potential yet. That's frustrating, but it's also something that motivates me a lot."

Trubisky will likely head into training camp with the inside track on the starting job since his long-term upside still exceeds that of Foles. As well, the longer the NFL's on-field hiatus lasts amid the coronavirus pandemic, which so far includes an indefinite delay on offseason team activities, the tougher it will be for Foles to get up to speed in time.

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The Super Bowl LII MVP spent last season with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he missed time with a broken left clavicle and struggled when healthy, leading the Jags to give Gardner Minshew II the starting spot.

Foles, 31, has enjoyed some remarkable highs during his NFL career. He tallied 27 touchdowns and just two interceptions across 13 games for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013 and recorded six TDs and one INT during the team's Super Bowl run in 2017.

He has otherwise been a lackluster quarterback, though. If you take out the remarkably efficient 2013 campaign, he has posted 44 touchdowns and 33 picks in 45 games across seven years.

The Bears are betting either Trubisky or Foles can produce a strong 2020 season, and the result of that bet will likely determine the team's playoff fate.