LAKE FOREST – For those who thought the competition was a forgone conclusion, Matt Nagy had a strong rebuttal.
Since the Bears traded for Nick Foles back in March, the Bears’ head coach said that he along with Mitchell Trubisky would be given equal amount of chances to win the job for the 2020 season.
In the end, Nagy picked the incumbent, doing so officially on Sunday after word of the decision leaked out on social media early Friday evening. While many assumed Trubisky would be the first to get the chance to lead the team on the field due to his ties to this current regime of the franchise, Nagy was pleased with the fairness of the competition.
“As we said this whole time, this was going to be a fair battle for both of these guys,” said Nagy. “We’re gonna roll the ball out and let them play. Just like we’ve said the rest of camp, both these guys were really battling their tail off every single day, and that’s not easy.”
Nor was the decision for Nagy to make between Foles and Trubisky, but in the end, he decided to pick the latter. Even after an inconsistent 2019, the head coach wasn’t as eager to try something different after he saw improvements to the fourth-year signal caller’s game since the end of July.
Nagy specifically saw growth from Trubisky in technical work on the field and leadership to give him the ball for the Bears’ September 13th opener against the Lions in Detroit.
“I thought he really finished strong, which was good,” said Nagy. “To finished strong with some really accurate throws in the red zone. I’ve told you all along his footwork has been better in the pocket in regards to staying up in that pocket and hitching up there. Decision-making has been improved. So we’re always working to try to get that better, and he knows that.
“You could feel the command, and I think the difference in the command that I felt and that our coaches felt was; it’s one where it’s very natural. It wasn’t made up. It wasn’t being told from somebody how to act. It was just very organic and you could tell that with guys when they are natural with that, and I thought he improved there.”
This official announcement by the Bears come a year and a day removed from the start of Trubisky’s struggles and the task of eventually competing for his job. An inconsistent performance in the opener against the Packers on September 5, 2019 set the tone for a rough year for the quarterback who lost his strong footing on the position over 16 games.
Trubisky’s fifth-year contract option wasn’t picked up after the Bears acquired Foles, putting his career with the franchise in major jeopardy. Now with his job back, for the time being at least, Trubisky doesn’t reflect on the last 12 months with overwhelming negativity.
“I believe everything happens for a reason, one way or the other, so them not picking up my option and bringing in competition, I truly believe is was just a part of my journey and something that I had to deal with in order to get better,” said Trubisky. “The way you deal with things is going to determine how it builds you up and only makes you better in the long run.
“I just accepted it as a challenge and it really pushed me everyday mentally to just want to get better.”
That was good enough for Trubisky to get his old job back as many seemed to expect. But after a very interesting few weeks, Nagy would disagree that it was that easy.