Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace and Head Coach Matt Nagy took questions live on a zoom call Wednesday morning. Also on the call was head athletic trainer Andre Tucker. During the call, both Pace and Nagy discussed position battles, roster moves, COVID-19 protocol, and the schedule moving forward. The Bears reported to training camp on July 28 with plenty of questions looming, did Pace, Nagy, or Tucker answer any of those? Let’s take a look at some of the things that stood out in the interviews.
The Bears are Taking COVID-19 Protocol Seriously
The first thing that stood out on the call was first year Head Athletic Trainer Andre Tucker. In a lengthy response, Tucker explained that he is the first point of contact with any incoming players to Halas Hall. He is also the first person to be notified when any symptoms of COVID-19 arise within the team and the facility. Tucker has also been given very direct orders from the league how to handle each case.
He also noted that he believes it will be a very “efficient” process and that the recent outbreak within the Miami Marlins organization “doesn’t scare him.” Tucker came off very confident that the team can handle this situation. Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy also elaborated that the Bears “have the best setup in the NFL with how we’ve handled this.”
Nagy Still Believes the Quarterback Job is Wide Open and Pace Will Have a Say
One of the most interesting points during the presser was about the quarterbacks. Matt Nagy has preached all offseason that the quarterback competition is wide open and that belief didn’t waver on Wednesday. While he acknowledged that Nick Foles may be at a disadvantage with chemistry, he was confident in his knowledge of the gameplan. “Obviously we’re going to have to name a starter at some point. You want to be able to name a starter and go win a Super Bowl.”
Nagy elaborated on the importance of either player being prepared for any situation. “If Player A is the starter and Player B is the backup, how does Player B handle that situation mentally? After all, they’re only one play away.” Coach Nagy also detailed what will need to be evaluated within the competition. “We’ll have a nice plan heading into camp, but how do we evaluate that fairly? What goes into making that decision?” Ryan Pace also added that it will be an “evaluation of the entire process” and that there will be “constant communication” between him and the coaching staff in determining the starter.
Nagy is Taking it One Day at a Time
Many within the Bears fan base believe that 2020 is a “put up or shut up” season for the third year head coach, but that doesn’t seem to be Nagy’s mindset going in. While Coach Nagy has preached the importance of not being complacent, he discussed not thinking too far ahead. “We have to worry about today, we have to worry about this year. Our players feel that way, they know we have a good football team. We have a very strong culture and when you face adversity like we did last year, we use that coming into this year.” Nagy’s final statement on the matter said it all: “Control what you can control.”
Starting Jobs at Corner, Safety, and Guard are Open
While it’s been heavily reported outside of Halas Hall, we finally received confirmation about camp battles outside of the quarterback room. Jeff Joniak asked about position battles that are flying under the radar, Matt Nagy responded by specifically pointing out cornerback, safety, and guard. As Ryan Pace later spoke on, Tre Roberson was obviously a guy the coaching staff was high on. It came off that there was a real possibility that Roberson was in the hunt for the CB2 position. Roberson was released due to injury.
Another takeaway from the presser is that Tashaun Gibson has not been named the unanimous starter at safety. While this could be based on the lack of camp reps and the idea Gibson needs to earn his job, it certainly adds smoke to the fire that Deon Bush may get an opportunity to start. Same could be said for Germain Ifedi at right guard, leaving guys like Rashad Coward and Alex Bars in the conversation moving forward.
Pace Doesn’t Believe Any Other Players Will Opt Out
The most alarming news of the week for the Chicago Bears is defensive tackle Eddie Goldman’s election to opt out of the 2020 NFL season. Ryan Pace was very stern in his support of Goldman’s decision, stating that it’s a very personal decision that the team is very respectful of. Matt Nagy chimed in with his thoughts on the situation as well. “Complete support. We’re a family here. He did it the right way and we fully support him.”
When asked if he believes more player will opt out, Pace doubled down. The GM is strong in his belief that the team has prepared very well for the situation. “I’m confident when our players get here and they see what we’ve done as a staff, it’ll give them a ton of confidence. We’ve taken all the measures we can to make sure everyone feels really good about what we’re doing.”
Check out the full press conference down below or at chicagobears.com.
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