Bears News: Tyson Bagent on fighting for a roster spot: “I know every play in the playbook”
Trevor Ruszkowski - USA Today Sports

Bears News: Tyson Bagent on fighting for a roster spot: “I know every play in the playbook”

by - Correspondent -

Typically when a quarterback comes out of college and has thrown for over 17,000 yards and has 159 touchdown passes, that player would be a first overall pick. Take Bryce Young, drafted No. 1 in the 2023 draft. In his three seasons, he threw for 8,356 yards and 80 touchdowns. That’s nowhere close to Tyson Bagent's collegiate performance. But, Bagent had one thing playing against him - he was coming from a Division II school.

So, the 2021 Harlon Hill Award winner, the Division II’s Heisman equivalent, who threw for 5,000 yards that season, went undrafted and is now playing for the Chicago Bears. He got a lot of playing time in the Week 2 preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts yesterday and put Chicago in a position to win the game. He finished the game completing nine of 10 passes for 76 yards as well as a rushing touchdown that capped off a 17-play, 92-yard drive.

He spiked the ball after that run, joking after the game that he had never spiked a football before.

“I’d never spiked, I never even practiced a spike before,” Bagent stated. “I thought it was pretty solid form and everybody seemed to be pretty juiced up, you know, on the offense, which is also just celebrating with the o-line after just a big drive like that is always pretty exciting. So, it was a lot of fun.”

The amount of fun he was having was definitely visible on the field, as well as his connection with some of the receivers. One knock on him in college, besides the school he came from, was that he was not always the most accurate with the football, which is a little ironic given his 69% completion percentage is a little over three percent higher than Bryce Young. Still, Bagent put critics in their place with his performance and 98.3 quarterback rating.

Part of what Bagent contributes to his ability to perform at such a high level is keeping things in perspective and staying calm in the face of pressure.

“The mental load that, you know, it is to play quarterback in the NFL, you know, it’s a lot,” Bagent explained. “So, if you kind of let that get to you, you could start to look pretty crazy out there, so I just like to keep it cool, calm and collected, let all the guys in the trenches do all the crazy kind of work and then just, you know, try to get everyone on the same page mentally so that we’re able to move the ball down the field.”

Another thing NFL teams may not have liked about Bagent is that he had three offensive coordinators in four seasons (over five years because one season was canceled due to COVID-19). That kind of turmoil in such a critical position for a quarterback is sometimes thought to hurt a player because they cannot become accustomed to one system and constantly have to be learning something new. However, Bagent sees this as a positive because it allowed him to learn a variety of different coaching styles and nuances of offensive schemes.

“I had three offensive coordinators in college, all with different kind of scheme and way of doing things,” Bagent said. “I feel like I was introduced to pretty much every single little thing that offense can possibly do and then here, it’s just kind of bringing all three of those offenses all together, just how detailed and (intricate) everything is, you know, at this level.”

Despite his off-the-charts numbers from college and performance so far in the NFL preseason, Bagent is still fighting for a roster spot with Justin Fields secured as the Bears’ starting quarterback, most likely with PJ Walker backing him up. So, Bagent would be eyeing a spot as the third string quarterback. But in a place as unpredictable as the NFL, you never know when you might need your third string quarterback. That’s why Bagent is still looking to prove him to the coaches, as well as the players.

“As a quarterback, I really just would like them to know that, I would just like to make them as comfortable as possible with the thought of me in the game, just really have them understand that, you know, any play that needs to be run, I at least know how to run it,” Bagent stated. “Every play’s not going to be perfect, but, you know, I know how to run every play in the playbook.”

He will get one final chance before the regular season starts to show what he is capable of in the final preseason game against the Buffalo Bills on Saturday August 26 (12 p.m./FOX 32). Rosters are required to be cut to 53 players by Tuesday August 29 at 3 p.m.

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