After the Chicago Bears lost the 100th season opener to their biggest rival, the Green Bay Packers, third-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky became a hot topic of conversation around the league – and not in a good way.
Trubisky finished the night 26-45 for 228 yards, no touchdowns, and a game-sealing interception to former teammate Adrian Amos. Trubisky wasn’t helped by head coach Matt Nagy’s head-scratching play calls or an offensive line that looked like they had just woken up, but he still bore the brunt of the criticism, regardless.
In response, many fans and sports media professionals took to social media and the airwaves to skewer the Bears quarterback, who has been inconsistent but promising so far in his young career. After just one game in the season, many Bears fans wanted Trubisky replaced by Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick to the Bears may sound outrageous at first, but could he actually be a good fit for this current Bears team? Let’s take a look…
Kaepernick is Familiar With This Type of Offense
One thing Kaepernick always did better than most quarterbacks in the league, even during his down seasons, was run the football. Kaepernick has 2,300 career rushing yards in six seasons.
He could be a natural fit in Nagy’s RPO mixed with West Coast-type offense scheme – that is basically what he ran in San Francisco. Kaepernick would have to learn the offense, sure, but his learning curve wouldn’t be as steep as it would be for others. And while he has been out of football for two years, he still has more to offer skills-wise compared to every backup in the NFL.
He has Beaten Green Bay Regularly – and Badly
In a game that mattered, Kaepernick went to a sub-zero Lambeau Field for Wild Card weekend in 2014 and shredded the Packers while eliminating them from the playoffs. In fact, Kaepernick has been a bit of a nightmare for the Cheeseheads over the years:
In his four career games against Green Bay, he is 3-1, and his numbers are scary: 73-125, 1,062 passing yards, 358 rushing yards, six passing touchdowns, and three rushing touchdowns. Again–that’s in just four regular and postseason games.
Kaepernick had an awful 2015, but 2016, in the 12 games he played, he threw for 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns, four interceptions, and had a 90.7 rating, so he did end on a good note. He played few teams as well as he played the Packers, however, which could intrigue some Bears fans.
95 % of Active NFL Players Think Kaep Should Be Playing
In January 2019, 85 active NFL players took an anonymous survey asking whether they thought Kaepernick should be playing in the league. 81 of the 85 (that’s 95 percent) said yes.
Fans have numerous opinions about whether Kaepernick deserves to play, but the people who know best about what is required to be an athlete in the NFL overwhelmingly say he absolutely has what it takes. And they think he deserves a spot on a roster somewhere.
Bears Overall Quarterback Situation is Not Ideal
Phil Simms went on his son Chris Simms’ show and discussed the variou backup quarterback situations in the league. He listed the Chicago Bears as one of the league’s teams that have the worst situations at backup quarterback.
Backup quarterbacks should ideally be able to get your team through a game or two, sure, but when considering nine backups have won the Super Bowl, shouldn’t the position be a bit more important than that? Many things have changed over time in football. One thing has not: backup quarterbacks have won the Super Bowl at least once a decade since the 1970s. And with Chase Daniel’s contract ending after this season, the Bears will be looking to change up the quarterback room.
Could Kaep be Tru’s Backup?
No one knows yet what Trubisky’s ceiling is, but it’s obvious Chase Daniel isn’t a top-notch backup (even if he gets paid like it). Daniel’s contract is up after this season, and it’s likely the Bears quarterback position will look much better next year.
Kaepernick, if he were brought in to back up Trubisky, would have Super Bowl experience (which no current backup has) and would likely be much cheaper than Daniel is–while being a much better athlete. Sure, he has “baggage,” but Kaep as a backup could work in Chicago–because the culture there is one of acceptance.
Kaep and Matt Nagy’s “Be You” Mantra
When Matt Nagy changed the culture of the Bears, he did it partly with a philosophy he instilled: he wants the players on his team to be their authentic selves–regardless of political affiliation, regardless of any differences. His players seem to enjoy this freedom.
When Allen Robinson showed up for training camp this offseason, he wore an Obama jersey. Robinson was also the team’s lone offensive bright spot week one, so clearly, his politics didn’t hinder his play at all.
When asked about why his “Be you” culture is so important (via 670 The Score), Nagy said:
“When you get into these roles and these specific positions on offense, defense, and special teams, there’s a bunch of different personalities. There are quiet guys and there are guys that are loud, and I just hate to pull back from any of that. I want guys to just be real, to just be themselves.”
Which is precisely what Kaepernick has been doing. He’s just not doing it in the NFL anymore, and whether that will change remains to be seen.