If a Quarterback Competition Happens in the Forest…

| August 10th, 2020

The quotes came from new Bears quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo.

“At the end of the day, which guy’s raising the other ten guys’ level.”

“At the end of the day, it’s who moves our football team and converts on third down.”

Question. One word. When?

When is this raising of the other ten guys’ level happening?

When is the football team being moved?

When are these third downs being converted?

I might be having an Allen Iverson moment but…practice? We talking about…practice?

Quarterbacks are always the story in the NFL and a quarterback competition over the summer is the juiciest story there is for hungry football writers. But there are three things fans must consider before investing too much into this battle.

(1) Without preseason games, there won’t be anything resembling an obvious winner. Preseason games would have allowed the whole of the football world to evaluate the play of these two men and accurately assess which gave the Bears the best chance to win. Preseason games would have made fans active participants in the competition, enabling them to generate their own thoughts and opinions based on the palpable data of performance.

(2) The media will have their say on the competition but most of the important moments in camp practices, the parts where the actual game plan is installed and executed, happen after the media is sent away. You’ll learn far more from Adam Jahns’ insider reporting on Nagy’s thoughts than Brad Biggs’ impressions from a few passing drills.

(3) If the team is basing this competition on practice, the football ain’t getting moved that far and third downs ain’t getting converted too often. The Bears have one of the league’s elite defenses. Just because Foles and Trubisky and the offensive line struggle against Mack and the boys doesn’t mean they’ll struggled in the opener against a lackluster Lions unit.

So who will win the competition? My guess is the winner will be whomever the Bears hierarchy wants it to be. If the Bears want Mitch Trubisky to be the starting quarterback against Detroit as Nick Foles warms up in the bullpen, they’ll manufacture a competition that achieves that result. If they want to move on from Trubisky and start the Foles era, they’ll reach that end as well. Without outside observers weighing in, without media eyes on the important plays and fan eyes on preseason action, the Bears can claim whatever winner they wish. Who is going to argue with them? How do you solve and equation when you’re not shown the numbers?

This is a quarterback competition happening in darkness, in the shadows. This is the football equivalent of choosing a new pope. Nobody gets to see the debate inside the Vatican. The faithful stand outside and wait for the answer. And now we, the Chicago Bears faithful, will metaphorically congregate outside Halas Hall, waiting for the plume of smoke.

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