Why Matt Nagy won't consider benching Mitch Trubisky for Chase Daniel in the middle of a game


Matt Nagy has not, and said he will not, consider a quarterback change in the middle of a game in 2019 for a few reasons.

First: Nagy said the Bears are “committed” to the embattled Mitch Trubisky, who NFL.com ranked this week as the worst quarterback in the league. For Nagy, a lot of that has to do with the gameplan drawn up during the week, though he has mentioned in the past backup Chase Daniel is able to execute the exact same offense Trubisky is.

The Bears, of course, are heavily committed to Trubisky in the sense of Ryan Pace trading up to draft him with the second overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

“This is where we’re at with Mitch right now,” Nagy said. “We’re giving him every opportunity to be that leader and to go out there and make plays.”

Nagy mentioned, too, that he views other players similarly to Trubisky. It’s not surprising — coaches spend so much time during the week putting together a gameplan and rarely deviate from it, personnel-wise, unless there’s an injury.

And Nagy offered a common defense of Trubisky, too, saying it’d be unfair to pin every issue on the Bears’ quarterback.

“We have too many things going on right now within our offense and with us in general,” Nagy said. “To sit there and point blame at one particular person right now is not fair. What we need to do as a team right now is we need to win and we do that as a team. To me that’s the simple solution.”

But quarterback, more than any other position, can provide a team-wide spark. Quarterback play can “raise all boats,” to borrow a John Fox-ism from the lead-up to the 2017 draft. But quarterback changes in the middle of a game don’t always accomplish creating that spark (Fox didn't bench Mike Glennon in the middle of a disastrous loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 4 of the 2017 season, but did following that game).

The Tennessee Titans benched former No. 2 overall pick Marcus Mariota in the middle of a brutal 16-0 loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 6, inserting Ryan Tannehill into the game (Tannehill completed 81 percent of his throws, but didn’t throw a touchdown, was picked off once and took four sacks). The Miami Dolphins benched Josh Rosen for Ryan Fitzpatrick in the middle of a game earlier this year and almost rode Fitzmagic to a win — almost.

These are bad teams trying to throw a Hail Mary. Benching a starting quarterback during a game often has the effect of ruining that starting quarterback’s confidence. It’s why the Mariota era looks all but over in Tennessee, and why the Dolphins seem to have determined Rosen is not their future as they tank for Tua Tagovailoa.

And benching a former top pick 32 starts into his NFL career? Even accounting for how suboptimal Trubisky's third season has been to date, that'd be a rash decision. Coaches looking to save their jobs do that stuff, not a guy like Nagy who has job security, even if his honeymoon is clearly over.

Nagy’s Bears do not feel close to the cliff yet. Trubisky will need to string many more bad games together for Nagy to even consider changing his stance, likely.

As long as the Bears feel their season is fixable, they’re going to try to fix it with Trubisky.

“It’s about focusing on how do we get better as us, play-by-play,” Nagy said. “We have to be able to understand that. I think our guys do. I just like the fact that our guys do understand that and they realize that we’re not about pointing fingers, we’re about getting better and focus on what we can control.”

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