NFC Notes: Bears, Panthers, Vikings



One wrinkle in the Bears quarterback competition coming up this summer is the unknown of how much on-field time Chicago will have to evaluate Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles. Training camp will be the first time either take the field with the coaching staff watching and there’s a good chance the number of preseason games they have to show their stuff will also be limited. Trubisky has the edge of being able to work out with teammates in Chicago and he’s determined to roll that momentum forward. 

I’ve just gotta make sure the offense is better when I’m on the field, doing my job the best I possibly can and make sure I’m giving the Chicago Bears a great chance to win heading into the season,” Trubisky said via the Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain. “Whatever the sample size is, the on-field performance in practices, preseason games, whatever capacity that is, I think will determine it. But I’m excited for the process and I know it will be a good, healthy competition with all the guys in our room and we’re just gonna push each other and make our team better.”

Looking back at 2019, Trubisky certainly didn’t take the step forward that the Bears hoped he would in his third season. But the rest of the offense around Trubisky also faltered. The offensive line took a step back, the Bears weren’t able to run the ball consistently, no other pass-catching threats stepped up outside of WR Allen Robinson and HC Matt Nagy‘s playcalling came under fire. Trubisky says part of winning the job is elevating the rest of the unit to a higher standard. 

I felt like we lacked details overall on offense, myself included, especially, if we’re on top of those this year and we just hold each other accountable to the standard we know we’re capable of, then we’ll have a lot more success and win more games,” Trubisky said. “We definitely have the talent. I think it just comes down to being disciplined, playing smart football and everybody doing their jobs to perfection.”


College coaches who transition to the NFL often face an adjustment when it comes to working with the players. Managing a team full of professional adults is much different than recruiting and coaching mostly 17-22-year-olds. While it’s still early, Panthers S Tre Boston says new HC Matt Rhule has been impressive managing that transition in his first few months in Carolina, particularly considering he hasn’t been able to meet in person with the majority of his players. 

“I think this guy has an edge to him. I think he has a certain ‘it’ that coaches have to have,” Boston said via NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. “I’m excited to see him more in person with the guys, because right now, I think he started with a nice lead because he has a nice momentum going in between how he’s treated us, how he’s respected us, how he respects our time. That means a lot to professionals and men, adults, as well. So, I think Rhule has set himself up for success with his men. We trust him. We believe in him. And when we get together, it’s all about building chemistry and knowing that we are the Carolina Panthers and we’re gonna do what it takes to win ballgames around here.”


  • The Athletic’s Arif Hasan points out Vikings DE Ifeadi Odenigbo, who is set to move into the starting lineup to replace DE Everson Griffen, recorded four of his seven sacks during the 120 snaps he played defensive tackle, primarily on third down, compared to 281 snaps at defensive end. 
  • Hasan says it will be important for Odenigbo to generate more pressure from the edge, as his role is expected to increase there. 
  • At defensive tackle, Hasan adds there’s a low bar for improvement in the pass-rushing department, and Minnesota should hope for any one of Armon Watts, Anthony Zettel, Jalyn Holmes, Hercules Mata’afa or fourth-round rookie James Lynch to take the job away from incumbent Shamar Stephen.
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