Matt Nagy is determined upon his course. The Chicago Bears head coach will not bow to outside pressure. He has a plan for Justin Fields and that plan is to sit him until the coaches determine the rookie is ready. What does that mean? Everybody has a theory but the basic explanation is once they feel comfortable the young QB has a proper grasp of the offense from setting protections to reading coverages and so on.
Nagy would prefer Fields learns safely from the sidelines. This reduces the risk of him taking too many hits and potentially having his confidence shaken. Andy Dalton is a solid veteran quarterback who has played in this style of offense before. Provided the offensive line isn’t made up of turnstiles, he should be able to at least make this team passable. While there is logic in this approach, one player isn’t buying it.
Not for the reasons you’d think either.
DeAngelo Hall played a long time in the NFL. A total of 15 years between three different teams. Most Bears fans still have nightmares of that four-interception game he had on Jay Cutler in 2010. In that time, he’s seen a lot of different quarterback situations. Including one similar to Chicago. One that is a potential powder keg waiting to explode if Nagy isn’t careful.
Hall explained on Good Morning Football that the Bears need to play Fields. Not just because the kid gives them a better chance to win, but also because not doing so threatens to divide the locker room. The thing to remember is the other players on that team aren’t stupid. They recognize these situations. They sense when a coach might not be doing what is best for the team because he is trying to satisfy his own plan.
Matt Nagy can’t afford to ignore the locker room
Hall mentions it in the video. He experienced something exactly like this in 2014 when the Washington Redskins had a QB controversy going between Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins. The coaches kept sticking with Griffin despite Cousins playing better during his own opportunities. That led to a locker room division. Unsurprisingly, the Redskins finished 4-12. The next season, the coaches made a decision. Griffin was out and Cousins was made the unquestioned starter.
Hall is saying the Bears could be facing a similar situation to that 2014 Redskins squad if they’re not careful. Matt Nagy is so determined to ride it out with Dalton just to carry out his plan. Meanwhile, a defense laden with veterans like Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Robert Quinn, and Danny Trevathan isn’t getting younger. How must they feel seeing their head coach throwing another precious season of theirs away because he thinks sitting Fields is the best course?
The Bears aren’t winning a Super Bowl with Dalton.
Fields might not get them there either, but he is obviously capable of doing so much more on the field with his mobility and cannon arm. The players saw all of this for months in training camp and the preseason. Asking them to accept Nagy’s plan for the future when several of them might not be part of it? That is dangerous.