On a Sunday in Atlanta, Trubisky and Foles Define Who They Are as Football Players

| September 28th, 2020

(Jose M. Osorio/ Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool)

The Bomb Finally Went Off.

As the first quarter came to a close, the Bears took possession, trailing 6-3.

On first down, Mitch Trubisky threw a bomb down the right sideline to a single-covered Ted Ginn.

The throw went out of bounds.

On third down, Trubisky threw a bomb down the left sideline to a single-covered Tarik Cohen.

The throw went way out of bounds.

Later, at the end of the second quarter, he threw a deep ball to Darnell Mooney. You can guess where it went. Moments later he finally landed one in bounds, airmailing a wide open Anthony Miller.

Briefly stated, Mitch Trubisky was in Atlanta who we thought he was. But Matt Nagy didn’t let him off the hook.

Trubisky’s tenure as the quarterback of the Chicago Bears has not definitively come to an end. He’s the backup now for a 3-0 football team and in this league, he should know he’s one blindside sack from being back on the field. And it is a fitting role for #10 because his playing ability suggests the backup role is where he belongs.

Backups can hit the easy, open, short and intermediate stuff. Backups can find fluky runs of form. Backups tend to make their biggest plays when the play has already broken down.

But backups are not expected to complete bombs down the field in rhythm. They’re not expected to produce touchdowns consistently in the red zone. They’re expected to make a few plays weekly that leave fans saying, “Yep, that’s why he isn’t a starter.”

This is the lonely, roadside motel room in which Trubisky now resides.

Peaceful Transition of Power.

There was a moment in Sunday’s game where Nick Foles did a very Nick Foles thing.

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Today Begins What Will Be a Wild, Unpredictable 2020 Campaign

| August 17th, 2020

I was texting recently with a popular Bears beat writer recently. I won’t mention his name but it rhymes with the name of my favorite burlesque dancer, Madame Bombs. (The lyricist in me must stress that “Adam Jahns” does not technically rhyme with “Madame Bombs” but once I found that joke I was running with it.) This beat writer and I were both sharing a similar experience. Interest in the Chicago Bears, as we made our way through the early days of August, was almost non-existent. The sites aren’t getting the clicks. The tweets are getting the traction. The podcasts – and his is the best in the business – aren’t getting the ears.

Was it the absence of preseason football? Perhaps. For as silly as those games are, they serve as a sort of lighthouse for a desperate fan base out to sea. We’re not on land yet but we know land approaches. Was it the lack of a fan-attended training camp? Perhaps. Normally, by now, we’ve seen a hundred fan videos of players in shorts and I’d have received a dozen emails with subject lines like “Watch out for Ryan Nall”. In the absence of the season’s build-up, we’re left with two of the world’s great bores: mindless social media debate and baseball.

Today could change that, as the beat writer pointed out to me. Today is the first day the media will attend Chicago Bears practice, the first time Madame Bombs and his cohorts will get to weigh-in on the quarterback “competition”. Today they might be able to tell us if Jaylon Johnson is running with the ones, or who has the leg up at right guard. Today and tomorrow there will be a flurry of Bears coverage with actual observations, information and insight, as opposed to blind predictions, what ifs and rankings of inactive game day quarterbacks from across the league. (As entertaining as that piece was from Fishbain, it left me with a “why did I just read that” feeling afterwards.)

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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.

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