The Chicago Bears could have easily folded in Week 4.
The team had just gotten demolished by the Cleveland Browns in a game that had national media members calling for head coach Matt Nagy to be fired.
One of the biggest offenses by the coach was the way he handled Justin Fields in the rookie’s first NFL start.
Fields remained the starter in Week 4 against the Detroit Lions solely because Andy Dalton was still nursing an injury.
Miraculously, everyone responded to the challenge and the Bears took home a 24-14 victory.
Fields was allowed to throw it deep and finished with 209 yards on only 11 completions.
Yet following the win, Nagy said Dalton would remain the starter if healthy.
Something clearly changed because Wednesday brought word that Fields would indeed keep the job moving forward, regardless of Dalton’s health.
Bears’ HC Matt Nagy announces that, going forward, Justin Fields is Chicago’s starting QB.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 6, 2021
Bears fans have to be thrilled with this news and what it means moving forward.
Starting The Future Now
There was no need to send Fields back to the bench now that he has two starts under his belt.
The situation would be much different if the team was 2-2 with Dalton as the full-time starter.
However, that is obviously not the case and the offense seemed to respond well to the rookie last week.
Perhaps that is what caused Nagy to change his mind so fast.
Nagy and GM Ryan Pace got a second chance with Fields after failing to develop Mitchell Trubisky.
Sitting him on the bench and going with Dalton, and losing, could mean ownership just decides to clean house and find a group that will let Fields play, given he is the future of the franchise.
Justin Fields, what a throw 🤧
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 3, 2021
The benefit to this decision is also the fact that if Fields shows development and the team is competitive, missing the playoffs should not be a cause for firing.
It would buy Nagy at least another year to prove he was not the problem all along.
An Inevitable Move
The Bears signed Dalton and declared him the starter before drafting Fields.
Thus, he was on shaky ground to begin with.
The moment they used a first-round pick on Fields began the clock on Dalton’s time as the starter.
Unless he got off to an All-Pro start, it was going to be tough to hold down the job.
Fields was even getting game reps before being named the starter.
The nice consolation here is that the veteran is still on a deal worth $10 million.
That is not bad money at all for a backup and at this stage in his career, he can return to full health on the sidelines and find a new gig in 2022.
He may even be needed again in 2021.
It is a long season and we are only entering Week 5.