The Bears held their first live scrimmage of training camp Saturday when the second- and third-teamers went full game mode (tackling to the ground), while first-teamers were limited to more of a thud.
Coach Matt Nagy is doing his part to get the Bears ready (or calloused, as he called it) for Week 1. With COVID-19 wiping out preseason games, the next best option for Nagy and Chicago's coaching staff is intrasquad scrimmages.
"Today was a start," Nagy said after practice on Saturday. "Next week will be another challenge for us where we might sprinkle a little live in there again and certainly have some longer-type practices. But we're going to keep a pulse on these guys. I'm going to listen to where they're at, and as long as we get quality reps, that's really all that matters. It's what's most important to this team."
No position needs more quality reps this summer than quarterback, and both Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles had their moments Saturday. Trubisky especially caught Nagy's attention on a strike to tight end Jesper Horsted.
"I don't say a whole lot when I'm back there watching the 'O' and 'D' go," Nagy said. "I like to just kind of take it all in. But that was one where I got excited and told [Trubisky] I just thought it was a hell of a throw. Great vision, great anticipation, and you give a guy a chance to catch the ball and run, that's all you can ask for. So that was a great play."
In a quarterback competition as even as the Bears', Nagy couldn't ignore Foles' performance.
"Nick had a nice throw," Nagy said. "He anticipated and threw it early to Ted Ginn on the right side there. Those are the type of throws that we look for is, 'Are these guys anticipating where the wide receiver is going to be at?' When you do that and you throw it on time, it really helps out the O-line. And then there's other times, too, where you've got some movement in the pocket."
But with that praise came a bit of a reality check. Nagy was quick to point out that neither quarterback's "good" moments came out of realistic Sunday situations. They both had the benefit of playing in a controlled environment where the defense couldn't go all out.
"It's a little hard for the defense just because we're not live for the [starters], and so they realize there's a major halo for those quarterbacks and they're not allowed to get touched or I freak out. So they try to do their best to stay away from them. And so it's not as realistic as it would be in a game."
Starters should have more opportunities to play in game-like situations as the weeks march on (similar to how they would in the preseason), which should give Trubisky and Foles more realisitic opportunities to impress Nagy and earn the starting job.
Matt Nagy praises Mitch Trubisky, Nick Foles after Saturdays live practice originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago