There are plenty of moving parts to every offense in the NFL. Each of these parts is responsible for adding a new dimension to it. So it would be foolish to blame just the quarterback position for the anguish Bears fans had to suffer through in nearly all 16 games last season.
But quarterback is the most important part of an offense, so it makes sense for it to be targeted. You can’t drive a car without the engine.
The Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace traded a fourth round pick for Nick Foles back in March. A byproduct of this trade was Pace implicitly admitting his decision to choose Mitchell Trubisky second overall in the 2017 NFL draft was a mistake. It’s likely now in Foles’ hands to fix the teams offensive woes and get the car running again. Let’s put Foles under a microscope to see exactly what he can do that Trubisky can’t.
Overall, Nick Foles has pretty good accuracy. He’s not Drew Brees, but he’s certainly not Nathan Peterman either. His deep balls are pretty consistent, and probably one of the better aspects to his game.
Foles makes practically all expected throws, which is something Trubisky couldn’t do. It wasn’t a rarity to see him miss his receiver on a route as short at five yards. A simple metric comparison between Foles and Trubisky such as “bad pass %” (18.1% Foles, 23.4% Trubisky as per rotowire.com) shows the distinct difference.
The Bears now have a quarterback they can at least trust to throw an accurate pass on third-and-medium situations.
A lot of good decision making comes with time and experience. Nick Foles being a veteran player already puts him a step ahead of Trubisky here. Making poor decisions often leads to turnovers. The fact that Foles had a season where he only threw two interceptions proves he can make the right judgements.
Bears fans know all too well that this isn’t Mitchell’s strong suit. There’s always multiple plays every game where Trubisky makes a boneheaded throw into double coverage, or throws to a covered receiver when there is a wide open target down field.
Processing the field
Being able to quickly recognize defensive packages and formations is one of the most important traits a quarterback can have. Not to say that this is something Foles does flawlessly, but certainly better than Mitch. Trubisky is notoriously unable to read a defense in real time.
It’s also commonplace that he won’t make it past his first read. You can tell that Foles knows exactly where everyone on the field should be and how to progress through his reads. This allows for anticipation throws, where receivers can catch the ball on the run to pick up extra yardage. Lacking this element to his game could also be part of the reason we see Trubisky overthrow or throw the ball behind his receivers.
For the most part, Foles is has patience and good pocket awareness. He gives enough time for the play to develop before getting rid of the ball. Additionally, he has a pretty good grasp on the pocket around him and usually will get the ball out before it collapses.
There are times where Foles can be a little too patient though. In 2019, he broke his collarbone on a play where he took a little too long to make a pass attempt, and got hit as he was throwing the ball. On the contrary, Trubisky can get antsy in the pocket pretty fast. He prematurely scrambles if he feels like the pocket will collapse soon.
The biggest knock on Nick Foles is his consistency. It’s not game to game, or play to play like Trubisky, but Foles gets very streaky over large sections of a season. He’ll have a 27 TD, 2 INT season and then be found fighting to keep his starting job the next year.
It has been a very up and down career for Foles. After winning Super Bowl MVP, he lost his next job as a starter to a sixth round rookie (injury gave Minshew the job, but Foles’ play let him keep it). If the situation is right, he will thrive. If it’s not, he’ll be benched.
It seems like big moments can make Mitchell Trubisky look like a deer in headlights. We’ve seen him flop in big games and big moments. In the first game of the 2018 season, the Bears had a big lead on the Packers. When Aaron Rodgers began to lead a comeback, Trubisky became ineffective.
It seems like the only time he can handle big moments is at the end of a game where he’s forced to make quick decisions and not overthink. On the other hand, we’ve seen Foles unbothered when everything is on the line. He had an amazing playoff run in 2017, where he eventually out-dueled Tom Brady in the Super Bowl.
Mobility is undoubtedly the best aspect of Trubisky’s game, which isn’t exactly a good thing for quarterbacks. While he’s able to make and extend plays with his feet, but lacks the pocket skills to make this an effective tool in his arsenal. The current MVP Lamar Jackson proved that you can succeed with speed and quick feet, but showed the ability to stand and deliver when necessary.
By comparison, Foles isn’t anywhere near as mobile as Mitch, but he’s not a statue in the pocket.
For all of the most important elements a quarterback can have, Foles takes the cake over Trubisky. Whether or not Trubisky can turn it around at this point is unknown, but the team isn’t banking on him doing so anymore.
Ryan Pace brought in Nick Foles because he knows that Foles is a better quarterback than Mitchell Trubisky, everything considered. And for this team to be a contender, the Bears just need decent QB play.
This is the best situation Foles could be in, as the bar set by Mitch is so low that he will unquestionably surpass it.