Chicago Bears: Deciphering Matt Nagy’s interview about the quarterbacks
Matt Nagy continues to shout that Andy Dalton is the Chicago Bears starting QB
Matt Nagy had plenty to discuss after the Chicago Bears’ first mandatory minicamp practice yesterday. However, once again most of what the media wanted to know about was the quarterback situation.
Matt Nagy was asked if Andy Dalton was ever promised he’d be the starter for Week 1. Nagy responded by saying:
"“No, I would say, as we all know, promises can get pretty crazy but what we told Andy is that he’s our starter and he knows that. That’s what Justin knows, that’s what Nick knows, the rest of our coaches and we tell these guys knowing that there’s gotta be a start right? So that’s where we are at”"
Again, Andy Dalton is our starter is the theme and fans need to understand that come opening night versus the Los Angeles Rams, Dalton is the most likely candidate to take snaps from under center (or shotgun). This is a very different situation than what we saw last year with the open competition between Nick Foles and Mitch Trubisky. Dalton is the clear starter and Justin Fields is the clear backup. Foles is the clear third option for those keeping score at home.
Although the quarterbacks know their current roles, Matt Nagy continued by saying:
"I’ll just be very clear: that being said, does that mean that these guys aren’t competing? Absolutely not. They’re competing. They want to be the best and they wouldn’t want each other to be any different."
Again, Matt Nagy is making it very obvious. Andy Dalton is the starter until someone proves that they deserve it more. I just don’t believe that happens before Week 1 and it apparently was not a good enough answer for Marc Silverman of ESPN.
Silverman did not seem content with Matt Nagy’s response, so he pushed Nagy to clarify even further by asking whether that meant Justin Fields could not win the starting job before Week 1. Matt Nagy responded:
"Whether it’s clarification that he can’t win it? Yes, correct. Andy Dalton is our starter and when we through this process, like I said today, just calling a play in the huddle, and that gets to the instant gratification part that we all want, right? I understand that. Andy understands that. Justin understands that. Nick understands that. Our coaches understand that we all get excited about Justin Fields. We’d all be lying if we said something different. With that said, we’re excited about Andy Dalton too. And we know that if we stick to this plan that we have, that everything is going to be just fine."
Have you figured it out yet? Andy Dalton is and always has been the plan at starting quarterback to kick off the 2021 NFL season for the Chicago Bears. Nothing has drastically changed since the team signed him early in the offseason. However, even with all the “Rex is our quarterback” type of speak going on by Nagy, he has left just a sliver of an opening for Justin Fields (or even Nick Foles I guess) when he makes comments like this to finish off his message.
"“Let’s fact it, when you go through OTAs, when you go through training camp, when you go through preseason, the only goal that we have is to put the best quarterback out there and Andy Dalton is our starter. Justin is our No. 2 and Nick is our No. 3 and we’re going to play that out and make sure that they’re all competing and that’s as simple as that."
The Chicago Bears have gone through voluntary OTAs but just started mandatory minicamp. The team still has training camp and preseason to get through. Plenty can happen between now and Week 1 as Matt Nagy suggested. I truly believe that the team wants it to play out this way, but should Justin Fields make a case to start Week 1, anything is possible. My only fear is that Nagy’s stubbornness and constant want to be just like Kansas City could cause Justin Fields to see the field a little too late in the season.