IT LOOKS LIKE PICK-’EM GAME

There might not be much sep­a­ra­tion between Tru­bisky, Foles

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS - MARK POTASH mpotash@suntimes.com | @MarkPo­tash

Bears coach Matt Nagy chuck­led when asked if he was go­ing to flip a coin to pick a start­ing quar­ter­back if Mitch Tru­bisky vs. Nick Foles is a dead heat. But un­less one or the other makes a ter­rific surge this week, it might be that close.

“Well ... we’re def­i­nitely not gonna toss a coin,” Nagy said. “But we’ve had those dis­cus­sions be­fore this camp even started. We hit ev­ery sce­nario pos­si­ble. It’s a very valid ques­tion.”

The last time a coin flip af­fected the Bears’ quar­ter­back sit­u­a­tion, Ed McCaskey called heads to de­ter­mine the No. 1 over­all pick in the 1970 draft. It came up tails. The Steel­ers drafted Terry Brad­shaw; the Bears were stuck with Jack Con­can­non and Bobby Dou­glass — and the rest is his­tory. So maybe they’re due.

As it stands right now, a coin flip wouldn’t be the worst way to go. Maybe in­side their Halas Hall of­fices, Nagy, John De­Fil­ippo, Bill La­zor and Dave Ragone see the lit­tle things we don’t that in­di­cate one or the other would be the best quar­ter­back. But nei­ther quar­ter­back has a his­tory of be­ing bet­ter than the of­fense around him. Foles was great in an Ea­gles of­fense that de­vel­oped around Car­son Wentz, but he was just an­other guy with the Rams and Jaguars.

So Nagy also was asked af­ter practice Satur­day at Sol­dier Field if it matters. How crit­i­cal is this de­ci­sion for him? Is there a “right” guy and a “wrong” guy? Does he think he’ll go 12-4 with one and 8-8 (or worse) with the other?

“Well, it’s a big de­ci­sion,” Nagy said. “You want to do what’s best for the team — and we told y’all from the very be­gin­ning that there’s zero agenda in this. There are go­ing to be some very open and hon­est con­ver­sa­tions. We’ve had some of those.”

But Nagy in­di­cated he’s also pre­pared for the re­al­ity that there isn’t much dif­fer­ence. And that the loser might end up be­ing the win­ner. At this point, the odds seem poor that the win­ner will be play­ing the en­tire sea­son — as Kyle Or­ton vir­tu­ally did in 2008 (15 starts) af­ter beat­ing out Rex Gross­man in the Bears’ pre­vi­ous open com­pe­ti­tion for the start­ing quar­ter­back job.

“Who­ever you end up nam­ing the starter, you don’t know — for sev­eral rea­sons — how that’s go­ing to go,” Nagy said. “You want to name a starter and . . . just win, win, win. You don’t know if that’s go­ing to hap­pen — whether that’s [be­cause of] not play­ing well [or] in­jury. You have to be able to adapt to that.

“But at the same time, we re­al­ize this is a very im­por­tant de­ci­sion — not just for us but for them, too. And they know the de­ci­sion is in their hands. And then ul­ti­mately there’s go­ing to come a time where you have to [pick a win­ner]. The starter bet­ter be ready to go, and the backup bet­ter be ready, as well.”

Based on what we’ve seen so far, it would not be a sur­prise if Tru­bisky or Foles is un­der cen­ter against the Lions on Sept. 13. Nagy has jus­ti­fi­ca­tions for choos­ing one or the other:

Tru­bisky is the more nat­u­rally tal­ented quar­ter­back and still has the po­ten­tial to de­velop into an Alex Smith type of leader if not the No. 2 over­all pick in the draft. If the Bears don’t be­lieve that, then Tru­bisky never should have been in the run­ning for this job in the first place.

Even if he’s not in sync with the of­fense right now, Foles is the more sound, tech­ni­cally pro­fi­cient quar­ter­back — and, with his Su­per Bowl MVP cre­den­tials, has the cred­i­bil­ity to grow into the lead­er­ship role as he be­comes ac­cli­mated to Nagy’s of­fense and de­vel­ops chem­istry with his new team­mates.

Ei­ther way, Nagy doesn’t seem to have a dif­fi­cult choice. Right now, it ap­pears the of­fense will make the Bears quar­ter­back rather than the other way around. And one bit of ad­vice for Nagy: As McCaskey found out the hard way, tails never fails.

“WE RE­AL­IZE THIS IS A VERY IM­POR­TANT DE­CI­SION — NOT JUST FOR US BUT FOR THEM, TOO. AND THEY KNOW THE DE­CI­SION IS IN THEIR HANDS.” MATT NAGY, Bears coach, on the team’s quar­ter­back com­pe­ti­tion

DY­LAN BUELL/AP (FOLES), DY­LAN BUELL/GETTY IM­AGES (TRU­BISKY)

Mitch Tru­bisky (above) is more nat­u­rally tal­ented, but Nick Foles (right) is the more sound, tech­ni­cally pro­fi­cient quar­ter­back.

DY­LAN BUELL/GETTY IM­AGES

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