The Chicago Bears earlier this offseason acquired Nick Foles from the Jaguars for a fourth-round pick. Today I dug into some Nick Foles film and I believe there is a deeply mixed bag that could be coming for the Bears in 2020.
Nick Foles seems to be a perfect match for the Chicago Bears. Foles is a gutsy pocket quarterback with a rocket arm who excels in the intermediate game. Look no further than the Colts in week 12 on their second drive for an example of that. Masterful at throwing the post and intermediate slant route, Foles is one of the most interesting passers changing homes in 2020.
You are probably saying to yourself, but Nick Foles got benched for Gardner Minshew. Well, I am here to tell you that benching was no fault of Foles. The Nick Foles-Jacksonville experience was soured by the lack of an offensive line and an overall lack of weapons for the Jaguars signal-caller.
Let’s start with the offensive line. In four games, Foles got sacked eight times. To put that in comparison, in 14 games Gardner Minshew was sacked 33 times. So the quarterback whose main weapon was pocket elusiveness was also sacked as many times per game as the classic pocket passer Foles. Any way you slice it Jacksonville’s offensive line hurt their quarterbacks in 2019.
As stated earlier this is where the mixed bag comes in. Foles needs to be better at getting away from pressure. At the end of last season, the Bears only ranked one spot above the Jaguars in PFF’s offensive line rankings.
Sacks are a quarterback stat. Just no way around it, if you hold the ball too long and take the sack that is on you as a quarterback in my humble opinion. Obviously shared blame goes around as well but Mitchell Trubisky took 38 sacks in 2019, and as someone who subjected himself to most of the Bears games last year, I can safely tell you not all of them were on the offensive line. Mitchell Trubisky had a tendency to hold the ball too long last year and wait for the big play, just no way around it.
Foles despite a high sack number showed flashes, especially in the Colts game of being able to get away from pressure. That said the Bears need desperately to restock the offensive line through the draft to give Foles a chance.
The massive plus that the 2020 Bears have on the 2019 Jaguars is that they have weapons. In Jacksonville, Nick Foles’ top weapon was D.J. Chark. Chicago’s top weapon Allen Robinson is an All-Pro caliber wideout. I truly believe that. Allen Robinson already dominates with Mitch Trubisky. Now imagine Allen Robinson with a true pocket passer in Foles. The damage the two could do could be exponential. The Bears also have untapped potential in young second-round wide receiver Anthony Miller.
The Bears should be the favorite to win the NFC North. That may be a hot take but they did the most to improve the roster for 2020. The Vikings and Lions are clearly rebuilding/reloading and like it or not the Packers just refuse to give weapons to an aging Aaron Rodgers. Now I’m certainly not saying Nick Foles is better than Aaron Rodgers. Let me make that clear I still have an abundance of respect for Rodgers. He is one of the greatest to ever play the game. That said he regress in 2019 and the Bears are making moves that make them look like the best team in the division. Reinforcing the defense with stars like Robert Quinn.
Plus a coaching staff familiar with Foles. The sky could be the limit for Matt Nagy in 2020.
The Nick Foles experiment is a gamble, but if it pays off the Bears should be considered the favorites in the NFC North.
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