Wednesday, January 19

Why doesn’t Justin Fields start? Bears protect rookie quarterback behind starter Andy Dalton

The first Sunday Night Football game of the year will feature the Bears against the Rams. The Bears, instead of starting with rookie quarterback Justin Fields, will start with Andy Dalton, the 33-year NFL veteran who signed with Chicago in March after a season with the Cowboys. Dalton started nine games last season in Dallas following the injury to Dak Prescott, throwing 14 touchdowns and 8 interceptions while leading the Cowboys to a 4-5 record in his starts.

During the preseason, Bears coach Matt Nagy made it clear that it was always the team’s intention to start with Dalton early in the season, regardless of the performances of the two quarterbacks prior to the first game of the regular season. . They signed the veteran signal caller in March to a one-year, $ 10.1 million deal, and given his extensive experience as a starter (he started 133 games over nine years with the Bengals from 2011 to 2019), Dalton certainly looks like the typical part. of your team. Interim fix while the Bears wait until Fields is ready to take over.

Here’s more information on why Fields won’t start week 1.

MORE: When will Justin Fields start with the Bears?

Preseason performance

Fields, the Ohio State graduate selected by the Bears with the 11th overall pick in this year’s draft, performed well this preseason, completing 30 of 49 passes for 276 yards. He also threw for three touchdowns and zero interceptions. Additionally, he rushed for 92 yards in his three games played.

Meanwhile, Dalton played in two preseason games, completing 13 of 21 passes for 164 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He only had two units in his first preseason game, which resulted in two triples and outs. His second time out wasn’t much better, as the Bears had just six points from seven series to go along with three more triples.

Nagy acknowledged this issue, but downplayed any concerns that Dalton’s disappointing preseason performance would carry over into the regular season.

“I get the part about, you know, we haven’t had first downs and there have been 3-outs, I get it,” Nagy said. after the Bears’ Week 2 preseason game. “But really, when you look at play by play by play and what he’s doing, he’s making really good decisions.”

Meanwhile, Fields won over many fans during the preseason, as his jersey became the fourth best-selling jersey since Aug. 1, even beating former MVP and Super Bowl champion Patrick Mahomes. Not bad for a rookie who is not yet a starter.

MORE: Mac Jones, Justin Fields overtake Patrick Mahomes in NFL jersey sales

Why doesn’t Justin Fields start?

On August 24, Nagy officially announced that Dalton would be the Bears’ starter. Fans were surprised that the coach made his decision weeks in advance before the regular season began. However, this decision came as no surprise to either Dalton or Fields.

“The action for us at Andy is going to see what he does for us throughout the season,” Nagy said. “We have to see what Andy can do during the season with this team and with these guys. That has been our plan all this time. “

Based on Nagy’s comments, there wasn’t much of a decision to make as the Bears chose to take it easy with Fields a long time ago. It looks like they’ll give him more of a playing opportunity from now on, depending on what happens during his matchup against the Rams, who would no doubt have been a tough first opponent for the rookie.

MORE: Andy Dalton Won’t ‘Look Over His Shoulder’ At Justin Fields

What was Justin Fields’ reaction?

Fields hasn’t made much public comment on the decision and appears to be positive about his place on the team.

During a press conference in early August, Fields declared that “greatness doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a process.”

Fields was more vocal after the Aug. 21 game against the Bills. The Chicago crowd gave Fields a standing ovation, but when Dalton ran onto the field, “boos” filled the stadium. Fields immediately went to defend QB1 after the game.

“I really think it’s a little disrespectful to Andy that they’re cheering my name on like that,” Fields said. during the post-game press conference. “Just cheer him on, you know? That doesn’t help Andy play better, cheer up my name. That doesn’t mean any of that.”

There’s no question that Fields would rather start, especially considering his place among a deep, high-profile rookie class. Mac Jones beat Cam Newton for the starting job for the Patriots, while Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson will start immediately for the Jaguars and Jets, respectively. Like Fields, Trey Lance will not start in Week 1 as the 49ers take an equally patient approach to grooming him behind Jimmy Garoppolo. Despite three other rookies getting the Week 1 nod, the Bears are sticking to their plan.

MORE: NFL Rookie QB preseason debuted

“We feel really good about Justin’s position,” Nagy said. “I would say with certainty that for his level of where a lot of rookies are at right now, he passed that test. So that’s a good thing. We know that. But now it’s just growth for each of these quarterbacks, Justin included. Everybody has a different story on how to get to the top. Every quarterback in this league has a different story. There are good examples of guys who have played since Day 1 as rookies. There are great examples of that. There are great examples of that, too. examples of guys who haven’t played since day one and sat for a while. “

When will Fields make his NFL debut?

There is no clear date when Fields will start as the Bears’ quarterback, but there is a lot of speculation. The most popular rumor is that his debut is Week 4, when the Bears return to Chicago to host the Lions. An easier opponent with a home crowd seems like the perfect formula for Fields’ debut.

But anything can happen. If Dalton is underperforming than Nagy and the Bears would like, then maybe Fields starts earlier than expected. The other extreme would be if Dalton overshoots and the Bears are confident that he will stay as a starter for a while. Regardless, it is widely believed that Fields will make his debut sometime this season.

Bears 2021 Calendar

Week Date Adversary Time (ET)
1 September 12 @Rams 8:20 pm
2 September 19th Bengals 13:00
3 September 26 @Browns 13:00
4 October 3 Lions 13:00
5 October 10th @Raiders 4:05 pm
6 October the 17th Packers 13:00
7 October 24th @Bucaneros 4:25 pm
8 31 October 49ers 13:00
9 November 8th @Steelers 8:15 pm
10 BYE
eleven November 21 Crows 13:00
12 November 25 @Lions 12:30 pm
13 December 5th Cardinals 13:00
14 December 12th @Packaging 8:20 pm
fifteen December 20th Vikings 8:15 pm
sixteen December 26 @Seahawks 4:05 pm
17 January 2 Giants 13:00
18 January 9th @Vikings 13:00

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