The Bears were hoping there would be a definitive winner in their starting quarterback competition between Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles. But that hasn't been the case.
"It is not easy. It's not clear-cut," coach Matt Nagy said Wednesday. "The way that we look at it as a coaching staff is that sometimes people will say, 'Well, if you have two quarterbacks, that means you don't have any.' But we know what we have in these guys. We feel really good about both of them, and being as brutally honest as I could be, it's difficult."
The highly-publicized competition unofficially concluded Wednesday when the Bears held their final full-speed padded practice of training camp. The team will conduct a light non-contact workout Thursday before giving players Friday and Saturday off, with NFL teams required to reach the 53-man roster limit by 3 p.m. (CT) Saturday.
The respite from practice late this week will give Nagy and his assistants a chance to determine the winner of the quarterback competition—a decision that is expected to be announced next week, likely Monday or Wednesday.
"Now what we can do as an offensive coaching staff is we can pull back, we get through [Thursday] and we'll basically take every clip of every snap of both quarterbacks," Nagy said. "We are going to get in a room and we are going to sit down and we are going to watch all of these clips.
"And we're not just going to see, 'Was it complete or was it incomplete?' We're going to dig really hard into the 'why,' and then we're going to look at situational football. And then we're going to look at what's around him: 'Is it 1 v. 2, 2 v. 1?' And we're going to just shut the door, we're going to have our own opinions and then ultimately, in the end, we're going to make a decision."
With the preseason cancelled due to COVID-19, the Bears didn't have an opportunity to watch Trubisky and Foles perform in game action. But Nagy is confident that there's enough on tape from nearly three weeks of training camp practices to make an accurate assessment.
"We now have a library of film that we can evaluate and critique and judge and make decisions," Nagy said. "That's what we're going to do. And then we're going to make that decision, we're going to move forward. Someone's going to get the job and someone's not going to get the job, and they're both going to have to handle that the right way because it's a long season. And so, in the end, when we all understand that this whole entire organization feels good with both quarterbacks, that's a good problem to have. Now it's our job to make it work."
The good news is that Nagy felt both quarterbacks showed growth during training camp.
"With Mitch, the biggest thing that we probably felt as a staff is his ability here in training camp, there's not many plays where he's flushing out of the pocket when he's not forced to," Nagy said. "He's been staying in the pocket. I love that about him doing that because he's listening to what we're talking about with his middle-of-the-field throws, the vision downfield, being able to have that mentality of going downfield and then checking it down.
"And then with Nick … you can just see his communication skills in the huddle. You can see the way that he handles himself with the players on the sideline. And then also how he accepts learning. How we do things here offensively, not everything is exactly the same. So he's been receptive to that. He's had his own idea on things. And I think you can feel that growth of that balance of listening to what we have, us listening to what he has, and doing it our way."
The interactions between the two quarterbacks have been as positive and productive as Nagy anticipated.
"In the meeting rooms, off-the-field relationship-wise, they're making each other better, which is what was expected just because they're good people," Nagy said. "There's no malicious activity between them where it's just fake; there's none of that. On the field, they're both so laser-focused at trying to be the best quarterback that they can be, that whenever a play goes on, if one sees something, usually the other one is in the next play, so he can't tell that player in practice because one's in and the other's out. They have to talk on the sideline. So a lot of those discussions go on in the meeting room.
"I just think that what we thought as a coaching staff was going to happen in that quarterback room has happened, and now what they've done is they've put it in our hands to make a decision, and I'm just proud of both of them."