ANY LIT­TLE THING COULD BE EV­I­DENCE

Padded prac­tices will tell Bears a lot, but Tru­bisky vs. Foles is also about small stuff

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS - PA­TRICK FIN­LEY pfin­ley@sun­times.com | @patrick­fin­ley

“IN THAT COM­PET­I­TIVE EN­VI­RON­MENT, YOU WANT TO SEE WHICH GUY MOVES THIS OF­FENSE BET­TER, AND I THINK IT JUST REALLY COMES DOWN TO SOME­THING AS SIM­PLE AS THAT.” JOHN DEFILIPPO, Bears quar­ter­backs coach, on the com­pe­ti­tion be­tween Mitch Tru­bisky and Nick Foles for the start­ing QB job

Bears quar­ter­back coach John DeFilippo has the grad­ing sys­tem drawn up. When he watches practice film, he’ll judge his passers on whether they threw a com­ple­tion — but also on just how ac­cu­rate they were. He’ll con­sider not only whether a scram­ble re­sulted in a first down, but whether it was the right de­ci­sion in the mo­ment.

“We’re go­ing to take it to the next level a lit­tle bit in terms of ac­cu­racy, in terms of tim­ing, de­ci­sion-mak­ing,” DeFilippo said Thurs­day.

With no pre­sea­son games to judge Mitch Tru­bisky and Nick Foles on, that’s all the Bears can do.

“Try­ing to keep per­spec­tive,” of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Bill La­zor said. “The part that’s clos­est to real foot­ball is the part that should be the most im­por­tant.”

That part is still 10 days away. The Bears can’t hold a padded practice un­til Aug. 17.

Un­til then, Bears coaches will be forced to judge the pre­lim­i­nary round of their quar­ter­back derby on more sub­tle de­tails.

First im­pres­sions mat­ter. Un­til this week, DeFilippo had never seen Tru­bisky throw live — or even met third-stringer Tyler Bray in per­son.

Still, there’s only so much DeFilippo and his fel­low coaches can learn from how a QB han­dles a walk-through at Halas Hall.

And that’s where the dan­ger lies — and not just be­cause Tru­bisky has been no­to­ri­ous in his ca­reer for play­ing well in practice but not on Sun­days. This early in the NFL’s most bizarre pre­sea­son ever, a strong class­room per­for­mance can eas­ily pro­duce a false pos­i­tive. If a coach catches Tru­bisky or Foles lead­ing in a quiet mo­ment, it could por­tend great things — or noth­ing at all.

“It’s a very unique sit­u­a­tion,” DeFilippo said. “We’ve just got to get to know each other as well as we can and as quick as we can.” And pick a starter as fast as they can, too. “In that com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment, you want to see which guy moves this of­fense bet­ter, and I think it just really comes down to some­thing as sim­ple as that,” DeFilippo said. “Ob­vi­ously, when you’re in the hud­dle, [you’re look­ing for] who’s func­tion­ing bet­ter. But at the end of the day, which guy is rais­ing the other 10 guys’ level of play?

“Hope­fully one of those guys steps up in that role sooner rather than later. That would be great for our foot­ball team. But ob­vi­ously, we’ll take it out as long as we need to, to make the best choice for our foot­ball team.”

DeFilippo be­came a first-time fa­ther on

July 31. He can’t imag­ine, if he were to have an­other child, try­ing to pick a fa­vorite. He has used that anal­ogy with his friends lately when they’ve qui­etly asked him which quar­ter­back he prefers.

DeFilippo ad­mit­ted what head coach Matt Nagy did last week: that Foles be­ing out of state for the en­tire off­sea­son was a dis­ad­van­tage for him — but not nec­es­sar­ily an edge for Tru­bisky. DeFilippo said he’s watch­ing how Foles and Tru­bisky in­ter­act with each other dur­ing team meet­ings and walk­throughs, and so far, it’s com­fort­able. That, he said, is a good sign of char­ac­ter.

“There’s gonna be great com­pe­ti­tion,” he said. “But it’s not gonna be com­bat­ive.” The practice film won’t lie.

“We get a grade, ev­ery week, for 16 reg­u­lar-sea­son games, and you pass or you fail,” he said. “There’s no in-be­tween. There’s no get­ting a C. It’s ei­ther an F or an A.

“So we would be do­ing a dis­ser­vice to our fans, our or­ga­ni­za­tion, our own­er­ship, if we put any bias into this at all. And so I think that, when you put it that way, it al­lows your mind to work in an un­bi­ased way.”

JAMES GIL­BERT/GETTY IMAGES

Nick Foles has a his­tory with John DeFilippo (left), who was his of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor with the Jaguars last sea­son.

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