With the announcement that Mitchell Trubisky would be starting quarterback when the season begins next Sunday, Nick Foles made clear that he wants to help Trubisky succeed.
The Bears acquired Foles in late March, just as the country began shutting down due to COVID-19. The unusual circumstances of this summer may have put Foles at a disadvantage due to a truncated offseason and canceled preseason.
Still, Foles feels that he performed well in training camp. He didn't know what to expect when coach Matt Nagy called to inform him of his decision.
"I felt like it was pretty even throughout the whole thing," said Foles. "I felt like we gave each other a great battle, and it was a healthy environment. Going into the conversation, I honestly had no idea which direction it was going to go, and I think that just says a lot about how we went out there and executed what the coaches wanted us to execute."
Foles handled the disappointment with grace. The nine-year veteran referenced some of the peaks and valleys of his career. He has gone from Pro Bowler to backup to Super Bowl hero to beginning the season as the Bears' second-string quarterback.
"I've just learned to embrace it the best I can through the ups and downs," said Foles, "so whatever wisdom I can give [Trubisky] as it pertains to the emotions of the game, as it pertains to the plays going into the game, the philosophy, the philosophy, the thought process, how you do third downs, how I think during games. So whatever it is, I look forward to helping him in any way possible."
Nagy credited Trubisky's improvement for the decision, praising Foles' effort in the short timeframe allowed.
"I also want to give a lot of credit to Nick Foles for coming in here under strange circumstances," said Nagy. "He's had an interesting career in coming off of last year with an injury, he comes in with no offseason, you know on the field, and really a shortened training camp. So, these guys battled, and neither one of them complained. They just did what they were supposed to do."
Foles felt that his technique and skills held up, but his lack of familiarity with the system held him back. Foles played under Nagy in Philadelphia as a rookie and with Kansas City in 2016, but much has changed in three years.
"Was everything perfect? No," said Foles. "But I felt like there was a lot of solid play based on what the coaches were wanting from the offense at the time, and we are the only ones that know that. But at the same time, I respect coach Nagy's decision."
Nagy highlighted Foles' magnanimous reaction to the news.
"It's not easy when you're competitive, and one person has to get named the starter," said Nagy. "But Nick ended his conversation with me when I told him what we're gonna do with, 'Can I call Mitch and congratulate him?' And if that doesn't speak to who he is as a human being, I think there is some realness that you all need to understand what kind of guy he is."
Foles has been outspoken about keeping a positive attitude. He is determined to help the team, if not as a starter, then as a mentor.
"That's the thing I really enjoy about the game is helping other players out," said Foles, "and having those conversations and giving them the wisdom I have from playing, and then also learning, being open to learn and listen from different experiences. So that's really what we're focusing on right now."