Chicago Bears: Week 16 takeaways, tidbits, and more

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SEATTLE, WA.,–After winning in week 16, the Chicago Bears have now moved to 5-10 on the year and while a playoff spot is out of reach, let’s recap the Bears 25-24 win over the Seattle Seahawks.

1) Nick Foles final stat line may not be the flashiest but on a snowy day, he did average 7.1 yards per pass attempt. Foles’ confidence was apparent while slinging the rock all afternoon. Two throws sum up this confidence: The 15-yard touchdown to Jimmy Graham and the two-point conversion to Damiere Byrd. In both instances, Foles gave his playmakers a chance.

2) Despite having what seemed to be a solid day, running back David Montgomery averaged just 2.1 yards per carry. Seattle keyed in on Montgomery, hoping to stop him early and often. It is worth noting the Bears abandoned the running game early, which also contributed to Montgomery’s final stat line.

3) Speaking of running backs, Sunday was an ideal time to use rookie Khalil Herbert, who had a 20-yard rushing touchdown. The Bears have to start thinking about the future at some point and what Herbert brings to the table as a player who can spark an offense. Whenever Herbert has been given the rock this season, the Bears have moved the ball effectively, including big chunk plays.

4) Let’s stick with the young guys for just a second here. Rookie WR Dazz Newsome had just one reception for 10 yards on the afternoon. But why does Newsome’s lone reception stick out? It was in a third-and-long situation, helping Chicago move the football and keep the drive going. The Bears have to look into getting Newsome involved more over the final two weeks to gain just enough of an idea of what he can do for the team going forward.

5) The foregone conclusion seems to be that head coach Matt Nagy is getting fired at the end of the season. And for the Bears, there is no turning back. But players are still fighting and playing hard for Nagy. When the Bears do eventually relieve Nagy of his job duties, it will be a tough pill to swallow around Halas Hall in what is a results-based business.

“Coach Nagy, he’s an amazing coach, an even better person,” said Montgomery following the game. “I feel like everybody kind of got weird, this bad depiction of who he is but he’s also, he’s actually a great guy and a great coach. Ever since I’ve been on the Bears, day in and day out, he’s always emptied his cup.”

6) Pass rusher Robert Quinn needs just one more sack to set the Bears single-season sack record, surpassing Richard Dent, who currently holds the record with 17.0 sacks. Every time Quinn was asked about the record in his postgame press conference, he simply decided to knock on wood and maintained the stance that while his individual year is something noteworthy, it doesn’t mean much considering the way the Bears season has gone.

“Well my individual year don’t seem as great because we aren’t winning,” said Quinn. “Haven’t had the success over the year as a team so it’s kind of, for a split second, I could be proud of myself but then the next second, I’m kind of quite highly upset because we lost.”

7) Veteran CB Artie Burns started the game for the Bears before Chicago decided to slowly insert rookie Thomas Graham Jr. into the game. Burns hasn’t blown anyone away but has still showcased enough potential to warrant being on the roster in 2022 and competing for a spot. Despite being beat by Seahawks WR D.K. Metcalf for a 41-yard touchdown, Graham Jr. had a solid showing as a player who is looking to put strong performances together to kickstart his career as a starter in 2022.

8) Cole Kmet and Darnell Mooney once again had strong showings as the Bears 2020 draft class showed up once again. Mooney had a 30-yard reception on the Bears’ final touchdown drive while Kmet had two receptions for 30 yards to set up a field goal for the Bears. Chicago needs to be pleased with the progress both players are making this season, especially as the Bears continue to look ahead to 2022.

9) Speaking of Mooney, he had five receptions on Sunday afternoon, now giving him 62 receptions on the season. Mooney has already surpassed his reception total from 2020, which was 61. With two games left, Mooney has a chance to get to 70 receptions as he continues to ascend into the face of the WR position for the Bears.

10) The Bears defense put together another strong showing on Sunday afternoon and while there were times where it appeared as if Seahawks QB Russell Wilson was going to take over the game, Chicago held Wilson in check. Wilson was just 16-for-27 with 181 passing yards and a QBR of 30.8. The Bears’ entire gameplan was predicated on stopping Wilson, knowing he covers up for a lot of holes on the Seattle offense.

