In less than a month, the Bears will report to Halas Hall in Lake Forest to begin a season unlike any the NFL has ever seen in its long history. Lots of attention will be paid to social distancing, regular COVID-19 testing, and contingencies for if any team or staff members test positive - and rightly so. However, the team's gathering also includes plenty of on-field intrigue in the form of the long-awaited QB competition.
We've gotten several predictions so far, including Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who thinks Foles has the edge, and new Bears receiver Ted Ginn Jr. predicts it'll be Trubisky under center. Now, NBC Sports NFL analyst Chris Simms has weighed in, giving JJ Stankevitz his pick on the Under Center podcast.
"Ultimately, I think Nick Foles will be the starter Week 1, I do. I don't even think, if I'm the Bears, I want Mitchell Trubisky to start. You're just going to create a negative environment around your football team if you throw him in there. The first time he throws an incompletion, or a DB drops an interception, everyone's going to boo, ‘Get Nick Foles in there!' I would rather see it the other way around. Start Nick Foles; if it works out that's great and run with it, but if it falls off, then the fans have to be accepting of Trubisky. The guy did go 11-3 two years ago, and put his team in a very good position to win the playoff game."
Simms had a front-row seat to the game he references, the painful wild card loss to the Eagles in January of 2019. Cody Parkey's missed kick overshadowed Trubisky's 4th-quarter performance, where he threw for a go-ahead touchdown and later drove the team into position to potentially win the game in the final seconds. However, it's those glimpses Bears fans saw in that game and throughout the 2018 season that elevated expectations heading into 2019, and eventually led to so much disappointment when Trubisky's development took a step back last year. Simms doesn't deny Trubisky's shortcomings, but has a different view than some when it comes to criticizing the 4th-year QB.
"I don't necessarily like the criticism all the time of Mitchell Trubisky. I understand he's not perfect, but I do think he gets blamed for something that was a Ryan Pace mistake. The fact that he drafted Mitchell Trubisky over Watson and Mahomes, that's not Mitchell Trubisky's fault. Also, I don't think the Bears necessarily gave Mitchell Trubisky the greatest jump-off point his rookie year in the NFL either, with the talent they put around him and things like that, which also created kind of a negative narrative around him. He has the physical ability to be a starting quarterback; his arm is big-time, he's a very good runner - I hope he runs more this year - but you've seen it. It's inconsistent accuracy, inconsistent decision-making at times where you go, ‘Man, that should be a slam-dunk NFL completion and you missed it by 4 feet.' That can't happen, that has to start to limit itself."
Trubisky has to limit a lot of tendencies that were deficient last year to say the least, or else he'll be left holding a clipboard while the Bears hand the reins to the man who beat him in that infamous playoff loss nearly 18 months ago.
Why Chris Simms picks Nick Foles over Mitch Trubisky in Bears QB competition originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago