Chicago Bears: Andy Dalton still the starter, but changes coming for Justin Fields
The Chicago Bears and Matt Nagy cannot ignore what Justin Fields did versus the Miami Dolphins in the team’s first preseason game. The first-string offense struggled to get anything going, but Justin Fields made some things happen. Even with less than one minute left, Fields led the Chicago Bears down the field to set up a 53-yard field goal for Cairo Santos.
In the second half, Justin Fields took the game over. He completed more than 70 percent of his passes, threw one touchdown and ran in another. His composure really stood out to me. He never looked panicked. His facial expressions hardly changed and his postgame comment about how the game was actually slow to him looked to translate on tape.
Could the Chicago Bears be hinting at a roster shift to start Justin Fields?
The overreactions instantly started. Some Chicago Bears fans were even calling him the team’s next Hall of Fame quarterback. Those comments may have been said without actual belief behind them, but the kid looked the part and that’s all you can ask for at this stage in his career.
My overreaction was that my initial thoughts on Andy Dalton starting Week 1 should be thrown out the window. Fields looks ahead of schedule and needs to start now. I have always thought Dalton should get the start of the season and should see the hook after four games if not proving himself enough or the offense just looks to be struggling.
That ship has sailed for me and I truly believe there is no point in sitting Fields any longer. He needs reps with the first-team offense and more importantly, he needs to see first-team defensive competition. This is the only way we will know if the game speeds up too much for him right now or not.
Well, Justin Fields might not be starting any time soon, but at least Matt Nagy listened to one of the reasons Fields needs to be starting now. In his press conference this morning, he made it clear that there is not a quarterback competition going on, but he wants to see Fields with guys like Allen Robinson and face the starting defense.
This is the first step in Chicago Bears fans seeing Justin Fields in a regular-season game. Andy Dalton might still be the starting quarterback, but the divide between these two is shrinking with every average practice Dalton has and every strong practice Fields has. Justin Fields has the ability to bring more to this team from a talent standpoint. This is not a knock on Andy Dalton, they are just two, very different quarterbacks. When your rookie has the “it” factor, it cannot be ignored.
At this point, I still believe Matt Nagy when he says Dalton will start versus the Rams in Week 1. Just look for Dalton to have a much shorter leash now — a leash so short he could lose the job before September or possibly even lose it in that specific game versus the Rams. Nagy and Ryan Pace want to win now, this was evident as they addressed the left tackle spot with Jason Peters.