Nagy re­al­izes QB de­ci­sion must be ex­pe­dited

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS - JA­SON LIESER jlieser@sun­times.com | @Ja­sonLieser

Ev­ery­one is tired of wait­ing around for coach Matt Nagy to pick a quar­ter­back.

That in­cludes Nagy.

A few days af­ter float­ing the idea of keep­ing his de­ci­sion a se­cret as a form of “games­man­ship” against the Lions, he ad­mit­ted the longer this drags out be­tween Nick Foles and Mitch Tru­bisky, the more it works against the Bears.

“The longer that things string out, the harder it is for these quar­ter­backs, the harder it is for our team, and I think that has to carry some heavy weight, as well,” Nagy said Thurs­day.

‘‘It’s hurt­ing your­self if you do that, and you need to be able to make a de­ci­sion to help both of these quar­ter­backs. And not to men­tion help our staff, as well. So we are tak­ing all of that into con­sid­er­a­tion. We want to do it the right way.”

Ide­ally, the right way would’ve been for Foles or Tru­bisky to prove him­self de­ci­sively bet­ter in the first week or so of prac­tice so the Bears could move on, but that didn’t hap­pen. They mostly went back and forth, with Foles out­play­ing Tru­bisky shortly be­fore Nagy closed prac­tices to the me­dia.

So the Bears have been weigh­ing this de­ci­sion for more than five months since trad­ing a fourth-round pick for Foles with the be­lief that he’d be a clear up­grade over Tru­bisky, but Nagy still sounds torn.

“Both of these quar­ter­backs have done a good job at mak­ing it dif­fi­cult,” he said.

Hope­fully he’s not still say­ing that at the end of the sea­son.

For now, he and his staff — mainly of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Bill La­zor, quar­ter­backs coach John DeFilippo and pass-game co­or­di­na­tor Dave Ragone — will lock them­selves in­side Halas Hall and re­an­a­lyze ev­ery as­pect of the com­pe­ti­tion.

It’ll be more ad­vanced than scratch­ing out a pros-and-cons list on a le­gal pad. Nagy said his cri­te­ria cen­ter on de­ci­sion­mak­ing, throw­ing ac­cu­racy and “sit­u­a­tional foot­ball,” such as how they per­formed in third-down, red-zone and other sce­nar­ios in prac­tice. He also said re­cently he’ll con­sider each quar­ter­back’s play­ing his­tory, which is a mixed bag for both.

“Both of them, we thought, did well,” he said of the last three weeks of prac­tice. “I know it prob­a­bly is frus­trat­ing in hear­ing things sound some­what gray. I com­pletely un­der­stand that. But, for us, it’s not easy.”

Bears play­ers, who have art­fully dodged ques­tions about the quar­ter­back bat­tle, were dis­missed Thurs­day and are ex­pected back Sun­day morn­ing to be­gin pre­par­ing for the opener. Nagy in­di­cated he plans to choose his guy by then and in­form the team.

He’s not ex­pect­ing unan­i­mous agree­ment in the locker room and noted that “we all have our own opin­ions” and there’s no chance he’ll be able to “100% satisfy ev­ery­body.”

But he hopes the de­ci­sion will be well-re­ceived re­gard­less be­cause he be­lieves his play­ers trust him and have seen enough from both quar­ter­backs to sup­port ei­ther of them be­ing the starter.

“Who­ever it is, I’m not con­cerned at all about that from the team as­pect,” he said.

It helps that Foles and Tru­bisky are lik­able. For all his short­com­ings, Tru­bisky al­ways has been a worker and never a prob­lem­atic per­son­al­ity. Foles has a sim­i­lar rep­u­ta­tion, plus the ca­chet of win­ning Su­per Bowl MVP.

As far as choos­ing be­tween the two, though, Nagy might have to get used to that be­cause it’s pos­si­ble he’ll have to do it again — fre­quently, per­haps. He said the com­pe­ti­tion will con­tinue into the sea­son based on how the starter is do­ing and how the backup per­forms in prac­tice. It’ll be much dif­fer­ent than last sea­son, when he was adamantly against bench­ing Tru­bisky for Chase Daniel.

Ul­ti­mately, it won’t mat­ter how long Nagy wa­vers as long as he makes the cor­rect call, now and dur­ing the sea­son. It’s fine for him to take as much time as he needs — if he gets it right.


Coach Matt Nagy (top photo), who is still try­ing to de­cide be­tween Mitch Tru­bisky (10) and Nick Foles (hand­ing off), says the longer it takes to come up with a win­ner in the QB derby, the harder it is for the team as well as the quar­ter­backs.

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