The Chicago Bears have three capable quarterbacks on their roster for 2021.
The superstar of the future could be the team’s rookie, Justin Fields from Ohio State University.
Justin Fields dropping dimes!pic.twitter.com/Eez5NtiQ66
— BFR Clips (@BFRClips) June 17, 2021
As of now, Fields is not projected to be the starting quarterback in Week 1.
Bears coach Matt Nagy has said repeatedly (even before Fields was drafted) that the starting job belongs to Dalton.
Bears coach Matt Nagy tells @CollinsworthPFF there is not a scenario where Justin Fields plays opening night.
Andy Dalton is the starter in Chicago. pic.twitter.com/P7JbpJLE5z
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) June 15, 2021
Though the Bears have a spotty history with developing and honing quarterback talent, Nagy is making the right choice by not starting Fields immediately.
Here are the two main reasons why Nagy is not making a mistake.
2. Fields Isn’t NFL Ready Yet
His draft stock plummeted shortly before the 2021 NFL Draft.
Once projected as being one of the top five picks, he dropped to No. 11 overall.
That does not seem like a significant drop but given that three of his quarterback peers in the draft class were the first three names called, it is noticeable.
The reason for this is that Fields is not NFL-ready and at least two of those three teams (Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets) needed a Week 1 starter.
Rushing Fields into a starting job is a recipe for disaster, and Nagy has to put the quarterback on the field that gives the Bears the best chance of winning.
Right now that appears to be Dalton.
Fields is going the extra mile to get NFL-ready.
Justin Fields said he plans to report with the Bears two weeks before training camp, allowing him to train locally and keep working on the playbook.
Said Fields: "I want to get better. … When that time comes when I do get my chance, I just want to be ready for that moment."
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) June 17, 2021
1. Dalton Is The Right Choice Right Now
Dalton was signed to a one-year, $10 million deal and promised the starting job prior to the draft and after the Bears made overtures to get Russell Wilson from Seattle.
While Dalton is unlikely to take the Bears to the Super Bowl this season, he is a solid choice to start the season.
He has experience as a starting quarterback and a backup.
Dalton is a good mentor for Fields.
It sounds as if the Bears are getting exactly what they hoped to get from Andy Dalton with Justin Fields. Fields said that Dalton has taken him under his wing. He and his wife took Fields out to dinner. Dalton has stayed out after practice to watch Fields go through things.
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) June 17, 2021
Fields has been openly grateful to both Dalton and Foles.
“[Dalton] has talked to me a lot. I actually went to dinner with him and his wife. We talked a lot there, kind of just his background, their story. Andy and Nick, they’ve been awesome — probably bigger than you guys would even know. Andy’s completely taken me under his wing. Any questions I have for him, he’s going to answer, even when I’m throwing. I think there was one day after OTAs, I was throwing extra after practice, and he stayed out there specifically just to see maybe what I was doing wrong and he was just trying to help me out. He’s been a huge help for sure.”
There are still three months until the NFL season kicks off.
A lot can happen in that time.
Fields is expected to get a lot of preseason work so he could be ready earlier than expected.
Right now, Nagy is making the right choice with Dalton, but that is definitely subject to change.