Ryan Pace said he’s got ultimate faith in Matt Nagy when it comes to handling the quarterback situation a week after Mitch Trubisky, who the Chicago Bears general manager traded up to draft No. 2 overall in 2017, was benched.
Nick Foles led a 20-point comeback in the fourth quarter to lift the Bears to victory at Atlanta, propelling the team to its first 3-0 start since 2013.
A day later, Nagy confirmed the obvious that Foles, who Pace traded a fourth-round pick to Jacksonville to acquire this offseason, will remain the starter.
“You know, 100% trust and confidence in Matt and those decisions are sensitive and delicate, especially when you are talking about the quarterback position,” Pace said prior to the Week 4 kickoff Sunday at Soldier Field during his weekly spot on the team’s flagship station WBBM-AM 780.
“Matt has got a great feel for what the team needs and obviously we won the game. I felt like he knew it would light a spark and led us coming back 16 points down against a tough team on the road. Matt and I talk all the time about the different scenarios, key decisions, and we’re on the same page. March forward together.”
A perfect scenario for the Bears would have been seeing Trubisky turn the corner in his career at the start of his fourth season, but he experienced the same uneven play that defined his first three years in the opener against the Lions, again the following week against the Giants and then he struggled against a porous Falcons defense before Foles replaced him in the third quarter.
It’s not like the Bears didn’t understand this was a possibility. The team declined the fifth-year option for 2021 in Trubisky’s contract during the offseason and orchestrated a quarterback competition during training camp. Pace was upbeat about Trubisky during his media availability at the outset of camp and again following cuts to the 53-man roster at the start of September.
But now the club’s highest drafted quarterback since Notre Dame’s Bob Williams was chosen No. 2 overall in 1951 — one spot ahead of future Hall of Famer Y.A. Tittle — is in a support role for Foles.
“I think with any team, it’s definitely not a simple decision,” Pace continued on the pregame show. “I think what keeps it simple for us and clean for us is if you just come back to every time, ‘What’s best for the Chicago Bears to win football games right now? Period.’ And if you keep it simple like that, I think it gives you clarity in those moments.”
Pace indicated he had a productive conversation with Trubisky during the week and he’s confident the 26-year-old is in a good spot.
“I did and we all had different individual conversations,” Pace said. "He is such a competitor, obviously he is disappointed, he wants to be the starter and really we expect that from any player on our team to have that kind of mindset. He is still very much a leader of this team. He came in this week ready to roll, working hard, helping us to prepare for the Colts. He’s been stepping up in supporting Foles, just like Foles did when he was backing up. As I look at it, both those guys are great people and they support each other and it’s authentic and I think it starts there and the relationship in that quarterback room is really, really important.
“He’s a competitor. He’s a true pro. He’s grown a lot over the last four years. I thought it said a lot on the sidelines, I know Matt talked about, Foles goes in for about a series and Mitch comes up to him on the bench and says, ‘Hey man, you had my back and now I’ve got your back.’”
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