Chicago Bears: A confident Nick Foles leads the Bears to victory

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SEATTLE, WA.,— When the Chicago Bears announced just 48 hours prior to kickoff on Sunday that veteran quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles would be starting in week 16, head coach Matt Nagy’s announcement was met with criticism in a lost season. Foles, who started for the first in nearly 400 calendar days led the Bears to a 25-24 victory in thrilling fashion, connecting with tight end Jimmy Graham for a 15-yard score with just under two minutes remaining. Just one play later, Foles would connect with wide receiver Damiere Byrd for a two-point conversion, giving the Bears the lead.

Despite not having seen any serious game time action in the regular season since week 10 in 2020, Foles came out and played as if he was the Bears starter all season long. Throughout the afternoon, he was quick, efficient, and willing to take whatever the defense gave him, despite the elements calling for the Bears game plan to be run first.

“We won the day and it was exciting to celebrate it with them and been able to be with them for two years and just developed those relationships and being able to throw a touchdown to my locker mate Jimmy Graham who’s right next to me and we’ve through a lot in Chicago and I thought that was really special,” said Foles via the Bears official YouTube channel.

Foles finished the day 24-for-35 with 250 passing yards, one touchdown, and zero interceptions, averaging 7.1 yards per pass. Despite posting a QBR of 44.6, Foles did just enough to get the job done for the Bears, who failed to get any sort of rhythm going in the running game.

“It’s been really unique in Chicago this year,” Foles said. “There’s no vindication, it’s just, I did my job. I go out there and I play, I lean on my teammates.”

In what could be his only start in 2021, the Bears have to be encouraged with how Foles’ play on Sunday could set up both parties nicely going into 2022. While both parties may part ways during the offseason, the Bears could also use Foles as a trade candidate in a year where acquiring extra draft capital will be necessary as the Bears build towards a future with Justin Fields.

 

Chicago Bears win ugly on snowy day in Seattle

SEATTLE, WA.,—On a snowy day in Seattle, the Chicago Bears managed to come away with a victory after scoring 11 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. As veteran quarterback, Nick Foles made his first start in nearly 400 calendar days, the Bears offense was putrid to begin the game before Foles completed passes of 30, 10, and 14 yards on a six-play, 80-yard drive that took just under two minutes before Foles connected with tight end Jimmy Graham for a 15-yard touchdown pass. Foles would follow up his only touchdown pass of the game by connecting with wide receiver Damiere Byrd on a two-point conversion to give the Bears the lead.

Rookie running back Khalil Herbert also helped the Bears in the second half, adding on a 20-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter to cut Seattle’s lead to just 10 points. From there, the Bears’ defense would allow Seattle to see the endzone just once more before Seahawks kicker Jason Myers missed a field goal, giving the Bears some much-needed momentum.

Chicago’s defense got involved as well, with pass rusher Robert Quinn sacking QB Russell Wilson just once, inching closer to breaking Richard Dent’s single-season sack record. Rookie cornerback Thomas Grham Jr. had another good showing with three tackles and one pass breakup, despite allowing Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf to score a 41-yard passing touchdown.

As has been a common theme for the Bears over the last few weeks, Chicago had the ball for just over 38 minutes, 26 first downs, and zero turnovers. Matt Nagy has shown time and time again that the Bears are able to sustain long drives, however, the Bears were just 2-for-4 in the redzone, with a key turnover on downs early in the first quarter that ended a 15-play, 71-yard drive that took 8:27 off the clock.

As the Bears get ready to return home for a matchup against the New York Giants in what could be the final game of the Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace era, expect the Bears to get healthier with just two games remaining in 2021.

Chicago Bears: Shipping Nick Foles out won’t be easy

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On Monday, a report from Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer suggested that the Chicago Bears would entertain offers for veteran quarterback Nick Foles. The former Super Bowl MVP has become an afterthought in the Windy City this offseason when the Bears traded up nine spots in the 2021 NFL Draft to select former Ohio State standout Justin Fields while also signing veteran Andy Dalton this offseason.

Trading Foles isn’t as simple as it seems. The phones may be ringing at Halas Hall and while general manager Ryan Pace may answer, the only voice that seems to truly matter is Foles, who wants a say in where he lands if traded. Breer’s report also states that the Foles will dictate where he lands.

One team that’s been mentioned, the Indianapolis Colts, who was Foles offensive coordinator with the Philadephia Eagles in 2017, consequently the year Foles was named Super Bowl MVP.

“Frank Reich is one of my favorite, if not my favorite, coaches of all time,” Foles said during training camp. “He understands me as a player. He understands me as a person. But you know, I haven’t had any talks with them. I’m a Chicago Bear right now. But he knows me, he understands.”

