What recent veteran vs. rookie QB battles mean for Justin Fields

Chicago Bears - Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chicago Bears, Justin Fields
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What do these past situations mean for Justin Fields?

These examples show that the veteran almost always enters the season as the starter. Since Nagy has always said Dalton would start week one, it wouldn’t be a surprise if this trend continued. Teams try to err on the safe side when it comes to starting young quarterbacks early on in the season.

What these examples also show is that the rookie’s debut largely depends on how the veteran is playing. In cases like Baker Mayfield and Daniel Jones, the rookies were named starters early on this season partly due to subpar play from their predecessors. On the other end of the spectrum, players like Patrick Mahomes sit longer than they need to because of how well the starter is playing.

As much as everyone is focusing on Fields’ progression, Dalton’s play matters just as much in determining the starter. Although it is highly unlikely Dalton will have a Pro-Bowl season in 2021, if he can play just well enough to win the Bears games, it could make it hard for Nagy to put him on the bench early in the year.

However, as the year goes on, it will become increasingly probable that Justin Fields will be named the starter. My prediction would be Justin Fields is named the starter by Week 3, but at this point, it’s just a guess.

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Final thoughts

At the end of the day, the Bears didn’t draft Justin Fields for 2021; they drafted him for what he can do for the organization for years to come. Other than the fact that Justin Fields is a much more exciting player for the fans, there isn’t a reason he needs to start immediately.

Guys like Justin Hebert have still gone on to have great rookie seasons after starting the year as backups. The most important thing for Justin Fields this season is getting familiar with the offense and scheme and being able to show flashes of his star potential that he can build on for 2022. Whether his chance comes in Week 2 or Week 8, the outlook on his career is still the same.