It was an interesting day for the Chicago Bears as they look to turn the page from their Week 2 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals and on toward another AFC North opponent, the Cleveland Browns, in Week 3. Prior to starting quarterback Andy Dalton getting hurt against the Bengals, Bears head coach Matt Nagy had been putting rookie Justin Fields in to take snaps in both games to start the season.
For most (all?) outside observers, Fields is already a better quarterback than Dalton but Nagy seems committed to the veteran. According to Dalton, the Bears promised him he was their starter before he signed with the team in the offseason. In the ensuing NFL Draft, the team traded up to take Fields.
Nagy was asked about whether Dalton or Fields would be his starter going forward during Monday’s press conference. Nagy retorted that it was a scheme-related question and he wouldn’t answer it. The reporter pressed but Nagy reiterated that it was scheme-related. You can see that interaction at this link, fast forwarding to the 2:14 mark.You can see that interaction at this link, fast forwarding to the 2:14 mark.
Shortly after that interaction, the Bears’ PR department came in to correct Nagy, from Nagy according to the PR person:
#Bears PR just came into the media room to deliver a message from Matt Nagy:
Andy Dalton is the team’s starting quarterback when he is healthy.
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) September 20, 2021
Is Dalton healthy enough to start against the Browns in Week 3?
Sources: #Bears QB Andy Dalton had his MRI and it confirmed a bone bruise in his knee. No official determination has been made about his status this week.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 20, 2021
According to Dr. David J. Chao, who provides a lot of injury-related information, this means it is Fields’ time starting in Week 3 and likely for more than that:
— David J. Chao – ProFootballDoc (@ProFootballDoc) September 20, 2021
Fields has shown flashes throughout the preseason and during the first two weeks but is far from looking capable of leading a successful offense. Cleveland’s defense, however, was picked apart by Tyrod Taylor in the first half of Week 2’s victory. Fields’ mobility and strong arm could cause similar issues for the Browns but, without Taylor’s veteran savvy, also come with more mistakes.
It looks like Fields’ first start will come in Cleveland and the rookies return to the state where he played his last college ball.