Foles strong endorsement of Reich makes the Colts an intriguing trade candidate. Dictating where the veteran lands is all about ensuring Foles lands in a situation that will set him up to succeed while giving him a chance to start and win consistently. Looking around the NFL, there aren’t many team’s who could be labeled as intriguing fits for Foles, especially with most teams having their week 1 starter in place.

Discussions to move Foles will need to happen quickly with the regular season approaching. One factor that continues to dictate Foles talks include his cap hit, which is slated to be $6.6M for the upcoming season, including $5M in guaranteed money for 2022, according to Over The Cap. Foles did admit that discussions to move him took place throughout the offseason but talks never got serious enough to strike a deal, which will likely require the Bears to rework Foles contract and eat up a part of his contract.

Did Nick Foles take a jab at the Chicago Bears coaching staff?

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The Chicago Bears enter 2021 with newfound hope at the quarterback position after signing veteran Andy Dalton drafting rookie Justin Fields. Despite an overhaul of the quarterback room, the only veteran left from 2020 at the position is third-string quarterback Nick Foles, who started seven games in 2020.

Let’s flashback to last offseason: When the Bears acquired Foles, Chicago’s thought process was simple: Create competition at the quarterback position. Foles’ familiarity with the coaching staff, including head coach Matt Nagy, quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, along with his knowledge of the offense was a reason many believed Foles would succeed in Chicago.

On Monday, Foles spoke to the media for the first time since the conclusion of the 2020 season. With Foles name popping up in trade rumors, he was asked about his thoughts regarding the 2020 season and why the Bears stumbled throughout his time as starting quarterback.

“There’s a lot of reasons that I can’t talk about to be honest with you,” Foles said via the Bears official Twitter account. “In the right situation, with the right people, that understand me as a player, I know what I can do because it’s been done.”

The first red flag in the entire press conference was when Foles essentially said that he wasn’t going to be talking about what went wrong. Foles answer clearly will draw mixed reactions, especially since he didn’t directly mention Nagy or the offensive staff, who some blame for the Bears failures last season.

“When you have a great coaching staff, it’s something special,” Foles said. “A big reason we were great in Philly is we had a great coaching staff. We did really well, they put us in positions to succeed. And it showed. I think everyone can say it showed.”

With rumors swirling regarding Foles future with the Bears, the Indianapolis Colts have been mentioned as a possible trade destination. Under current Colts head coach Frank Reich, Foles led the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl victory in 2017, reviving the Eagles season at a time when everything seemed lost.

“Listen, Frank Reich is one of my favorite, if not my favorite coaches of all-time,” Foles said. “He understands me as a player, he understands me as a person. I haven’t had any talks with him. I’m a Chicago Bear right now.”

Foles referencing his success with Reich and the Eagles should speak volumes as to what seemingly happened with the Bears last season and why everything went wrong. After praising Reich, it’s clear that Foles views the Colts coaching staff as a better fit compared to what the Bears have to offer going into 2021. Foles press conference also implied that the veteran quarterback has moved on from 2020 and is ready to start fresh in 2021, perhaps elsewhere.

New York Jets: Trade for Nick Foles “seems unlikely” (Report)

It’s becoming more likely that the New York Jets will go into camp with James Morgan and Mike White backing up Zach Wilson.

According to a report from Brian Costello of the New York Post, those expecting Super Bowl hero Nick Foles to don a new shade of green shouldn’t get their hopes up.

In addressing the New York Jets’ backup quarterback situation, Costello reports that the team has “had discussions” with the Chicago Bears about adding Foles as the understudy and mentor to incoming franchise man Zach Wilson. However, he acknowledges that such a deal “seems unlikely”.

Foles, who guided the Philadelphia Eagles to a championship in 2018, is projected to be Chicago’s third-string option behind first-round pick Justin Fields and incoming veteran Andy Dalton. With Wilson set to take over, he seems like a perfect candidate to not only serve as a mentor to the rookie but step up in case of an emergency. The 32-year-old Foles posted an 80.8 passer rating in nine games (seven starts) in place of Mitchell Trubisky last season.

However, Costello says that Foles’ salary is the biggest roadblock in the path to getting him in a green helmet. Foles came over from the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2020 and restructured his contract to be a three-year deal worth $24 million ($17 million guaranteed). Chicago would be out $14 million in dead money if they were to release Foles, rendering a trade the only likely departure from the Windy City.

