Chicago – One thing Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy is certain of is that a quarterback competition can't be staged until both players are on the practice field.
The competition between starter Mitchell Trubisky and offseason acquisition Nick Foles remains on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak, as football teams adjust to their new offseason normal.
"There's no competition going on right now over Zoom," Nagy said during a 30-minute video conference with reporters.
"There's no way to possibly say the competition has started right now. But when we do get onto the field — depending on when that is — that's where we are going to have to be really good as coaches in making sure that we provide the best way possible to make it as fair as possible — to where we can evaluate and they can go out and get the exact same reps in the exact same environment — so that we can hopefully make a decision off of that."
Trubisky, 25, finished last season with a tenuous hold on the starting gig and is entering his fourth season after being the No. 2 overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft. He has completed 63.4 percent of his passes for 8,554 yards, 48 touchdowns and 29 interceptions in 41 games (all starts).
Chicago recently declined his fifth-year option worth $24.84 million for 2021.
Foles was acquired from the Jacksonville Jaguars for a fourth-round pick and has previously worked in Nagy's system with the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs.
"We always talk about it's like riding a bike," Nagy said. "He's been through some different offenses, even from the last time we were together in Kansas City (in 2016). But what happens is once you present somebody like Nick the playbook and they start looking at it, all of a sudden it just clicks and you start remembering it, and you just start retraining your brain from what you knew in the past year or couple years."
The 31-year-old has completed 61.9 percent of his passes for 11,901 yards, 71 touchdowns and 35 interceptions in 58 games (48 starts) during eight NFL seasons with the Eagles (2012-14, 2017-18), the then-St. Louis Rams (2015), Chiefs and Jaguars.
Foles, of course, also owns a Super Bowl ring as he took over for injured Carson Wentz late in the 2017 season and guided the Eagles to the title.
At this point, there is no valid evaluation process. Trubisky, Foles and third-stringer Tyler Bray regularly are involved in virtual meetings with offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, pass-game coordinator Dave Ragone and quarterback coach John DeFilippo, but eventually discussing football will be replaced by playing the sport.
Not until there are 11-on-11 competitions in practice can the necessary answers be unearthed.
At that point is when the evaluation process can truly begin.
"In the end, what we want is for both those quarterbacks to be the best possible quarterbacks that they can be individually and then make it hard on us to make the decision on who the starter is, so that makes the Bears a better football team," Nagy said.
"When you have two good people like we do in Mitchell and Nick, it makes these types of decisions and conversations a lot easier to have because they're competitive as hell, they want the best for the Bears, and they're going to fight their tails off to do that — and I think that's the beauty of it."