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Bears Bulletin

Nagy names Trubisky winner of QB competition


Mitchell Trubisky has retained the Bears' starting quarterback position, winning an open competition with veteran Nick Foles for the job.

The news, first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter Friday night, was confirmed by Bears coach Matt Nagy Sunday during a video call with the media.

"In the end, Mitch won the job," Nagy said. "And I think that's very important for him, for us, for everybody to understand that he worked really hard to get to this point. We know that we all, in a lot of different areas, struggled in 2019. And so what I think was most impressive, from the end of the season until this past weekend, was to be able to see some of the growth in practice and off the field that Mitch had."

The competition remained close throughout camp, but Trubisky ultimately won the battle by showing improvement in key areas of his game and closing with a flourish.

"I thought he really finished strong, which was good, to finish strong with some really accurate throws in the red zone," Nagy said. "He did some things. I told you all along his footwork has been much better in the pocket, in regards to staying up in that pocket and hitching up there.

"Decision-making has been improved. We're always working to try to get that better, and he knows that. You could feel the command. And I think the difference in the command that I felt, and that our coaches felt, was it's one where it's very natural. It wasn't made up. It wasn't being told from somebody how to act. It was just very organic. And you can tell that with guys, when they are natural with that, and I thought he improved there.

"For him, when he gets this opportunity like he has right now, you could just feel it, that he's ready to get out there and just really play hard for his teammates."

Trubisky, the second overall pick in the 2017 draft out of North Carolina, has held the starting job since the fifth game of his rookie season. He has compiled a 23-18 record in 41 starts, completing 63.4 percent of his passes for 8,554 yards with 48 touchdowns, 29 interceptions and an 85.8 passer rating.

Trubisky was named to the Pro Bowl in 2018 after helping the Bears win the NFC North with a 12-4 record. In his first season as a full-time starter, he connected on 66.6 percent of his passes for 3,223 yards with 24 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a 95.4 passer rating. He also rushed for 421 yards and three TDs on 68 carries.

Trubisky became the first Bears quarterback to post a passer rating of at least 120.0 in four games in a season and tied the franchise record with four 300-yard performances. He also set a Bears postseason record with 303 yards in a wild-card loss to the Eagles.

But Trubisky and the rest of the offense failed to perform up to expectations in 2019. The Bears ranked 29th in both scoring and total yards, finishing in third place in their division with an 8-8 record.

In March, the Bears acquired Foles in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars in exchange for a compensatory fourth-round draft pick. On April 3, Nagy announced that Trubisky and Foles would engage in an open competition for the starting job. As part of that duel, the Bears coach also revealed that he intended to play both quarterbacks in preseason games—along with other starters—a departure from Nagy's first two seasons as coach when he kept most key players on the sideline.

Unfortunately, all offseason workouts and the entire preseason slate were cancelled due to COVID-19. As a result, the quarterback competition was conducted exclusively during three weeks of training camp practices at Halas Hall in mid-to-late August.

While the battle was held on a level playing field, with the two quarterbacks alternating reps with the No. 1 offense on a daily basis, Foles entered the competition at a disadvantage, given that he hadn't even met most of his new teammates in-person until training camp.

The Bears had hoped there would be a definitive winner in the competition, but it remained close throughout, with Nagy saying last Wednesday following the team's final padded practice: "It is not easy. It's not clear-cut. We feel really good about both of them, and being as brutally honest as I could be, it's difficult."

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