It appears more likely that the Jets will go into the season with either James Morgan or Mike White as their backup quarterback. Like Wilson, neither has thrown a pass in a regular season NFL game. Morgan was chosen in the fourth round during the 2020 draft and did not dress in no games last season. White is a 2018 fifth-round pick from Dallas who has been on and off the Jets’ practice squad over the last two seasons.

Head coach Robert Saleh admitted that the team had discussions with former San Francisco backup Nick Mullens (who eventually signed with Philadephia), but he was interested in seeing what Morgan and White had to offer.

“It doesn’t mean that just because (a newcomer is) a veteran it’ll help the (rookie) quarterback,” Saleh said in June, per notes from the Jets. “There’s a match that has to happen, there’s a scheme familiarity that has to happen. If you just bring in a veteran that doesn’t know anything about your scheme, he’s learning just like the rookie is.”

“I think Zach, and that entire quarterback room, is already ahead of the curve on, with how they handle their bodies and study. I don’t know if there’s much value aside from being comfortable that if something hits the fan, that you have a veteran who’s played football. It’s more of a comforting feeling, rather than trying to work your ass off to develop the quarterbacks that are already in the building.”

The Jets are slated to begin training camp activities on Tuesday.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Chicago Bears: Biggest questions at the QB position

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The Chicago Bears will start training camp at Halas Hall in just over two weeks, with significant turnover at the quarterback position. The Bears moved on from Mitchell Trubisky this offseason, replacing the former second overall pick with veteran Andy Dalton and rookie Justin Fields. Set to return is also veteran Nick Foles, who started seven games for the Bears in 2020, winning just two games.

As Chicago continues to get ready for the 2021 season, what are three questions at the quarterback position? Let’s find out.

1) How long will Dalton hold off Fields?

The million-dollar question that has every Bears fan buzzing: When will Fields start? Bears head coach Matt Nagy has consistently said this offseason that a plan exists to develop Fields. Part of that plan is hoping Dalton plays well enough to hold off Fields, giving the Bears a stable bridge quarterback.

Chicago has a brutal schedule in 2021 but expect Fields to play at some point. Those in favor of starting the rookie quarterback hope that Fields is starting in Chicago’s week four contest at home against the Detroit Lions. Others prefer to let Fields sit the entire year, similar to how Patrick Mahomes sat behind Alex Smith for 15 games in Kansas City during the 2017 season.

Dalton will need to start off fast week one against the Los Angeles Rams and begin to stack consecutive wins against teams like the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, and Las Vegas Raiders to remain starter. That means winning at least four of Chicago’s first five games to have a chance at starting between weeks six and nine.

2) Will the Bill Lazor offense have an impact on Fields’ development?

When the Bears handed playcalling duties to Bill Lazor late in 2020, immediate life was sparked in Chicago’s offense. Heading into 2021, we know that Nagy will call plays but we don’t know what scheme the Bears will run. Should Chicago decide to run the play-action offense it ran with Lazor calling plays, the Bears will significantly slow down the game for Fields, allowing the 11th overall pick to play faster.

Fields has shown he’s a dual-threat quarterback who can hit any throw on the field or hurt a defense with his mobility. Expect the Bears offense to develop a pass-first identity with Fields first read being a deep throw down the field. A play-action offense would open more opportunities for Fields in the middle of the defense, creating additional opportunities for Chicago’s wide receivers.

3) Is Nick Foles more valuable than we all think?

It is a fair question to ask, especially since Foles won just two games in seven starts last season but has been labeled as an incredibly smart player who knows Chicago’s coaching staff and offense. Foles won’t receive any meaningful playing time in 2021 but he can serve as a mentor for Fields to speed up the 11th overall picks development.

Foles’ magical Super Bowl run should also serve as a reminder that any NFL quarterback can get hot at any time, especially in big moments. Fields has had his fair share of big moments at Ohio State but Foles’ presence will instill confidence in a young quarterback who’s willing to do anything needed to succeed, especially since Foles will serve as a sounding board in 2021.

Chicago Bears admitted their mistakes this offseason

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At the start of the 2021 NFL offseason, uncertainty was one phrase used to describe the Chicago Bears franchise. The Bears had an aging defense, no long-term solution at quarterback, and soured relations with wide receiver Allen Robinson, one of the franchise’s best players. Fast forward to May, the defense may still be getting older, but the Chicago at least has a long-term solution at quarterback in Justin Fields.

