Bernstein: Bears' QB Activity Says More Than Words

In assessing Mitchell Trubisky, the Bears are seeing what we're all seeing.

Dan Bernstein
March 16, 2020 - 4:26 pm
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(670 The Score) It's always good advice when NFL general managers talk at and around the scouting combine to assume their words are for some kind of show. Executives are jawboning the market, either trying to prop up asset values or keep options open in the messages they send to prospective acquisitions.

So it was for the Bears' Ryan Pace, clearly, after his strangely positive assessment of Mitchell Trubisky has given way to an immediate pursuit of a veteran quarterback as NFL free agency opened with the legal tampering period Monday.

"I think he's accurate," Pace said of Trubisky in February when asked to list the assets on the quarterback for whom he traded up to draft No. 2 overall in 2017. "He's athletic. He can process. His work ethic. How he is as a teammate."

Two of the three specific assessments were lampooned roundly as soon as they came out of Pace's mouth, because Trubisky's passing has been objectively inaccurate and his ability to see what's happening in front of him was criticized specifically by his own head coach. It was a strange performance by Pace that included a half-hearted endorsement of Trubisky as starter for 2020, though he had the loophole of the fact that Trubisky at the time was the only one at his position on the roster.

It's now clear that's about to change.

In a frenzy of action and information from both national and local reporters Monday, the Bears were initially said to be in talks with Teddy Bridgewater about a deal to make him the starter and were then linked to trade talks with both the Bengals for Andy Dalton and the Jaguars for Nick Foles. Somebody is coming, it appears, just as common sense has been dictating all along.

The new guy could be anywhere on the expected continuum that defines a QB1A, and unless it's Bridgewater with a promise of the top job, we're in for a real test for coach Matt Nagy with the oversight and judgment of a competition.

The truth is these competitions are rarely fair contests, with results easily spun in either direction for either player. It's complicated further by the new collective bargaining agreement including one fewer exhibition game in which to conduct it if the coaches even wanted to. If and whenever NFL training camps open, the better bet is that it's a decision based more on what goes on when nobody else is watching in Lake Forest.

A call will have to be made on Trubisky's fifth-year option by May 4, well ahead of any meaningful activity even without all the unavoidable coronavirus delays. A reasonable person would look at how busy Pace was chasing down another veteran arm Monday and draw an easy conclusion. Not to mention the possibility that a draftee could soon be in the positional room as well.

Pace is trying to fix this on the fly to give Nagy and a strong defense the chance to salvage what was setting up as a period of sustained contention, only to be undone by an inability to score enough points with Trubisky at the trigger.  

They're seeing what we're seeing, no matter what they've been saying.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in midday. You can follow him on Twitter @Dan_Bernstein.