It seems very few people outside of Chicago believe in either Mitch Trubisky or Nick Foles. The Athletic gathered 50 NFL coaches and evaluators for its annual ranking of the league’s starting quarterbacks, with each signal caller getting hyper-analyzed by some of the NFL’s best minds, and the results for both Bears’ quarterbacks were … ominous at best.
The coaches and evaluating parties put each quarterback into the tier they deemed appropriate, essentially ranking them from best to worst on a scale of 1-5, with the best in the business falling in the top tier. Not surprisingly, Patrick Mahomes was in tier 1, and was ranked No. 1 overall. To add a little more salt to the open wound that is the quarterback position for the Bears, Deshaun Watson also landed in the top tier, and was ranked as the fifth overall quarterback in the league by those surveyed.
Here’s what some of the league’s coaches and talent evaluators had to say about both Trubisky and Foles:
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On Foles: ‘You Can Win With Him, But Everything Has to Be Right’
Foles found himself ranked slightly higher than Trubisky, joining the ranks of tier three quarterbacks. Kyler Murray and Kirk Cousins are among the top of tier three, and Foles was at the bottom, ranked 26th, behind the likes of Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield. Foles’ history as a Super Bowl winner gave him the edge over Trubisky in the minds of many coaches voting, but several still think Foles needs a great deal of help to succeed in the league.
“You can win with him, but everything has to be right and you have to play his type of offense,” one personnel director said about Foles. “You saw what they did with him when they won the Super Bowl with the Eagles. They went back to Chip Kelly’s offense a little bit, a lot of read-option, play-action off the read option and threw it when they had to throw it. If he has to throw it every down, you are going to lose games.”
Foles wasn’t the preferred quarterback of everyone surveyed, however. “As bad as Trubisky is, I know Foles is even worse, just watching him in Jacksonville last year,” one defensive coordinator said. But as suspect as league experts think Foles is, they’re even more skeptical of Trubisky.
On Trubisky: ‘I Don’t See Any Elite Trait’
Trubisky was voted into tier four, ranked 32nd among NFL quarterbacks, behind Marcus Mariota, Tyrod Taylor and Drew Lock. Only Dwayne Haskins, Jarrett Stidham and Kyle Allen were rated lower. One NFL coach surveyed compared Trubisky to Mark Sanchez, who managed to make the playoffs behind a stingy defense “only to regress under intense scrutiny in a major media market, until he was finally cast aside.” Oof.
It seems as though many around the league also view Trubisky’s game as rather pedestrian.
“I don’t see any elite trait,” a defensive coach said. “Trubisky doesn’t have a great arm. Josh Allen has a freak-show arm. Trubisky is an OK athlete, but he is not this super-dynamic athlete. Usually, the guys like that who make it are mentally ahead of everyone else, but I didn’t get that from him, either. I did not see him diagnosing, getting the ball out in 1.5 seconds, knowing where to go with it. We caught him on a couple disguises. I’m like, what does this guy do? What is his X-Man ability?”
Hearing defensive coaches around the league say they can spot when he’s trying to disguise certain plays doesn’t bode well for the former second-overall pick moving forward. Still, it wasn’t all bad for Trubisky.
“I think he can function,” one GM said. “Is he great? No. But is he as bad as the media portrays him? No.”
If he wants to beat Foles and lead the Bears to a division title and another playoff run, Trubisky will have to do more than just function. And if he can’t, he’ll very likely be suiting up for another team in 2021 — but not as a starter.