When looking at the Bears offseason, Chicago admitted its mistakes this offseason, especially head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace. By letting former second overall pick Mitchell Trubisky hit free agency, Pace admitted that the former North Carolina quarterback was a miss. Compared to last offseason, this is a big step forward for Pace as an evaluator because the seventh-year GM is finally learning to cut losses and move on instead of forcing and hoping everything works out.

Then there’s Nagy, who many labeled an offensive guru four years ago. That title hasn’t exactly lived up to the hype. Nagy didn’t only flop with Trubisky, he was a reason that the franchise traded for Nick Foles last offseason, guaranteeing Foles $21M in the process while giving up a fourth-round pick.

The Bears’ experiment with Foles didn’t exactly work out either. In seven starts, Foles would win just two games, throw 10 touchdowns, and toss eight interceptions. Foles stat line wouldn’t be bad for just Foles, it’d be bad for every starting quarterback over a seven-game stretch.

Chicago further admitted that trading for Foles was a mistake when the Bears signed Andy Dalton to a one-year, $10M deal in free agency. Dalton may not move the needle significantly for the Bears, but he is the winningest NFL-ready quarterback on the Bears roster.

The winds of change swept through Chicago this offseason. For a franchise that has traditionally been known to make multiple mistakes and move on from players too late, the Bears admitted their mistakes this offseason, resetting the timeline for the franchise to be competitive once again.

New York Giants: Nick Foles Quickly Exits The Open Market

It wasn’t that long ago that it was fresh news that the Philadelphia Eagles were planning to not franchise tag Nick Foles, and to let the quarterback become a free agent on the open market. There was some speculation that Foles could be a good option for the New York Giants, who are looking for a quarterback to eventually take over for Eli Manning and to offer some competition this season at the position, but it now looks like that won’t be a viable outcome.

That’s because Foles has already found another team, and it happens to be one of the other quarterback needy teams that the Giants would have to compete with in either the draft or free agency. Foles is expected to sign with the Jaguars according to Philly.com, and that’s both good and bad for the Giants.

The bad is that there’s another quarterback off the market and the Giants won’t be able to consider bringing Foles in to serve as a backup or competition to Eli Manning this year before eventually acting as a stopgap while the team finds a franchise quarterback. Such a move wasn’t the most popular of all the potential options, but it was an option nonetheless and it puts more pressure on the Giants to find their next quarterback in the draft.

The good is that with the Jaguars finding a quarterback, they are no longer a risk to trade up past the Giants and take the player that the Giants are possibly looking at, Dwayne Haskins Jr. Haskins has been mocked to both the Giants and the Jags and with both teams picking one spot apart from each other, a trade up could easily result in the Jaguars getting the Ohio State quarterback instead of the Giants.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that the draft is the way to go. The Nick Foles rumors have lasted since before the season ended, but now, we can officially put them to bed. If the Giants want a new quarterback, even as a backup, they’re going to have to look elsewhere.

New York Giants: Eagles To Let QB Nick Foles Become Free Agent

In a change of events since the earlier trends in the offseason, it looks like the Philadelphia Eagles are set to let quarterback Nick Foles walk away and sign for a different team in free agency. Foles has been speculated on as a stopgap option at QB for the New York Giants, but it was believed before that the Eagels would sign Foles to a new deal before trading him away to save cap space. It looks, though, like Foles will become a free agent after all.

“We’ve been so fortunate over the last couple of years to have two top-15 quarterbacks in Carson and Nick,” said Eagles Executive VP of Football Operations Howie Roseman, on Wednesday. “We’ve spent a lot of time discussing this internally and with him, and we’ve decided to let Nick become a free agent.”

The other alternative would have been to use the franchise tag on Foles, which would be the more expensive option and would waste the tag on a backup quarterback who isn’t expected to get playing time barring an injury to starter Carson Wentz.

Foles could be a target for the New York Giants but not as a starter. It looks like the team will draft a quarterback whose goal is to learn behind Eli Manning, but another option would be drafting a quarterback in the future and signing Foles for now, who has the skills to push Eli Manning as actual competition while remaining in a backup role.

It’s not the likeliest deal, though. While New York does ave a certain appeal, all signs point to Eli Manning being the starter this season and therefore the Giants may not be the most attractive destination to Foles, regardless of pay. Still, it’s good to have options, and one of those options might be Nick Foles if things go the way they’re currently headed.