LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- As the Bears' third-string offense ran through its series of plays Monday morning at Halas Hall, quarterback Nick Foles broke the huddle, took the snap and fired a pass through a tight window.
A quarterback like veteran starter Andy Dalton or rookie backup Justin Fields might instantly have had a coach in his ear after such a risky throw. But not Foles.
"That's the beauty sometimes of being the (third-string quarterback)," Foles said. "You can sort of do your own thing because they're focused on the other guys, which is cool. I get to be me, which is fun.
"We've been dicing it up a little bit, we've been taking shots, and I'm trying to help those guys be better."
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For the 32-year-old Foles, that's the focus of this training camp. When he's between the lines as the Bears' third-string quarterback, he's not thinking of falling from Chicago's starting role to a lower place on the depth chart or how a trade could be coming soon. Foles' competitive fire is still burning, even if he's not competing for a starting job.
"The version of me right now is much better than the version that played in the Super Bowl," Foles said in reference to leading the Eagles to a championship in February 2018.
Buried on the depth chart, Foles is considered a trade candidate in training camp and would welcome a new opportunity if it's the right situation. He has been actively involved with Bears management in trade discussions, providing input on where he could be a fit. An opportunity to trade Foles previously emerged, but he said it "wasn't the right time or situation with what was going on in my life." Foles is prioritizing the people on a team more than the chance to play.
The Colts are an option that Foles might welcome given his comfort with coach Frank Reich, whom he played under in Philadelphia. But Foles would be forced to step in for injured starter Carson Wentz, for whom he took over late in the 2017 regular season. Foles then became the Super Bowl MVP in leading the Eagles to the title. Wentz is set to undergo foot surgery and is expected to miss five to 12 weeks.
"I haven’t had any talks with them," Foles said of the Colts. "I’m a Chicago Bear right now. But (Reich) knows me. You all watched the 2017 season and the playoffs where he changed the offense and built it around me, and you all saw what happened. He understood my mentality as a player and he was able to build it around me and put me in a successful position -- and my teammates.
"They have Carson. And Carson and I have a lot of history, I have a lot of respect for Carson, he’s a tremendous player. He’s going through adversity once again, but he’ll bounce back.
"But we haven’t had any talks, so right now I’m a Chicago Bear and I’m gonna keep slinging it with these third-stringers and we’re gonna dice ‘em up."
The Bears acquired Foles in March 2020, inheriting the three years remaining on his restructured contract. If his deal had allowed it to be practical, Foles likely would've been released after the Bears named Fields their backup behind Dalton after the draft. But the cost of a cut didn't make sense for the Bears, who will take a cap hit north of $17 million for Foles in the next two seasons.
Foles played in nine games in 2020, starting seven of them and completing 64.7% of his passes for 1,852 yards, 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions. The Bears were 2-5 and struggled mightily during his time as the starter.
Foles believes he's a better quarterback than he showed last season.
"There’s a lot of reasons that I can’t talk about to be honest with you," Foles said of those struggles. "It’s one thing to create something, it’s another thing to know when not to speak about something and this isn’t the right time or place to speak about it.
"I feel the strongest I’ve felt. I took something that could have defeated some people and made it a positive. Still here, still working."
Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.