Following Saturday's 27-20 preseason win over the Chiefs, Bears coach Matt Nagy explained why he decided not to play most of his team's starters, including quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
The bottom line is that Nagy felt it was the best thing for the Bears. The coach noted that due to participating in the Hall of Fame Game, the team has held the most practices of any NFL team and felt as though the starters got their necessary reps during the week of practice.
"For us as coaches going into this week, we just felt like, and I felt in particular, that this is a position right here where let's talk about this and let's think here, if we have a great week of practice, and it's fast, and it's fluid, and there's no mistakes, you know, then let's think strongly here about sitting some of the guys for this game," Nagy said. "I want our guys to be ready to go, 100 percent health-wise for that week one Packers game, and that's as simple as it gets."
The coach also emphasized that Trubisky has looked good in practices, and he didn't feel as though he needed the extra reps in the game.
"For somebody telling me that 25 to 30 reps is going to go ahead and make (Trubisky) a better player Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, it's not going to happen," Nagy said. "This offense does take time. It doesn't mean that for him he can't be successful."
While the starters rested, Bears second- and third-string players had the chance to play against the Chiefs starters — an invaluable opportunity Nagy noted.
"When you're in a preseason game, who are the twos playing against?" Nagy said. "The twos and threes are playing against the twos and threes. When you have a guy go down in the season and the two or three comes in, who do they play against? The ones. So that was great today for those guys to go out there and play.
Many of the team's second-string players supported the decision and noted it gave them another opportunity to showcase their abilities.
"When you hear that the starters, or the majority of them, are not playing, just go out there and take it as a great opportunity and do your job," receiver Kevin White said.
Bears third-string running back Benny Cunningham echoed those sentiments.
"They give us a crazy amount of reps," Cunningham said. "It gives us a chance to see everything. I feel like we all go with coach's decision and I think it's the right decision."
Ultimately, Nagy said that the decision came down to prioritizing the team's interests.
"I need to do what's best for our team and where we're at," Nagy said. "I understand that sometimes that can affect fans, but trust me, the thing I'm trying to do is do the best thing for our fans, and that's have our guys ready to go in Week 1."
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