How will Matt Nagy deploy quarterbacks in Chicago Bears first preseason game?

Chicago Bears (Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports)
Chicago Bears (Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports) /

One of the biggest questions entering the Chicago Bears’ first preseason game is how the quarterback snaps will be distributed. This will be a fine line, and a noteworthy task for head coach Matt Nagy, who has admitted that he will change his preseason strategy from years in the past.

Early in his coaching tenure he did not see the value of the preseason and wanted to “hide” his starters, but now he wants to see them get adequate work to start the season on the right foot.

Of course, entering 2021 this task will be tougher than years past due to the names in the quarterback room. If Nagy is adamant about getting the starter’s work, that means plenty of preseason play for Andy Dalton. At the same time, if Nagy wants to give Justin Fields a redshirt rookie season that would mean the preseason is the best and only time to get your future franchise signal-caller on an NFL field.

How will he walk the line?

Who will the Chicago Bears start?

Based on everything that Matt Nagy has said, Andy Dalton will start the Chicago Bears’ first preseason game. Nagy said that he is the starter, he said that he wants to see the starters get more playing time and to top it off, this is the first time Dalton and Nagy have worked together.

That means they will probably attempt to play out an opening script that the two work together on. This will be a good run-through of how Nagy and Dalton will put their favorite plays together on a typical work week.

The opening script is usually 15-20 plays, so that may last a series or two depending on how many plays the Chicago Bears are able to get off. You could probably write Dalton in for at least two series, but potentially three during his first game with the Chicago Bears.

When will Justin Fields get in?

The best time to get Justin Fields in the game would be during the 2-minute drill before half-time. Of course, due to the game and circumstances that could mean closer to 5 minutes left in the half, but in summation that would be around the time that you would expect Fields to get a series or two before the half.

This gives Fields a chance to run a fast-paced drill, and just play without thinking too much during his first NFL stint. From there, the Chicago Bears can have Fields lead the team into the locker room. The coaches and Fields can get together at the half, they can make adjustments as they would on game day, and then they can send Fields out.

It will be a great test to see Fields pick up the information at halftime and use it in the third quarter. Giving him the two-minute drill, the lead in and out of the locker room for halftime, and the chance to make live adjustments that he and the coaches picked up is a list of learning moments for Fields that are underrated but can be achieved simply in this format.

Will Nick Foles play?

Some fans will say why and will say that Fields should finish the game. However, the reality is that Fields will likely play one or two series before the half followed by two, and maybe three series after the half. Either way, he will probably get four or five trips down the field.

The fourth quarter will be clean-up time for Nick Foles. To start, as noted, there will be plenty of learning for Fields, and with the halftime and two minutes, they will get plenty to take away from for a first night. Beyond that, as the game gets into the fourth quarter, the quality of play diminishes.

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All of a sudden Fields is playing with players who will not get jobs and against players trying to make a name in any way. Not to say that Foles is more expendable than Fields in this late-game spot, but the veteran certainly will be keener to protect himself than Fields, who would be looking to prove himself much more.